Headlines: June 17th, 2013

The continuing squeeze on budgets and the resulting staff  cuts are creating demand for skilled and experienced staff on a short term basis. The latest figures show that Councils are increasingly employing older staff to meet this need.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that employment in the public sector declined by 22,000 in the first quarter of 2013. The Comensura Government Index  for this period  showed a year on year increase of 25.6% of over 65s in temporary staff within the public sector.

Jamie Horton, Managing Director, Comensura, said: the ageing workforce presents a number of challenges for the public sector, including workforce flexibility, productivity, succession planning and development. However, it also presents a number of opportunities, including access to highly skilled and experienced workers who can add real value and play a fundamental role in skills transfer and mentoring.”

He added: “Amid current economic uncertainty and the decline in permanent employment within the public sector, there is a definite need for councils to be more flexible with their workforce planning. The difficulties encountered in recruitment due to the current economic climate and employment downturn means that councils are increasingly demanding skilled and experienced labour on a short term basis and are becoming more reliant on older workers.

The number of over 65s in employment means that there is availability in the workforce to meet this demand. However, there is a need for an integrated and coherent strategy, which will help develop the capability and expertise within the public sector. This will ensure effective use and management of older workers and ensure the sector benefits fully from the skills and experience it needs now. Plus, provide a framework to plan and develop younger workers to progress and meet their medium to long-term skill requirements.”