Public sector employment growth is expected to increase in line with the private sector for the first time since 2008, in a reversal of the trend over the past decade, according to the latest Labour Market Outlook report.
The quarterly survey from the CIPD and The Adecco Group, which is based on the responses of over 1,000 employers, shows that employer demand for labour remains strong in the public sector.
The report’s net employment score – a measure of employment confidence in the next three months – has remained strongly positive, with increased employment confidence in the public sector compensating for a fall in the private sector.
The increase in employment confidence in the public sector coincides with a number of pledges by the new Government to boost investment in public services.
Women account for around two thirds of the public sector workforce, suggesting that increased hiring by public sector employers will further boost the number of women in work.
Gerwyn Davies, Senior Labour Market Adviser for the CIPD said: “After more than a decade of contraction and pain, the public sector is now very much part of the good news employment story. The recent recovery in public sector employment is undoubtedly one of the key reasons behind the recent strong gains in the female employment rate, and this looks set to continue in the near to medium term.”
The report found that strong public sector employment recovery is broad-based, with public administration, healthcare and education all predicting strong growth.
Davies continued: “However, we should not lose sight of the net loss of more than 300,000 jobs in the public sector since 2010 and the challenges this has presented public service employers and employees in delivering crucial public services. Public sector organisations must prioritise managing and developing their workforces to empower and motivate existing public service employees, not just increase headcount.”
The CIPD also reports around two-thirds of public sector bodies looking to recruit are finding it difficult to recruit into certain roles, with over half of the jobs in professional occupations unfilled.
Alex Fleming, Country Head and President of Staffing and Solutions, the Adecco Group UK and Ireland, said: “There is still evidence of hard to fill vacancies, with 38% of organisations saying they have been prevented from filling a permanent role in the last 12 months. It’s therefore important that organisations continue to focus on developing and upskilling their employees through training and apprenticeships, to not only help tackle recruitment challenges, but also create a working environment where all talent can develop and thrive.”