While it might seem a little callous to appear to be drawing some satisfaction from other people’s misfortunes, new figures on public sector unemployment from the Office of National Statistics may give PAYE umbrella contractors some grounds for optimism.  At the very least, they may encourage former employees to consider working through umbrella companies as an alternative to seeking permanent roles.

The ONS data shows that employment in the public sector plunged by 24,000 between February and April.  Though this cannot have been a pleasant experience for those who lost their jobs, the fact remains that essential public sector projects still have to be completed and vital services maintained.  With substantially fewer permanent staff to fulfil these functions, the question of who will perform them is an important one.

The staffing difficulties could lead managers to consider alternative recruitment options, hiring skilled contractors to complete specific projects for time-limited periods in order to ease the strain on existing employees and make up for lost skills.  This option would have the advantage of keeping permanent headcounts down whilst ensuring that vital projects are undertaken efficiently.

The news for public sector workers was not all doom and gloom, however.  The ONS report reads, “The number of people employed in the public sector fell by 24,000 over the quarter to reach 6.16 million but the number of people employed in the private sector increased by 104,000 over the quarter to reach 23.08 million”.

The private sector, in other words, appears to have vacancies for enterprising refugees from the public sector.  How many, one wonders, will choose the freelance contractor option?

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