The REC has given its verdict on the chancellor’s comprehensive spending review, which sets out where budgetary cuts should be made to achieve savings of £11.5 billion by 2015/16.
The organisation’s policy advisor, Amanda Ciske, cautions that the 1% cap on public sector pay risks creating an obstacle to attracting new talent and expert skills, in particular high-level executives currently contracting in the public sector as interim managers. She considered the latter to be “a vital part of the public sector”, and warned that departments may find it harder to tap into this skilled resource as they struggle to make the necessary savings.
Permanent headcounts in a number of departments are bound to fall, although the private sector may provide a lifeboat: Ms Ciske cites the latest REC JobsOutlook, which found that around 60% of the 200 employers surveyed intend to hire more permanent staff over the next quarter. Recruiters, she advises, will need to help public sector workers with transferable skills to make the transition to the private sector.
Ms Ciske welcomed the announcement by the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, of a £100 billion boost to the UK’s infrastructure projects, however, stating that it would be “good news for job creation.” Even so, she noted, recruiters are already reporting that they are “struggling to find suitable candidates with the right skills, particularly in engineering and IT, needed to develop such ambitious infrastructure projects.”
As these are core contractor disciplines, one implication not directly mentioned by Ms Ciske is that Umbrella Company Employees specialising in these skill sets could be very much in demand when the infrastructure money comes on stream.