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Public sector workers fear for the future

Public sector workers fear for the future
Public sector jobseekers fear that the forthcoming election is likely to lead to frozen wages and jobs cut according to research commissioned by leading recruitment website, Three quarters of 8,000 public sector jobseekers questioned are expecting to see pay frozen or reduced as a result of the election and many expect their jobs to become more insecure.
This fear is also leading to electoral uncertainty. Only 19% of public sector workers surveyed say they are planning on voting for Labour in Mays election, with 18% stating that they will be casting their ballot for the Conservatives. A staggering 38% of public sector workers remain undecided as to how they will vote, making them a crucial target for the parties. 
Job and pay cuts looming
Recent redundancy announcements by local authorities have knocked the feeling of job security for those in the state sector: 85% did not expect an improvement in job security in the next year and a third expect it to deteriorate.
In addition to the 75% of those that expected a real term wage cut in 2010, only 17% of those looking for a job in the public sector expect to receive a bonus in the next year. This follows years of wage rises in the state sector, with average wage rises of 2.6% last year as private sector wages froze and fell in real terms.
Despite the outlook for lower real term wages and the threat of job cuts, public sector employees are keen to stay with 55% saying they would not contemplate a move into the private sector.
John Salt, website director at, says of the situation in the public sector:
Traditionally, the public sector has been counter-cyclical, investing during recessions in an attempt to pull the rest of the economy up. That is what we have seen recently with the public sector continuing to recruit and raise wages. But with public finances stretched as never before, we are starting to see signs of the public sector contraction we predicted at the end of last year.
Who is looking for a job in the public sector?
Some 42% of those who replied to the survey are already unemployed and looking for work. In contrast to what is happening in private enterprise, where the young have been severely affected, it seems that it is the more experienced in the public sector who are losing out. 57% of public sector jobseekers surveyed are over 40 and over a third had over 10 years experience with the state. With over half of the surveys respondents married and 42% having dependents, these are people who are worst affected by a job loss.
John Salt concluded:
               Public sector workers who have already lost their job or fear doing so may take some comfort from recent indicators in the private sector. More positive signs are starting to appear in the private sector and the totaljobs Barometer, which measures supply and demand in the jobs market, showed a small rise in the last quarter. Increasingly though, to secure work, jobseekers have to be flexible, in terms of the job theyll take, where theyll work and work conditions.


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