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16,500 public sector accountants and finance staff are expected to hit the UK jobs market when public spending cuts are implemented
Banking job boom wont offset cuts - public sector experience unpopular in City
16,500 public sector accountants and finance staff are expected to hit the jobs market when public spending cuts are implemented.
Research from Ambition, the global recruitment firm, has found that 2.3% of the current public sector workforce is made up of accountants and finance staff- around 140,000 permanent employees. With the Government having outlined 6.2bn of public spending cuts, departments are expected to shed 725,000 jobs including 16,500 permanent finance professionals.
The median salary of a qualified accountant in the public sector with two to three years post qualification experience is 40,100. If this salary is applied to the 16,500 accountants likely to be unemployed, the cost to the UK in lost tax revenue would be the equivalent of 173m per year.
While the private sector jobs market has been emerging from the candidate surplus of 2008 and 2009, many sectors particularly financial services and legal are now complaining of a skills shortage. But despite the increase in the number of jobs available in the private sector not all of these new candidates will be welcomed with open arms.
Tim Gilbert, UK managing director of Ambition, said:Banks and City institutions dont want candidates with public sector backgrounds. They think they lack the cut and thrust attitude demanded by many of todays businesses. Whether this perception is true or not, its an unfortunate reality. The Government has had to make cuts to start controlling the deficit but theres a real danger that many of the professionals forced out of the public sector will have nowhere to go to.
Despite many financial services and legal businesses ramping up their hiring over the last few months the need for specialist skills and experience is still present and employers are reluctant to cast their nets wider than the private sector talent pool. As a result there will be few options open to this wave of candidates hitting the market.
Tim Gilbert continued:There will be candidates who have the commercial acumen and hunger to break into the private sector, and these individuals will be snapped up. But there shouldnt be an expectation from the public that the nascent recovery in private businesses will accommodate the public sector fall-out.
Many public sector finance staff will find that to break into the private sector they will have to take dramatic reductions in pay or responsibility. Qualified accountants with ten years post qualification experience will find themselves having to consider positions for newly qualified accountants.
It is not expected that the influx of candidates will affect private sector salaries. The supply of candidates in the market usually determines a candidates salary bargaining power. However, the lack of demand for these candidates will mean private sector salaries remain robust.


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