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Just 4% of new IT jobs within the public sector as cutbacks bite

Just 4% of new IT jobs within the public sector as cutbacks bite
Down from 30% at the start of the year
Risk of brain drain to the private sector
Just 4% of new IT jobs currently being created are within the public sector, according to research by ReThink Recruitment, the business and technology staffing company.
There are currently 5,129 private sector IT job vacancies versus just 194 public sector IT job vacancies.
ReThink says that as recently as Q1 2010, approximately 30% of new IT jobs were in the public sector. 22% of the UK workforce is currently employed in the public sector.

According to ReThink Recruitment, public sector bodies have cancelled or put major IT projects on hold as they get to grips with the first wave of cutbacks ahead of this Autumns Comprehensive Spending Review.
Michael Bennett, Director at ReThink, says: Since the coalition came to power in May this year, public sector recruitment freezes have really taken hold. IT projects have been abolished, and consequently demand for IT skills has been very subdued.
According to ReThink, one of the first executive actions of the new coalition was to cancel the following public sector contracts, which are estimated to be valued at 7 billion:
The ID cards programme
Biometric passports
Contact Point (a child protection database)
Michael Bennett adds: The cancellation of projects, coupled with worries over further cuts to come, has meant public sector IT recruitment has gone through a period of shock.
At the moment it may look grim but we are expecting that fairly soon the public sector will be forced to opt for greater use of contingent IT staff without actually increasing permanent headcount.
ReThink adds that as the private sector recovery gathers pace, public sector employers risk seeing their best performing staff leave for lucrative private sector jobs. This could jeopardise the delivery of frontline IT projects.
Michael Bennett concludes: The public sector is now at risk of a brain drain. We are already seeing evidence of this within the contractor market, with the private sector poaching some of the very best IT staff from the public sector.
Many of the skills used in public sector IT projects are highly transferable to the corporate sector, so increasing numbers of public sector IT professionals will jump ship as demand in the private sector continues to recover. I am sure we are not the only recruitment consultancy that is receiving a growing number of CVs from some highly experienced public sector IT specialists. The risk for public sector organisations is that many of their best IT staff will get headhunted by those private sector companies that are now looking to expand.


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