Comprehensive Spending Review - Comment
Public sector job cuts - Comment from Randstad
Brian Wilkinson, executive board member at Randstad, said:
We expect many of those in public sector that lose their jobs to be able to find employment in the private sector. We still expect the private sector to rebound faster than in the early 1990s because the UK economy is more service based, has closer ties with the global economy and has a more mature recruitment agency sector. Private sector recruitment is already increasing in areas such as finance, HR and media.
At the same time, Randstad is also seeing demand increasing in the public sector for people who can manage sizeable organisational change such as those with financial expertise and high-end HR professionals who have the skills to rationalise and integrate teams, as well as those with TUPE experience who can support the potential externalisation of public services to the private sector.
Impact on HRs of the Comprehensive Public Spending Review -- Comment from HR recruiter Ortus
Stephen Menko, managing director of HR recruiter Ortus said:
These cuts havent come out of the blue - the writings been on the wall since before the Spending Review was finalised. The government introduced a recruitment freeze last year and there has been an estimated 75% reduction in the recruitment of permanent staff year on year as a result. Anyone working on an interim basis has also had plenty of warning and many have started explore other opportunities in the market place already. Last year, the government took action to reduce the use of temporary, agency and interim staff and the latest figures show the total number has already fallen by an estimated 30%.
And the scorched-earth fiscal policy, savage as it is, has been well-flagged. Thats given HR professionals the chance to be involved in ground-breaking transformation and change - or to look at their own job prospects. Ipsos MORI suggests a drop in business as usual positions but a consistent push on project and programme management. This same report indicates that HR is one of the most requested management roles.
CIPD responds to Comprehensive Spending Review: Excellent people management will be crucial in determining whether public services can survive the cuts
The unprecedented scale of change set out in the Governments Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) cannot be delivered without a concerted and committed focus on supporting, bolstering and improving public sector management capability, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Although employee morale and engagement is bound to suffer in the face of this scale of cuts, the CIPD is urging those with responsibility for public sector management up to and including ministers not to lose sight of the possibilities and opportunities to genuinely engage and enthuse public sector workers about new ways of working and to secure buy-in to new means of service delivery.
Research published by the CIPD on Monday, exploring public attitudes to possible post-CSR industrial action in the public sector, highlighted that striking workers would quickly lose sympathy amongst the wider public. However, Mike Emmott, employee engagement adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) warns that ministers cannot afford to take solace in these findings if the end result is a demotivated and disengaged public sector workforce:
Our research shows unions cannot rely on public sympathy to face down the Governments cuts through sustained strike action. But equally, ministers cannot rely on limited enthusiasm for strikes to deliver their vision of reformed, streamlined and diversified public service delivery. The reality is more complicated. Front-line commitment and industrial harmony can only be delivered by persuasive messages about why the cuts are needed, and an unswerving focus on excellent day to day management of the survivors. Effective and sustained change will only happen in organisations where senior leaders show a sustained commitment to building staff engagement to ensure there is buy-in to change and new ways of working.
Warning that the way people are engaged and managed will be the critical factor in determining whether the scaled back public sector set out in the CSR is still capable of delivering on ministerial and public expectations, Mike Emmott, says:
Proposals to improve the autonomy and empowerment of front-line service workers will fail if front-line managers are not equipped with the skills to support these behaviours. Radical plans such as employee-led public sector co-operatives and a step-change in co-ordination and collaboration between local public service providers can only succeed if there is a sustained focus on building management capability. Our research consistently shows a high degree of loyalty amongst public service workers to the services they seek to provide, and the people they provide them to. That loyalty cannot be taken for granted over the next five years. Instead, it will need to be carefully nurtured and harnessed by inspiring managers, focused wholeheartedly on their management responsibilities if the promise of wholesale changes to methods of service delivery is to be realised.
As an example, the success of government plans to transfer health service commissioning powers from Primary Care Trusts to GP consortiums in the face of 45% cuts to management will hinge on whether GPs are equipped with the leadership and management skills that will be so important to their new roles. GPs will need to have leadership skills to take charge of service commissioning, as well as the people management skills to manage and motivate employees and partners in other services to work collaboratively and deliver for patients.
How these changes are managed and the extent to which employees feel they are consulted and have a voice will also be fundamental to whether they understand and buy-in to new ways of working.
Spending review reactive comment: Recruiter Marks Sattin warns of over-punishment of the financial services sector
Dave Way, managing director of accountancy and financial services recruiter, comments on the governments spending review:
The public sector is shrinking, but these cuts are crucial to reducing the deficit and ultimately providing the right conditions for Britains private sector to pick up the slack and restore strength to the economy. Without these austerity measures we may have seen damage done to the UKs sovereign credit rating. The UK's financial services and its connected sectors, which are responsible for over 1 million employed and around 14% of the countrys GDP, depend on our global reputation as a stable and growing economy.
However, while providing the right economic conditions for financial services to invest, the government should be wary of pushing business away through excessive regulation and prohibitive tax measures. Banks are already starting to report reduced profits and to reduce the UKs competitiveness as an international financial and business centre would cause long-term damage to the countrys economic standing. The levy announced today, and 900m invested in efforts to combat tax avoidance and evasion, seems reasonable but it is vital that this is not a sign of populist punishment of the sector yet to come. The government must be very careful in its biting of the hand that feeds it.