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February 25, 2011

Private sector “not interested” in recruiting former state workers

More than half of firms in the private sector would not consider employing former public sector workers, as they don’t believe they have the right skills, Barclays research has revealed.

The survey of 500 executives of UK businesses of all sizes by Barclays Corporate found 32 per cent were “not at all interested” in employing public sector workers that have lost their jobs, and 25 per cent said they were “not very interested” in employing them.

The research also highlighted that small firms with a turnover of less than £5 million were the least interested in employing former state workers.

Barclays Corporate managing director, Kevin Wall, said that there is an aversion to hiring public sector workers in some industries. “It’s short-sighted of employers not to be prepared to look more closely at an individual’s experience, work ethic and ability to learn,” he said.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) public policy adviser, Mike Emmot, said that employers are put off by the bad press public sector staff receive.

“It’s a convenient myth that public sector workers are overpaid and do ‘non-jobs’, but in fact a lot of the problems in the sector are caused by institutional management issues rather than the ability of the workers,” he said.

Emmott said that in reality, most public sector workers have transferable skills that private sector firms can benefit from.

“Most of these people are very capable, they just need to be judged individually on their track record, their merits, their CV, and on what account they can give of themselves,” he said. “Most will have transferable skills that are needed in the private sector. For example, if they have done clerical work, or worked on helplines, or have had a professional role in waste management, there are parallel jobs in the private sector.”