Despite recent encouraging unemployment statistics, parts of the country are bracing themselves for major job losses as the spending cuts bite. This is particularly the case in areas of the country where the public sector played a prominent part in the local employment make-up and this seems to be the case in much of Northern England with local government constituting in some cases more than 50% of all workers.
The government’s economic plan over the next 5 years relies on the ability of the private sector to “soak up” the job losses of the public sector and opinion is divided as to the extent to which this is possible.
One interesting article in the Sunday Times suggests that it’s not just an economic decision that may or may not be at work here. The different cultures in place in the public and private sector may mean that many private employers are not particularly positive about taking on employees who have previously worked in the public sector. As the article suggests “…. Many of the big local engineering or construction companies want people to start work at 8 in the morning and work 40-50 hour weeks, but often we find the public sector people only want to start work at 9.30, work no more than 35 hours a week and still get 37 days paid holiday a year.”
Many people in the private sector have looked enviously across at their public sector brothers and sisters with their long holidays, shorter hours and enhanced pensions, but now the boot is truly on the other foot. Public sector employees hoping to relocate are definitely going to have to learn a new work culture as they quickly discover a different world.