Temporary workers the first casualties of public sector cuts, REC members' survey reveals
Ahead of Wednesday’s Comprehensive Spending Review, a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has revealed the impact that expenditure cuts are already having on staffing levels within the public sector.
The survey confirms that agency workers have become the first casualties of the squeeze and the REC estimates that at least 120,000 temporary jobs have been cut in the past three months including a high proportion in crucial front line roles.
Over 600,000 temporary, contract and interim managers are on assignment within public bodies in any given week. Over 66 per cent of agencies said that there had been a reduction of over 20 per cent in the number of temporary staff placements compared to three months ago.
The feedback from specialist recruiters shows that 37 per cent of the cuts have focused on admin and other back-office roles. However, it is striking that over 36 per cent of agencies reported an impact on front line service delivery roles. Looking forward, 94 per cent of agencies expected demand for temporary staff to be greatly reduced over the next 12 months.
Underlining the significance of the survey findings, Kevin Green, REC Chief Executive, says:
“There has been much speculation about what the spending review will mean for jobs. The impact on temporary staff has not been factored in; our survey confirms that they have been the first casualties of the public sector squeeze. This is not just a jobs issue: it is also an issue for how front line services will be delivered in the future.
“The dilemma will be how will schools operate without supply teachers, how do hospitals function without agency nurses and who will look after our elderly?
“Agency costs are being seen as a budget that can easily be cut. The opportunity for public sector employers is that flexible staffing arrangements should form part of cost effective staffing models. Flexible staffing is part of the solution, not the problem.”
For more information about the REC's Public Sector Resourcing Campaign, visit the website http://www.rec.uk.com/resourcing
- An REC survey of 150 specialist public sector recruitment organisations carried out between October 13-15 2010
- The number of temporary workers in the public sector comes from the ONS Labour Force Survey 2010.