Job security a big worry for public sector staff


Job insecurity in the UK’s public sector has soared as hundreds of thousands of jobs fall prey to austerity, a leading think-tank revealed today.

A National Institute for Economic and Social Research report, The Workplace Employee Relations Study, encompasses responses from more than 20,000 public and private sector employees over 15 months.

It shows 47 per cent of state workers secure in their position in 2011, compared with almost 65 per cent in 2004. Attitudes are broadly unchanged among private sector employees, with 66 per cent feeling secure.

The dramatic decline in security for public employees comes in a climate of stringent spending restraint. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility’s latest forecasts, about 1m jobs will have been shed in the public sector between the start of 2011 and the start of 2018.

NIESR’s principal research fellow Alex Bryson said: “The biggest difference in working conditions in recent years relates to job security: perceptions of job security have declined markedly in the public sector since the mid-2000s. Demands made of employees to work harder have increased in both sectors, but private sector employees have generally benefited from more supportive management.”

The latest figures showed 5.67m people employed in the public sector in June, down 104,000 from a year earlier. Public sector workers as a percentage of the workforce has fallen from above 22 per cent in 2009 to 19 per cent.