Laura Sharman 01 December 2011

Public sector workforce ‘to fall by 850,000’

The public sector workforce could fall by 15% compared to when the Government took office as the full extent of austerity measures take hold, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Projections by the CIPD warn that the Government’s full fiscal austerity measures will see around 850,000 jobs cut by 2017.

John Philpott picture Dr John Philpott: Office for Budget Responsibility figures exclude losses since election.

Although the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) projected that general government employment would fall by 710,000 between the first quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2017, CIPD chief economic adviser Dr John Philpott said this doesn’t include figures since the general election.

‘While the latest OBR projection better reflects what public sector employers expect to happen to public sector jobs in the coming years, the estimated cut of 710,000 excludes the effect of austerity measures introduced in 2010-11, particularly the freeze in public sector recruitment announced immediately after the 2010 general election,’ Dr Philpott said.

‘According to the Office for National Statistics the level of general government employment fell by almost 140,000 in that period. Assuming the OBR projection proves correct, the total cull of public sector jobs by 2017 will thus be 850,000, almost 15% of the public sector workforce at the start of 2010.’

Dr Philpott added that while the 1990s also saw a similar reduction in jobs, the labour market was being boosted by a rising economy. ‘There is less prospect of a similarly benign outcome in today’s far more straightened times.’

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