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Many public-sector workers worry that they don't have the skills for a move to the private sector

More than half of workers in the public sector, who would consider moving into the private sector, think they lack the appropriate skills to do so, according to research by recruitment consultants Badenoch & Clark.

Just over two fifths (44%) of public-sector workers said they did not feel they would need to retrain to move to the private sector. A similar number of respondents (44%) said they hoped to remain in the public sector for life.

Fears around appropriate skillsets are not confined to any one area of the public sector. Workers in local government emerged the most concerned, with two fifths (39%) stating they would need to retrain. This was closely followed by a slightly smaller number of central government employees (38%). Just under a third (30%) of NHS employees felt they would need to upskill.

Half (50%) of public-sector workers believed that the results of the Comprehensive Spending Review would have a negative effect on staff retention across the public sector, with 57% suggesting they are likely to move on from their current job in the near future. Staff retention emerged as a particular issue within central government with two thirds (66%) stating that it will have a negative effect.

Nicola Linkleter, head of public sector recruitment at Badenoch & Clark, said: "This research highlights that the transition from the public sector to the private sector, for the 500,000 people expected to lose their jobs, may not be as easy as some have claimed. Not only must we question whether the private sector can pick up the slack in terms of volume, but there are clearly issues around how much support the public-sector workers will require in order to make the move.

"Over the past 0 years the public sector has developed a reputation as the employer of choice for millions. The announcements of last week have been a huge blow to this reputation and to the public-sector employer brand. Our research reveals that 22% of workers are unsure what to expect from the spending cuts across their department, while 23% expect job losses and under- staffing. Public-sector managers must do all they can to communicate changes to their teams in order to eradicate the uncertainty many are feeling."