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Public sector hiring to increase pre-election

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Public sector hiring is set to spike pre-election, outpacing the private sector, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey has revealed.

According to the survey, which is based on responses from 2,100 UK employers, the public sector has an outlook of +12%. That is double the national average of +6% and almost double the private sector’s +7%.

ManpowerGroup UK managing director Mark Cahill said the data suggests the public sector is “front-loading its hiring in the run-up to the general election”.

He added: “You’d think that, with austerity cuts across government departments, public sector hiring would be in the doldrums. But what we’re seeing is the reverse. Staff shortages mean some organisations need to take on people in order to maintain frontline services.”

Cahill also said the public sector is increasingly looking for digital skills, due to “a growing focus on digitisation”.

While private sector hiring remains steady it is perhaps less optimistic than expected, given the positive economic climate. “It looks as though uncertainty ahead of the general election may be causing some businesses to sit on their hands,” said Cahill.

Bad news for Scotland

Despite UK recruitment figures rising overall, the data suggests Scotland will have its first negative job market in two years.

Cahill said the fall in oil prices has “hit Scottish jobs hard”. “We’ve seen several big players, including the likes of Shell, Wood Group, and Halliburton, slashing jobs as they make tough spending decisions needed to weather the storm,” he said.

“These initial cuts look to be just the start, and we expect to see a further impact across the supply chain as the year progresses.”