Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Bias Against Public Sector Workers

Another employment prejudice has been exposed: a recent study conducted by the Financial Times and Barclays Corporate has determined that, out of 500 private sector companies, 57% of those surveyed were not interested in hiring from the public sector, with 52% stating they believed those workers ‘were not equipped’ to take a job in their company. This does not bode well for NHS employees, those working for councils, and thousands of other public sector workers who are soon to be made redundant. The study reveals a long-standing bias that exists in our working culture: public sector workers aren’t as competent as those in the private sector. When combined with age discrimination – another prejudice – it means that over-45s from the public sector will have the most difficult time finding employment.

Given that 65% of new jobs are created by SMEs (companies employing 250 people or less) in an average year, the expectation seems to be that, as if by magic, those companies will create jobs to soak up the newly-unemployed public sector workers. And yet the government is doing little to help small enterprises (in fact, many of them depend on public-sector contracts that are being cut) and the banks are hindering their expansion by making credit and loan conditions onerous and unfeasible.

So what’s a poor, soon to be out-of-work middle (or senior) public sector manager to do in these conditions? Act now, and act fast. Before you’re made redundant examine the changing landscape and see which private sector companies are getting government contracts. Many of them are large employers, and some of them may be hiring soon. As an example, the new version of the Work Programme will see companies such as Serco, G4S and PWC acting as prime providers, with delivery starting 1 July, 2011. They’ll be sub-contracting, and you’ll have credibility because you understand your sector, and you know how to manage teams that deliver a public service. Convince them that you can make savings efficiencies and you might secure your next role.

The purpose of this blog is to give light and hope to older workers in the form of practical information and suggestions. And yes, I have a book to sell. FINDING WORK AFTER 40: Proven Strategies for Managers and Professionals is published by A&C Black (Bloomsbury) and will be available April 29, 2011. In the meantime, I’ll be blogging frequently on the topic of re-employment and self-employment for older workers. It’s my mission to help others get back to work. I’m Robin McKay Bell. www.robinmckaybell.com

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