Public sector IT brain drain warning as jobs plummet

Just four percent of new IT jobs are in the public sector, according to recruitment company ReThink Recruitment.

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Just four percent of new IT jobs are in the public sector, according to recruitment company ReThink Recruitment.

ReThink said that the figure had fallen from around 30 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The recruiters said that it currently had just 194 public sector IT job vacancies, compared to 5,129 private sector IT vacancies, on its books.

ReThink attributed the fall to public sector bodies cancelling or mothballing IT projects, such as the ID cards programme and child protection database Contact Point, in preparation for the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review in October.

Michael Bennett, director at ReThink, said: “Since the coalition came to power in May, public sector recruitment freezes have really taken hold. IT projects have been abolished, and consequently demand for IT skills has been very subdued.”

Despite this, Bennett was optimistic about the IT contractors job market.

“We are expecting that fairly soon the public sector will be forced to opt for greater use of contingent IT staff without actually increasing permanent headcount,” he said.

However, Bennett warned of the risks of a brain drain from the public sector IT industry.

“We are already seeing evidence of this within the contractor market, with the private sector poaching some of the very best IT staff from the public sector. Increasing numbers of public sector IT professionals will jump ship as demand in the private sector continues to recover.”

Last month’s ‘Report on Jobs’ by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation indicated a slowdown in the overall jobs market, as the public sector recession started to have an effect.

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