The Government should approach public sector job cuts with the mindset of a “middle distance runner rather than a sprinter”, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Commenting ahead of today’s official unemployment figures, the CIPD said the Government’s objectives on growth, employment, welfare to work and public service reform would be best served by ensuring that 80% of the planned public sector job cuts take effect after 2013.
The CIPD believes that the rate of net private sector job creation will be insufficient to start offsetting the impact of public sector job cuts before then, adding that the majority of subsequent job cuts would ideally fall closer to 2015-16 than 2013-14.
Such a strategy would prevent total UK unemployment from rising above 2.8 million by 2012 and thereafter make it easier for stronger private sector job creation, the CIPD said.
A more aggressive approach to public sector job cuts would push unemployment close to three million and be especially harmful to those regions of the UK least well placed to enjoy an early and significant improvement in private sector employment, it warned.
Dr John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the CIPD, said: “Whatever the latest figures show, the majority of forward looking indicators suggest that the UK jobs situation is about to take another turn for the worse. It’s difficult to judge how serious any dip in demand for labour might be, but one wouldn’t necessarily choose this moment to start cutting public sector employment.
“When it comes to public sector downsizing there is no strong economic imperative for the coalition to behave as though it is the fiscal equivalent of Usain Bolt. A more middle distance back-end loaded approach would be the best option for jobs and increase the chances that ministers last the course in pursuit of their stated objectives.”