Whitehall finance staff lack ‘cut-and-thrust attitude’ demanded by businesses, says recruitment firm

Public sector finance staff who lose their jobs will not be welcomed in the private sector because they “lack the cut-and-thrust attitude” demanded by businesses, a recruitment firm has warned.

A total of 16,500 public sector accountants and finance staff are expected to hit the UK jobs market when the government’s spending cuts are pushed through, according to hiring firm Ambition, the Telegraph has reported.

But despite the relative upturn in hiring in the banking sector – and many financial institutions complaining of skills shortages – public sector staff will find it difficult to get a job without taking a pay cut or a drop in responsibility, the company told the Telegraph.

Tim Gilbert, UK managing director of Ambition, said: “Banks and City institutions don’t want candidates with public sector backgrounds. They think they lack the cut-and-thrust attitude demanded by many of today’s businesses. Whether this perception is true or not, it’s an unfortunate reality.

“The government has had to make cuts to start controlling the deficit but there’s a real danger that many of the professionals forced out of the public sector will have nowhere to go to.”

About 2.3% of the current public sector workforce is made up of accountants and finance staff, according to the Telegraph, and some economists have warned the government’s swingeing Budget cuts could mean 725,000 public sector jobs are axed over the next five years.

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