Two fifths (41%) of public sector workers think they would need to up-skill in order to gain employment in the private sector, according to research, of over 1000 public sector workers, conducted by leading recruitment consultants Badenoch & Clark.

Of these, one in ten (13.4%) respondents to the survey said they would need to up-skill or retrain significantly and a quarter (27.6%) said they would need to up-skill slightly.

Managers within the sector were far more confident, with only one in 20 (5.9%) feeling the need to up-skill. Furthermore, over a third (35.3%) of managers said that if they were to move to the private sector, they would not need to up-skill or retrain at all.

Despite significant job cuts in the sector in the wake of the Comprehensive Spending Review and further job cuts expected, the majority (73.6%) of workers suggested that, at least for the time being, they are not currently searching for a new job.

Four fifths (82.7%) of NHS workers said that they will wait for further developments before making any career change decisions and around three quarters of local and central government staff (74.9%, 77.5%, respectively) said the same.

Almost two thirds (61%) of those surveyed hope to stay in the public sector, within this two fifths (40.5%) are absolutely certain that they would like to stay in the public sector for life.

Nicola Linkleter, Managing Director, at Badenoch & Clark said: “It is clear that there is a great deal of uncertainty in the public sector at the moment. Our research shows that on the whole people want to stay in the sector, yet have very real concerns over their prospects in the job market if their hand were forced.

“There appears to be a worker/manager divide in skills confidence within the public sector, as public sector managers have emerged with far more confidence. The process of cuts and the re-evaluation of workplace priorities, which the public sector has undergone over the last six months, have resulted in the development of a specific set of important management skills. Such skills leave managers adept at coping with a more dynamic, stretched and fast paced working environment. Mangers within the sector ought to be doing more, where possible, to help develop their team’s skill base. This can be done through improving people management skills and clarity of communication.

“The public sector has taken on private sector attributes, as the demand for public accountability has increased. This has required the development of new skill sets that may have been more traditionally associated with the private sector. As such, the future need not be gloomy in an absolute sense for public sector workers and managers. Rather, workers must now see the cuts as a possibility for the development of crucial time and people management skills, coupled with a nuanced understanding of the vital importance of clear communication in times of crisis.”