By Max Clarke

A survey of over 500 executives from small to large businesses, carried out by Barclays Corporate and The Financial Times, has revealed that 57% were planning to create new jobs in the next 12 months. For large businesses, turning over in excess of £500 million, the figure jumps to 85%.

Alarmingly, however, the survey reveals that 1 in 3 companies are ‘not at all interested’ in employing ex-public sector workers, while a further 25% responded as ‘not very interested’. Among the barriers to employing former public sector employees cited by respondents was their real or perceived lack of skills necessary for private sector business.

Kevin Wall, managing director of Barclays Corporate commented:

“One of the interesting and slightly disturbing things to come out of the survey is that in some sectors there is an aversion to hiring public sector workers, believing they are not suitably skilled. Our principle is to take an individual on their own merit. It is short sighted if employers are not prepared to look more closely at an individual’s experience, work ethic and ability to learn.”

David Ingall, partner at JWPCreers and member of the UK200Group of independent accountancy and lawyer firms has also commented on the findings of the survey, saying:

"The private sector generally only employs those “fit for purpose”. It is difficult to establish whether this survey played on a potential prejudice that those being made redundant from the public sector are not equipped to deal with life in the “real” world.

There appears to be a supposition that the private sector will enable those who are made redundant to be redeployed on a like for like basis. The reality is very different. The skills required in the hoped-for-growth of the private sector will only, to a very limited extent, encompass administration but will probably be sales and technical - perhaps not public sector strengths. We will have to wait and see."

[The news] "might be damning for those due to be unemployed, but sadly it isn't surprising. In our experience," argues Kevin Young, Managing Director for SkillSoft EMEA, "the public sector has traditionally focused on internal process-driven training, rather than investing employees with transferable skills.

"It might be the natural response to lambast business owners for taking this kind of view, but this opinion won't change without some significant re-alignment from the public sector. Appropriate training in transferable skills through platforms like e-learning requires minimal levels of investment compared to the generated returns in productivity. There is no excuse for this not to be a core part of any public sector redundancy package. Concluded Mr. Young.