back to article Laid-off public sector techies better get flexible to survive

Ex-government developers and other tech staff will need to accept the different culture of working in the private sector if they want to find jobs. With this morning's news that the Cabinet Office is set to cull hundreds of government websites and associated staff, the warning comes from one of the UK's leading IT jobs sites …


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  1. Matt 21

    Jons for life?

    Perhaps in the 80s, but by the 90s we were already into "market testing" and so on. Sounds to me like he's somewhat out of touch with life in the public sector.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Call me jaded...

    Nott reckons if he is the first to mouth-off about stuff, he can drum up some vague PR BS masking as fact, so he can get his company in the news and draw all those lovely job-seekers in and rake in the cash if/when he finds them work!

    1. Steve Murphy
      Dead Vulture


      What, you are suggesting this article is a recycled press release and not the hard work of a journalist? At the Register! Surely not

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Completely agree

    The real world sucks. Aside from when it tries to behave like the real world, public sector institutions are fantastic places to work. <gets back to work in case anyone spots him skiving and therefore a candidate for the cull...>

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Here we go again

    Asuming that the public sector is full of people who think a job is for life, and have it easy.

    Yes, the pensions are not as good in some places, but 1 in 4 of all ftsi 500 companys still have final salary pensions. Yes, some jobs can be for life, but they are very rare. More often you know that your job can go baised on the whim of politicians, and is in risk every time the economy changes or there is an election.

    People who work in the public sector are no diffrent to those who work in the private sector. Why do people not realise this, other than prejudice?

    1. TheTallGuy

      Agree completely

      I worked for the post office for 12 years in the computing dept, OK there were some duffers that the system couldn't get rid of but there was also some of the best, cleverest minds I've come across and I went to Cambridge Uni to do Mathematics. Is the PO unique I doubt it. Do you think that they'll stay with Osbourne's public sector cuts?

      Not likely, so we get a smaller state that actually can't run the place if it wanted to. I got poached by a large company and I'm merely good, not like some of the very pissed off gods I'm talking about...

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    C# is needed?

    Whatever for?

    If on Windows, do as the Visual Basicers do.

  7. Ku...
    Thumb Down

    I'm getting bored...

    With public sector staff all getting bashed continually in the media right now. I work in the public sector and certainly there is bad practice and other issues to deal with but certainly no worse than I saw when I worked for several good sized and multinational private sector businesses.

    The problem is disecconomy of scale in organisations rather than public/private sector.

    I'm sure you can point out plenty of examples of bad working practice in the NHS, local authority or whatever, but you could (if you wanted) find plenty examples of good practice, and I can certainly recall many equal bad examples from previous employers in the private sector.

    Suggesting its all tea breaks and sloppy attitudes is wrong and insulting to those of us who are flexible, innovative and trying to deliver your public services effectively and efficiently.

    1. Oliver 7

      Well, stifle your yawns for a second please...

      My six month experience of the public sector was one of criminal waste of public money, an archaic and ineffective structure and an attitude of entitlement among staff when it came to benefits such as sick pay and expenses.

      Sure you may have come across examples of good practice, just as I have bad, but let's look beyond anecdotes. If you look at the facts from analysis after analysis, public sector workers work fewer hours, have more holiday entitlement, are better paid (in the round) and have pensions that match the cream of the private sector funds.

      I particularly remember one analysis that showed that the average (the AVERAGE!) council worker has more than three weeks of sick leave every year. On top of the thirty four holidays that seems to be the public sector norm? So I think it's fair to say that most of those who get laid off will take some adjustment, if they actually manage to get a private sector job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Stifling yawns

        I don't know anyone who has had three weeks off in a year never midn the average so I question that "analysis".

        In private sector I worked 35 hours a week, I now do 37.

        In private sector I had 25 days holiday a year, I now have 24.

        In private sector I earned £38,000 p.a. witha non-contributory final salary pensionm, now I earn just over £30,000 pa and contribute to a pension which could be taken away at any moment.

        Neither of these jobs is/was in London.

        I CHOSE to change jobs for a number of reasons which I don't have to explain here, I was not sacked, disciplined or in any other way needed to leave before I was pushed.

        The job I have now is more challenging, interesting and worthwhile and I took the hit for those reasons amongst others.

        Don't tell me that Public Sector workers are having it easy living off the fat of the land while everyone else struggle under the imperialist yoke to pad their cushy numbers. It's just not true.

        1. Oliver 7

          The evidence...

          I will qualify linking the story above by saying that I am not a Telegraph-reading Tory and the figure applies to the average figure at one particular council though the long-term absentee figures are truly eye-watering - in my current workplace I can only think of one person in my 500 strong department who is a long-term absentee. In my current role I have had four days off in four years.

          You can present your own circumstances as an example that disproves the rule but in general the overwhelming evidence is that, up until today, you are far better off in the public sector.

        2. Oliver 7

          And this, for example...

          Ignore the Tax Payers Alliance propaganda and focus on the facts that these are ONS figures. I would count myself as left wing politically but it doesn't mean I can't criticise the public sector.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            But its rubbish

            Yes, public sector pay is on avrage 30% higher, because they have a high level of high paid jobs, and low levels of low paid jobs. It dosen't compair like for like. Lots of doctors not many shelf stackers etc.

            As for sick leave, what we need to do is look at why there is a diffrence. Is it because of pulling sickys, or is it because of other reasons? We don't know because noone looks at it, just points fingers.

            Finaly, on working hours, one major thing with that is more part time workers in the public sector, and secondly less un-paid overtime, because they don't try and screw you and give half way fair contracts.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: But its rubbish

              I'm going to call shenanigans on your attempt to devalue solid statistics with conjecture. There are lots of doctors in the public sector, but I can guarantee you that there are a lot more administrators, and low level workers. Also, in the private sector you have lots of highly paid people as well, if you pick the right area - like you have done for the public sector. Let's compare lawyers with doctors for example.

              I've worked in both sectors, extensively (8 years in the public sector, and 8 years in the private sector). From my experience, it is incredibly hard to fire someone in the public sector (even for gross misconduct), and they have gold plated pensions. When someone does get laid off, they get a very good payout. In the private sector, you occasionally get better than being paid your notice when you are laid off, but very rarely, and it is very rare these days to get any final salary pension. Hours worked is a little more varied. I've known plenty of really hard workers on both sides of the fence, and plenty of layabouts on both sides. One thing I do know though, many public sector workers consider their allowance of sick leave to be an additional holiday. I think the MOD sick leave allowance was about 12 days a year (if I remember correctly), and most people took that allowance as extra holiday.

              Finally, I worked in the public sector and then moved to the private sector, my leave allowance in the private sector has always without exception been lower than the 6 weeks leave I had in the public sector. In fact, the most I've ever had in the private sector has been 5 weeks, and now I only have 4 weeks.

        3. ElFatbob

          re: sick leave

          A quick look around some parts of the NHS and you would very quickly see sick days taken as extra holiday entitlement.

          On this point, getting rid of the 6months full pay and 6 months half pay sick leave in the public sector, with better management of sick policies would see this rate drop dramatically. I get 4 weeks paid sick pay in my job in the private sector. When i've been with the company for about forever (>5 years), this will rise to 12 weeks.

          As with all public sector areas, there are plenty of excellent workers, but the fact is Labour created jobs (nearly a million) on tick and now reality of what we can actually afford is kicking in.

          Labour bang on about frontline services, but the reality is that most of the jobs they created were not in front line services. A large number of them are the non-jobs created to implement Labours social policy vanity. We can do without them.

          Sorry for the folks scammed by these con artists.

  8. djhworld
    Thumb Down

    cwjobs? Pah!

    I reckon 95% of job advertisements on that site come from recruitment agencies, the rest from private employers.

    Not worth bothering with IMO

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      Why would you not bother with jobs from agencies and private employers?

      Or do you mean you would go to them direct?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Gold Plated Pension

    Again an attack on the Public sector pension, I have worked in ict in the public sector for 15+ years and my pension statement that I have just recieved says that if I am able to stay in the public sector pension until 65, I may be entitled to around about £10,000 per annum, so this is gold plated.

    Also up to the last 5 to 10 years private sector ICT support were earning between 10 and 15k more than the ICT support in the public sector, like I say its only in the last few years that the public sector ICT has caught up with private sector..

    1. pan2008


      Who was saying that C# is not in demand!! Get a grip, Java is sh*te and slow. C++ is the fastest but difficult to master, so many times you end up with holes. People wake up to facts and everyday experience slowly. I am laughing with all the problems my managers have with our Unix boxes with 16 processors!!, although its' the sybase, jboss, java lethal combination that is to blame most, not Unix.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        They see me trolling

        ....they hatin'

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    In my experience of working in the public sector IT,...

    those who do get private sector employment will probably find their management much more competent and assertive. Public sector management, esp middle managers, are usually there on length of service or favour, not ability.

  11. RichardB

    Quick, crack open the violin case

    Poor, poor public sector workers, performing vital roles in crap council websites we don't need and rubbish online payment systems we don't want are losing their tax funded jobs.

    Pity, it's going to make recruiting decent staff that bit harder.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You witless t@sser!

      So you've never needed medical aid, never needed fire or police aid, never claimed any benefit, don't have any children benefitting from education, don't have a driving license or passport, don't want your state pension paid to you, etc., etc., etc.

      The public sector clearly does more than your tiny mind can comprehend.

      1. RichardB

        @AC 13:11

        Pretty much, yeah.

        I can prescribe my own paracetamol, so no need for a GP, and private health insurance covers the rest. Ever tried calling the cops? People rarely if ever need to call the fire service, and frankly in rented accomodation it would be cheaper to let it burn and replace whats needed that pay for a fire brigade. I'd prefer to not need a driving license thanks, and passports and the state pension I piss on.

        Public sector does almost nothing of use. Parasitical drivel the lot of it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          I stand by my original conclusion.

          1. RichardB

            @ Still AC

            Tough, you lost the election, get used to it.

            No more lesbian outreach coordinators, no more play in the community commissars, and a good reduction in the ID nkvd.

            The makework has finished, it's time to find a proper job.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        It's amazing..

        .. how when responding to criticism, every public sector worker becomes a fireman, nurse, teacher etc. The pen pushers just don't exist at all it seems.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "It's amazing . . "

          No, I think it is a perfectly natural reaction to the sterotypical view (espoused repeatedly here) that all Public Sector workers are Whitehall mandarins taking home huge salaries and looking to collect huge pensions that they haven't paid a penny for.

          The truth is that the Public Sector fulfills a number of important functions and, whether you like it or not, that does require some bureaucracy to run.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Big Brother

          Penpushers aye?

          Ok so without pen pushers who is going to do all the management?

          Oh right yes, Doris and Betty the cleaners can just clean aimlessly all day, that's a really nice shiny floor you have there Betty but the bogs are minging.

          And how are Kate and Adam the nurses going to know which patients they are allocated to? What there is a patient in for Dialysis, um, he's deid, who was his nurse?

          Oh no here's one, who is going to send out all the appointment letters? What no administrators to do it? Yes the Urologist is expected to send out his own appointment letters, wow what a great use of his time, can he see any patients, nope he is too busy telling them when to arrive for appointments.

          Taking it back into Software, how many development team leaders actually get a chance to write code? Mine is too busy planning and allocating work to have written code since he got the job. In fact he's so busy doing that, that the allocating of support calls has been delegated to me and line management of lower grade staff on the support team to someone else so he can focus on planning and allocation of the new development work.

          As for the tea trolley, there is a machine about 25m from the front door of the office, we are expected to use our recommended 5 minute break per hour away from our VDU's for stuff like that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re :- Quick, crack open the violin case

      Its not about websites, there are plenty of us who have nothing to do with websites, who work just as hard and as long hours, that could end up losing our jobs and as someone has already posted sometimes the only difference between public and private sector is the competence of the management because some (not all) have usually got where they are by default and long service.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    These articles.....

    Like said before, gold plated pensions... yeah we'll get a pension but its not free! I currently pay in 7.1% of my salary to have my government pension, I am currently expecting my final pension to be in the region of £15k a year, which isn't even a great pension now.... god knows how I'll survive on that in 30years when I retire and inflation has taken a £15k starting salary below the poverty threshhold. I very much doubt there will be a state pension then either....

    As for lazy stuck in their ways staff.... right! We typically go through restructures every few years, we're well prepared for change because we're always going through it.... although in fairness we do this with little or no training, and NO gaurantee of a job at the end of it.


    1. The Cube

      Well, actually

      It was not the banks that "lost" all the money that spiralled away.

      The governments who de-regulated multiple markets and allowed investment banks to use the basic fabric of our agriculture and economy as a roulette wheel are mostly to blame.

      Second behind the governments are the consumers who all said "I've made £XXX,000 on my house and CardCo have given me an £XX,000 credit limit, I'm going to build an extension I can't actually afford on my salary, then a new car I won't actually be able to pay for, then a plasma telly for the bog so I can shit and watch football at the same time. And I'll buy a new £200 pair of trainers every 3 days because the old ones are slightly dirty and we'll spend £10,000 per holiday and have 3 a year" Where, exactly did people think all this money they weren't earning was coming from?

      Of course it all turned to rat shit, it was a self feeding spiral but consumer greed was just as essential a component as banker greed and politician greed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Meanwhile back on planet earth...

      "I am currently expecting my final pension to be in the region of £15k a year, which isn't even a great pension now"

      The ignorance of some Public Sector workers is galling. Yours is a fantastic gold and platinum plated diamond studded pension from the standpoint of those in the private secor on DC pensions. Do you realise that a private sector worker would have to build up a pension fund of around £450K pounds to get the same £15K pension. Yours of course is also index linked, it goes up with inflation as you age. Most DC funded annuities aren't so even if I built up the 450K, that 15K per year would still be 15K per year if I pop my clogs aged 100. By the way I currently pay 17% into my pension.

      Welcome to the real world.

    3. Woodgar

      Caps for the win

      Are all the keyboards in the public sector broken, or is it just yours?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        RE:- Meanwhile back on planet earth

        17% of what 25k, 30k, 40k, 50k???????????

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The public sector did quite a good job of buggering up bits of the economy. All those councils who stuck all their money in Icelandic banks when competent advice was saying to not do that and to also spread money around, spring to mind.

      Then remember that everyone who had a sub-prime loan or mortgage and anyone who had unserviceable credit card debts, or people who paid off credit cards with other credit cards are also partly to blame. (I did have a sub-prime mortgage, so I'm partly to blame.)

      Next remember that the regulators, whose job it is to prevent financial institutions screwing up, also screwed up, bigstyle.

      Also remember government policy was "encouraging risk taking in the City" (A Gordon Brown quote)

      I'm not suggesting that banks don't carry some blame for what happened, but as a bank employee I've had two years of banker-bashing from people who don't understand the difference between a city trader and an IT guy and I'm sick of it. It's all very easy to point at a the banks and say it was all their fault, they make nice easy hate-figures, but it wasn't all banks (Co-op had nothing to do with it) and the man in the street is more to blame than he/she would like to think.

      1. John Mangan

        @ Errr

        "All those councils who stuck all their money in Icelandic banks when competent advice was saying to not do that and to also spread money around, spring to mind."

        Well if you're going to start with a lie then you really can't expect me to read any further now can you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          @John - Care to elaborate on which part is a lie? Several councils lost lots of tax payer money banked in Ice Save, I remember hearing about it on Radio4, several times because they were complaining that the government wouldn't be bailing them out. Best practice is to not invest large sums of money in a single institution, for blindingly obvious reasons and there was advice to local government that the Icelandic banks weren't that safe a place to invest money. Which of those isn't true?

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        If the cap fits, wear it with pride, although you might like a helmet if you are part of the problem

        "It's all very easy to point at a the banks and say it was all their fault, they make nice easy hate-figures, but it wasn't all banks (Co-op had nothing to do with it) and the man in the street is more to blame than he/she would like to think." .... Fraser Posted Friday 25th June 2010 14:13 GMT

        Err, Fraser, the man in the street has the valid excuse that he is an ignorant moron. What would be the bankers' excuse?

        Of course, now there is an added unknown dimension to add to the explosive mix ...... smarter beings, loosely affiliated by moral affinity, who would exploit the persistent systemic cyber vulnerabilities which would be foolishly retained and maintained to feed the same leading idiots milking and bilking a hackers' wet dream of a corrupt-and-easily-abused-to-the-rotten-core system [obviously with sweet honey supply traps for those, and a few more, mentioned above, who have failed so spectacularly and miserably to launder their scams successfully and have this revealed themselves to be absolutely crap at what they do, which seems to be little other than losing third party money shifting numbers around feeding phantom bank accounts.

        And any and every idiot can do that simple task.

    5. Mark 65

      Public Sector


      Yep, because having a public sector that's 50% of the economy is not costing us tax-payers a thing is it?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Huh! Big corporates are probably worse

    I've met far more jobsworths and letter-of-the-law-ers in the big corporate world than in the public sector. Quite a statement about CWJObs' apparently outdated opinion, this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Huh! Big corporates . . . "

      Indeed, I've been a contractor and permanent employee in private companies and the public sector and the waste and incompetence in the private sector wins out by large margin (in my experience).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        On the one hand, big incompetent business is answerable to investors. if they are happy for the business to turn a profit while also having some inefficiences, then so be it.

        the public sector is accountable to the public, and if there's some obscure department or office that isn't pulling its weight in making life better for the country then I'd like them to sort themselves out.

  14. twilkins
    Thumb Down

    Public sector, more like private sector...

    Considering that many, if not most, of these sites are built and maintained by private sector organisations, I think the developers and backroom staff are already familiar with the lack of tea-trolley. They might, however be less familiar with the lack of a job and the dire state of the job market outside of certain niches in London. Recovery... I don't think so.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cry me a river.

    I love hearing the piggies sequel in the comments section.

    Get a real job in the real world and stfu.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re :- Cry me a river

      I do work in the real world, do you???????

      What was your last pay rise, mine was 0.5%. The one before that 2.75%........

      1. Woodgar

        Re: Re:- Cry me a river

        To quote your previous post:

        "0.5% of what 25k, 30k, 40k, 50k???????????"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re:- Cry me a river @14:13

          0.5% of £12,500 actually

          1. Mark 65

            @AC 14:13

            "0.5% of £12,500 actually"

            Seriously, I don't want to take the piss but you need to start looking for work elsewhere. I was earning more than that straight out of Uni (where I didn't do anything special) in 1996 and can only suggest that you must have either no skills or no ambition in order to put up with that for an income in 2010.


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