Quango comms staff face 'harsh realities' of finding private sector jobs

PR professionals leaving axed quangos will find jobs in the private sector hard to come by, senior agency directors have warned.

Axed: Audit Commission
Axed: Audit Commission

As the Government announces that it will axe 192 quangos, a top exec from public sector specialist Grayling has suggested that comms experts looking to jump into agency jobs will find opportunities limited.

Grayling divisional director Justin McKeown said: ‘Lots of agencies have faced harsh realities over the last 18 months and have made lots of redundancies. We don’t have a recruitment freeze any more, but I’m very aware it’s likely to be tough for the next few years.’

However, McKeown added that ‘if someone is good then it’s always worth speaking to them’.

He also suggested that many comms staff could end up being re-appointed by whatever bodies are set up to replace the axed quangos.

Fishburn Hedges managing director Fiona Thorne added that she was already seeing an influx of CVs from quangos. 'It's going to be challenging for people who have been exclusively in the public sector to date,' she said.

'I think they will struggle if they can't find a link to something else. For instance, if someone worked in the public sector and has a link to financial services then that is a better offer. They need to work quite hard to work out what other markets they can link with.'

Portland PR director Steve Morris echoed these views, adding that former quango staff would 'find it hard to match the generous packages they have enjoyed in the public sector'.

The axed quangos will include the Audit Commission, which employs 48 comms staff, and the UK Film Council, which employs four comms people.

The future of some bodies is still under consideration but 380 will be kept.

Minister Francis Maude could not confirm how many jobs would be lost. Labour MP Liam Byrne has warned that the cull could end up costing more than it saved.

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