Public service job cuts: Recruitment company seeing surge in applications

A recruitment agency has seen a surge in applications from public servants as the sector faces significant job cuts.

Ministries have begun getting rid of hundreds of jobs as they scramble to find the savings demanded by the new coalition government.

This week, the Ministry for Primary Industries announced it was looking to cut 231 staff, while the Ministry of Health was consulting on cutting 180 roles.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment called on its staff again to accept voluntary redundancy.

It had already received 111 applications, and those staff would be leaving on 31 March.

Bridget Clarke, a senior director at Robert Walters, said the public service cuts were set to have a big impact in the capital.

“We’ve definitely seen an uplift in candidate applications and there’s also been a rise in the quality of candidates applying for roles,” she said.

“We’ve seen applications from candidates with exceptional skills and talent … so if you’re a hiring manager, now’s a great time to be looking to hire.”

Clarke said many in the public sector would have skills that were transferrable to other areas.

It remained to be seen how many would be willing to transfer out of Wellington, to big job markets like Auckland and Australia, she said.

“Remote working will be interesting to watch. Post-Covid, we’ve obviously seen an uplift in remote working, so that will be something that people can consider.”

Robert Walters’ eight Australian offices had already seen an uplift in enquiries from New Zealand workers, she said.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon earlier said he sympathised with the workers affected, but the cost-cutting was necessary to get debt under control.

Labour allowed the public sector to blow out, increasing the head count by 16,000 under its watch, he said.

However, Labour leader Chris Hipkins said the cuts were proof of the government’s misplaced priorities.

“The government don’t have to do this. They are choosing to fund things like $900 million a year in tax cuts for landlords instead of funding public services.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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