IT Professionals Leave the Public Sector

September 06, 2010 5:40 PM

Only 4% of new computer related jobs are being created by the public sector, says a report out by ReThink Recruitment today.  Michael Bennett, Director at ReThink, said that “The cancellation of projects, coupled with worries over further cuts to come, has meant public sector IT recruitment has gone through a period of shock.”

Mr. Bennett goes on to say that, "The public sector is now at risk of a brain drain. We are already seeing evidence of this within the contractor market, with the private sector poaching some of the very best IT staff from the public sector."  At first read, you might agree with the ‘terrible’ nature of these findings from ReThink, but in fact this is all good news for the economy, the budget, and IT professionals.  Let’s take a look at why.

First, the cancellation of public sector IT projects means a savings of nearly £7 billion pounds.  That means that the government won’t spend £7 billion in the long run, though in the short run they may have to pay off contractors and companies to exit the contracts signed under the Labour government.

Second, the types of public sector IT projects cancelled mean more privacy and less government intervention because of the very fact that they are not going ahead.  The ID card programme, biometric passports, and the child protection database have all been axed.  This is an incredibly positive unintended consequence that means that the government won’t snoop or even potentially loose our personal data.

Finally, the fact that these projects are cancelled means that the best and brightest in IT in the public sector will go into private industry.  Mr. Bennett commented, "The public sector is now at risk of a brain drain. We are already seeing evidence of this within the contractor market, with the private sector poaching some of the very best IT staff from the public sector."  He sounds like this is a bad thing – it isn’t.  Private industry will benefit from new blood and new innovation and the public sector will benefit from the innovation of the private sector.  All of this is a good thing for the UK economy.

Only 4% of new computer related jobs are being created by the public sector, says a report out by ReThink Recruitment today.  Michael Bennett, Director at ReThink, said that “The cancellation of projects, coupled with worries over further cuts to come, has meant public sector IT recruitment has gone through a period of shock.”

Mr. Bennett goes on to say that, "The public sector is now at risk of a brain drain. We are already seeing evidence of this within the contractor market, with the private sector poaching some of the very best IT staff from the public sector."  At first read, you might agree with the ‘terrible’ nature of these findings from ReThink, but in fact this is all good news for the economy, the budget, and IT professionals.  Let’s take a look at why.

First, the cancellation of public sector IT projects means a savings of nearly £7 billion pounds.  That means that the government won’t spend £7 billion in the long run, though in the short run they may have to pay off contractors and companies to exit the contracts signed under the Labour government.

Second, the types of public sector IT projects cancelled mean more privacy and less government intervention because of the very fact that they are not going ahead.  The ID card programme, biometric passports, and the child protection database have all been axed.  This is an incredibly positive unintended consequence that means that the government won’t snoop or even potentially loose our personal data.

Finally, the fact that these projects are cancelled means that the best and brightest in IT in the public sector will go into private industry.  Mr. Bennett commented, "The public sector is now at risk of a brain drain. We are already seeing evidence of this within the contractor market, with the private sector poaching some of the very best IT staff from the public sector."  He sounds like this is a bad thing – it isn’t.  Private industry will benefit from new blood and new innovation and the public sector will benefit from the innovation of the private sector.  All of this is a good thing for the UK economy.

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