Can You Protect Your Public Sector Career Against Cuts? | Inspire to Freedom

Can You Protect Your Public Sector Career Against Cuts?

October 30, 2015 Jonny Lilley



Photo by James Bowe

If you work in the public sector, we bet there’s one word you’ve heard over and over again during the last few years. It’s a small word with a very big impact… and you probably shudder a little when you hear it.

What is that word? Cuts.

Cuts have become a very present issue since the start of austerity measures in 2010. There have been wide-ranging social and political implications of these cuts… but there have also been personal ones. We’re talking, of course, about redundancies in the public sector.

Job losses within this sector have been huge. The number of civil servants has been reduced by around a fifth since 2010 and it’s estimated that a million more public sector workers will be made redundant by 2020.

Will your job survive the biggest reduction of public sector jobs in at least fifty years? If you’re not convinced the answer is yes, now could be a very good time to think about safeguarding your career.

The traditional advice on how to do this has all been around making yourself indispensable to your organisation. This could include things like:

  • Always putting in 110%
  • Taking advantage of all learning and training opportunities
  • Being generous with your knowledge
  • Ensuring your managers know about your successes and extra contributions
  • Volunteering to handle extra projects
  • Being kind, friendly and considerate with colleagues
  • Taking the time to network within your organisation

Unfortunately if your department needs to make cuts, this approach won’t necessarily protect your job. Instead, how about thinking outside of the box?

The real key here is to consider your long-term career rather than just your current role. Even if you wish to remain in the public sector, you may be able to explore alternative working models.

Here are a few ideas:

Become a consultant or freelancer

Depending on your expertise, you may discover that there’s an opportunity to continue your work on a self-employed basis. Your current organisation may not be able to afford you full time, but they could be interested in buying back your services when required. Find other organisations with the same needs and you’ll find you have all the satisfaction of doing your job but with more flexible hours, higher earning potential and more control.

Embark on a portfolio career

If there’s likely to be less demand for people who do your job in the future, why not consider a portfolio career? Bringing in a second income, perhaps through starting your own small business in your free time, could provide something to fall back on in the case of redundancy or might even allow you to go down to part time hours in your existing job.

Further your education

Is there an additional qualification you could gain in your field? A certificate, masters degree or professional accreditation could help you to stand out from your colleagues and make you a more valuable employee.

Facing the possibility of redundancy can be scary, especially if you’re later on in your career. Luckily, it’s never too late to try something new. Not sure where to start? Take a look at our tips for handling a successful career change.

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