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Public servants' job gloom increases

13:00 AEST Mon Jul 2 2012
AAP
The public sector's confidence in job security has fallen to its lowest level since an index started six years ago
The public sector's confidence in job security has fallen to its lowest level since an index started six years ago (Thinkstock)

Government workers are the gloomiest about their own job security in at least six years, according to the Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index.

The index fell to 96.2 in the June quarter, from 98.9 three months earlier, the survey shows. Readings below 100 mean pessimists outnumber optimists.

It was the fourth straight quarterly decline.

The Public Sector Employment Confidence Index sank 3.8 points to 89.7, the lowest since the public sector measure was started in March 2006.

By contrast, private sector employees remain optimistic, even with a 1.1 point drop to 100.5, still the lowest reading since June 2009.

A net 69 per cent of public servants considered jobs were hard to get in the latest quarter and a net 24 per cent thought it would get even harder to find a job in the year ahead.

Gloom in the state sector comes as the government keeps a lid on new spending, merges departments and curbs new hiring in an effort to return to budget surplus by 2015.

"Public sector employees are caught in an ongoing process of public sector restructuring and job losses," said Richard Miller, director of strategy planning consultancy at McDermott Miller.

"Job security is shaken within their sector while opportunities outside are few and far between."

The survey was conducted from June 1 to 10 with a sample size of 1,570 and a margin of error of 2.5 per cent.

Overall, a net 61 per cent of households say jobs are hard to get currently, while a net 10 per cent said they'll be even harder to get in the year ahead.

Just 2 per cent of those polled say their job will become more secure in the next 12 months.