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Growing numbers of highly paid workers are swapping stressful and threatened company jobs for careers in the more secure public sector, the Evening Standard writes.
Figures from recruitment company Hays show 63% of public sector employers have noticed an increase in applications from the private sector.
Up to half of public sector organisations said they had skill shortages they needed to address in order to deliver high quality services. And more than 80% of those said they would be best filled by private sector workers.
The migration from private to public sector, which has accelerated during the recession, reverses the trend during the boom years.
The survey, Capturing Commercial Talent, asked 308 public sector employers what they wanted from job applicants and what they could gain from employing private sector workers.
Andy Robling, director of public services at Hays, said "there's a perception that the public sector is a more secure place to work and sometimes the salary difference isn't that extreme.
"We're seeing an increase in people moving over to the public sector because of the extreme nature of the recession." He said a lot of people out of work were taking as much as a 60% cut in salary.
Mass redundancies, growing workloads and the cull of final salary pension schemes means that thousands of staff are disillusioned with the private sector. Many are also fed up working long hours for "David Brent"-style bosses.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of jobs in "education, health and public administration" increased by 168,000 in the year to the end of March while those in "finance and business services" fell by 187,000.
At the same time pay in the public sector is rising by an average of 3.7% a year compared with 2.1% in the private sector. Although public spending cutbacks are feared over the next five years, key jobs such as teachers are seen as harder to cut than those in private companies.