A gap between public sector workers and managers is forming in terms of having the skills and confidence needed to find a job in the private sector, a study has found.

Around 1,000 people employed in the public sector were questioned for the poll, which revealed that the specific skill set that managers develop means that they are much more confident with coping with a fast paced flexible working environment.

In contrast, two fifths of public sector workers believe that they will have to improve their skills base in order to be considered for a job in a private firm.

Recruitment company Badenoch & Clark conducted the research, and said it found that despite public spending cuts hitting local authorities, most public sector workers were not looking for alternative employment.

Most NHS and council workers said they would wait for any further developments before making career change decisions.

Badenoch & Clark managing director Nicola Linkleter said: “It is clear that there is a great deal of uncertainty in the public sector at the moment. Our research shows that on the whole people want to stay in the sector, yet have very real concerns over their prospects in the job market if their hand were forced.

“There appears to be a worker/manager divide in skills confidence within the public sector, as public sector managers have emerged with far more confidence.

“The process of cuts and the re-evaluation of workplace priorities, which the public sector has undergone over the last six months, have resulted in the development of a specific set of important management skills. Such skills leave managers adept at coping with a more dynamic, stretched and fast paced working environment.

“Workers must now see the cuts as a possibility for the development of crucial time and people management skills, coupled with an understanding of the vital importance of clear communication in times of crisis.”