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Nearly two-thirds of public sector workers 'pessimistic' after EU vote

The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has contributed to insecurity about employment that is particularly severe among public service workers, a new survey has found.

The survey, from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), shows that 61% of public sector employees said they felt pessimistic about the future as a result of the referendum result, compared to 44% of employees overall.

Last month’s historic referendum result has sent shockwaves through the political establishment, causing David Cameron to resign as prime minister and be replaced by Theresa May. Last week the LGA called for the government to guarantee that local government will still receive the EU funding it has been promised in order to prevent a financial shortfall.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: “This survey shows that Brexit has proven to be a seismic event in people’s working lives and reveals that there is significant level of pessimism in the immediate aftermath of the vote.

“This is especially prevalent amongst public and voluntary sector workers who are already showing signs of feeling less secure in their roles and expect the economic consequences of Brexit to adversely affect their jobs.”

The survey also showed that 58% of voluntary sector workers were more pessimistic about their jobs, whilst people in the 25-34 age group had the highest rate of pessimism, at 63%.

When asked how they felt about their own job, 22% of respondents said they now felt less secure, whereas just 3% said they felt more secure.

Again, this rate was even higher in the public sector, where 33% of employees said they felt less secure.

Willmott said managers should support their employees to help them avoid stress and anxiety.

With 21% of respondents saying they wanted to learn new skills as a result of the referendum, Willmott also said managers should not allow the uncertainty of the referendum result to lead to cuts in training and development.

The survey also showed a worryingly high level of reports of workplace harassment and bullying relating to the referendum result, with 13% of respondents saying they had experienced, witnessed or heard about political incidents and 7% referring to racist incidents.

Another recent CIPD survey of employers found 36% had heard concerns from non-UK employees about their right to remain and 8% saying they had received reports of workplace bullying and harassment.

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