The public sector workforce is set to fall to an historic low, with around one in seven jobs expected to be axed as a result of the Government's spending cuts, according to a new report.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said the cutbacks will mean that the public sector will account for one in six jobs in the economy, down from a peak of one in five before the last election.
John Philpott, the CIPD's chief economic adviser said projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) showed that the number of people employed in central and local government will have fallen by around 700,000 during the course of the current Parliament (2010-2015).
The number will fall by 880,000 by the time the Chancellor hopes to have closed the structural fiscal deficit in 2017, said Mr Philpott, adding: "This will easily wipe out the net rise in public sector employment under the Labour government between 1999 and 2009 and take the public sector workforce to a record low.
"Overall more than one in seven public sector jobs will be lost as a result of the squeeze on public spending.
"While the OBR expects growth in private sector jobs to more than make up for the public sector jobs cull, public sector downsizing on such a scale nonetheless represents a tectonic shift in the underlying structure of the labour market with broader implications for what people can expect to experience in terms of pay, conditions of work, management practice and workplace cultures."
The report follows an analysis of official figures by the GMB union which showed a 381,000 reduction in the number of public sector workers since the general election.
The GMB said private firms were not able to make up for the losses in public organisations, warning that the cuts were damaging the UK's chances of economic recovery.
The data showed that public sector employment fell from more than 6.3 million before the general election to less than six million at the end of last year.
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: "These figures go a long way to explain why unemployment has increased in the UK since the general election.
"The Government has been putting people out of work and the private sector cannot make up for the jobs carnage."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Getting rid of one in seven public sector jobs will have a devastating impact on the public services we all rely on and deal a huge blow to local economies across the UK.
"The Government says that new private sector jobs will replace them but with joblessness and under-employment over six million and rising, it's hard to see where they will come from.
"A public sector jobs cull on this scale will depress local economies and cause even further job losses in the private sector.
"The Government must stop this cruel and self-defeating attack on public sector workers before it's too late."