The Government's advertising is thought to account for 12 per cent of the UK recruitment market, worth £1.2 billion. The Department of Trade and Industry is holding talks with newspaper and magazine publishers in a bid to soften the blow.
Among those most affected by the switch could be The Guardian, which has a steady income from public sector job ads. And last year, Emap blamed a 14 per cent drop in recruitment revenues on its public sector titles.
The plan emerged on Tuesday when ministers gave evidence to the Commons Select Committee on Culture, which is conducting an inquiry into Britain's creative industries.
The DTI is issuing best practice guidance on "e-recruitment projects" and talking to interested parties.