Public sector workforce on the move

By Angela Dorizas

Government employers face increasing workforce liquidity and returning skills shortages, according to the latest research by a leading recruitment firm.

Hudson conducted a survey of 605 government employers and 1690 employees as part of its annual 20:20 Series report.

The 2010 report, Positioning for Growth, found that one-third of survey respondents were either actively or passively seeking a new role.

Hudson ACT general manager John Henderson said this was not attributed to job dissatisfaction, but increasing competition within the government arena.

“The workforce is on the move,” Mr Henderson told Government News.

“People are being very choosey about the types of opportunities they have.

“The key trigger for people looking to move is true career progression within an organisation that has a really defined employee value proposition and an organisation that can show a path for that person coming on board.”

Mr Henderson said one of the ongoing challenges public sector employers faced was engagement with the candidate base.

“One of the findings that we can really see is that organisations that have a really clearly defined recruitment and hiring process are one step ahead of the game,” he said.

“The actual candidate experience is really, really important for government agencies to consider.”

Mr Henderson said public sector agencies should develop new strategies for interacting with their candidate base, such as keeping them informed of the application process via social media.

He recommended that recruiters provide candidates with a very clear picture of what it would mean to be an employee of that organisation.

The report also found that 79 per cent of public sector employers and 72 per cent of employees were feeling positive about the economic outlook. A fifth, or 19 per cent, of employers surveyed went further to say that their outlook was ‘upbeat and opportunistic’.

Mr Henderson said the results painted a very different picture of the marketplace since the last 20:20 Series survey, where many respondents were fearful of job losses.

Despite the buoyant optimism, employers experienced minimal growth over the past year.

“I would probably caveat it slightly by saying it is prudent optimism,” Mr Henderson said.

“Those people are saying ‘the worst is over’, but there are some residual effects.”

In the past year, two per cent of the public sector workforce was lost through voluntary and enforced redundancies, along with resignations.

According to employers surveyed, 10 per cent of workforce losses were high performers and 61 per cent of work teams were under-resourced.

Mr Henderson said during the downtown organisations not only ‘cut the fat’, but cut the muscle from their workforce.

He recommended that employers bolster the size and strength of staff through a proactive workforce plan.

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