Friday, May 19, 2023

Education's Role in Providing a Flexible Workforce for the Australian Public Service

Yesterday I talked to Lish Fejer on ABC Radio Canberra, about federal government plans to contract in. They were interested to hear about my own experience as someone trained by the public service, who then became a contractor. 

There is scope for the Australian Public Service (APS) to increase the recruitment of entry level professionals, through cadet and intern programs. Universities and the VET sector can assist with this by providing training while students are working. This can be in project and people management skills, as well as technical aspects. The problem comes at the upper level, retaining staff with advanced skills. 

The APS has difficulty paying such staff appropriately, as traditionally salary is based on how many staff you supervise. The Australian Defence Force uses direct cash bonuses to retain personnel with specialist skills, such as pilots. Something similar will likely be needed for high level internal contractors and consultants. 

A difficult problem which will remain is how to efficiently allocate staff to tasks. Agencies can currently use the market to decide the allocation. Whichever government department is willing to pay the most for contractors gets them. However, with an internal system, there is likely to be less scope for market based decisions.

No comments:

Post a Comment