Recruiting of staff, and management of staff careers, remains problematic. The recruiting process is difficult, often compounded with departmental and imposed recruiting limitations. Lack of coordinated career management for APS means that developmental opportunities are not always available and, more importantly, the lack of structured career development of staff does not support skill needs and requirements within departments.
Generalised recruiting position descriptions, through mandated use of DAPSSCO job family codes, are confusing for applicants and frustrating for recruiting entities – this is because not all positions are readily covered by the existing codes and position details differ department to department. I have had feedback from applicants as to the unsuitability of these descriptors.
There would be benefit through management of careers, similar to Defence APS under the Centre of Expertise (CoE) structures. This could be further enhanced through organised/managed job swaps – assignments between departments and within organisations, rather than through formal recruiting. What is needed for this to occur is staffing of CoE organisations and provision of funding for training, professionalisation and mobility between positions.
Government driven APS numbers limitation is understandable, but does not appear sensible. Whilst streamlining of structures, roles, processes and functions are good ideals, the increasing complexity of departmental work, especially because of compliance and governance aspects, means that workloads often are increasingly excessive, especially for more senior staff. In many departments, the answer to a lack of APS is to use hired/consultant staff – at significantly more cost than APS salaries and on-costs. Provision of more freedom in recruiting of staff, such as keeping to target salary costs rather than numbers, would allow flexibility and provision of enhanced staffing solutions to meet current and emergent needs.
I do enjoy and appreciate working in an environment where expectations, standards, behavior and codes of conduct are defined – APS is ahead of many employers and should be recognised. Similarly, accessibility of training is good and should be commended.