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Performance analysis—strategic priority 1: Shaping the APS workforce

Support the Government’s Reform Agenda

The Commission continues to develop the whole–of–APS workforce strategy, with engagement across the APS. The strategy will be informed by the Independent Review of the APS and the Government’s response, to ensure the final strategy fully supports the Government’s reform agenda.

During the year information and data was provided to the Independent Review of the APS.

In addition, the Commission partnered with the Department of Finance’s Government Business Analytical Unit to better understand the key drivers of productivity in the APS.

Foster an APS workforce that reflects the diversity of the Australian population

Progress towards this objective has been made through a range of activities. The Commission:

  • hosted the 2018 APS Diversity and Gender Equality Awards to acknowledge and celebrate leadership in inclusion initiatives and improving gender equality
  • provided the Secretariat function for the Indigenous Senior Executive Service (SES) Network, supporting cross–service initiatives to improve representation of Indigenous employees in more senior roles in the APS
  • delivered programs and activities under an MoU with agencies to improve capability and strengthen Indigenous employment outcomes including:
    • delivery of the Indigenous Graduate Pathway centralised recruitment for university graduates
    • piloting the excELerate career development program for high potential APS level 5/6 Indigenous employees, and
    • coordinating opportunities for agencies to participate in Torres Strait Islander cross–cultural learning through workshops and interagency collaboration.

The Commission developed and published the following evidence–based reports and guidance materials to support women progressing to leadership positions in the APS:

  • “Workplace flexibility: a best practice guide for Australian Public Service Agencies”
  • “‘Are we there yet?’: progress of the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy”, and
  • “‘Are we there yet?’ fact sheets for agencies”.

The Commission also published “Dismantling Barriers: Inclusive Recruitment Quick Reference Guide” to improve the employment opportunities for people with disability through better recruitment processes in APS agencies.

In addition, the Commission provided the Secretariat function for the APS Disability Champions Network, supporting the exchange of ideas and cross–agency engagement at the SES level to improve employment opportunities for people with disability.

The Commission progressed the GradAccess Pilot Program and the NextStep Traineeship Pilot Program, aimed to increase the numbers of employees with disability.

Employment data at 30 June 2019 indicates the following representation in the APS:

  • indigenous Australians, 3.5 per cent
  • people with disability, 3.7 per cent
  • non–English speaking background (NESB) immigrants, 5.4 per cent
  • immigrant children with NESB parents, 9.1 per cent, and
  • women, 59.7 per cent.

Support and guide workforce planning capability and practices

The Commission coordinated a variety of activities aimed at supporting and guiding workforce planning capability. These activities brought together workforce planning practitioners from across the APS and state and territory governments. Activities included three large–scale Workforce Planning Community of Practice events, along with smaller events focused on the APS Job Family Model, the Commission’s Workforce Planning Guide and a targeted approach to building workforce planning capability in smaller APS agencies. Post–event surveys indicated a 75 per cent or higher satisfaction rate.

The Commission also coordinated a virtual community of nearly 300 workforce planning professionals from across Australia, connected by the cross–organisation digital collaboration platform ‘GovTeams’. A steady increase of attendees at events and a growing GovTeams community indicates the value of these forums to workforce planning professionals.

The Commission continued to consult with APS agencies to ensure the collection and reporting of workforce data met operational needs. Evaluation focus groups on the 2018 APS employee census informed the development and delivery of the 2019 census.

Consultation and feedback received indicates that workforce data provided in various formats informs strategic workforce management across the APS. The Commission received positive stakeholder feedback about the following HR metrics that were provided to assist agencies in strategic workforce management:

  • a biannual APS data release summarising a range of workforce data
  • static and trend workforce data through the APS Employment Database internet interface (known as APSEDii), which was accessed approximately 245 times per month
  • employment opinion data measuring employee feedback on leadership, engagement, innovation, collaboration and other workforce management practices
  • the 2017–18 State of the Service Report, describing changing APS workforce trends and workforce capability, and
  • the 2018 Remuneration Report, analysing agencies’ annual remuneration data and benchmarking this to APS–wide data.

These were all provided within agreed timeframes.

Improve the quality of talent management practices across the APS

Talent management practices across the APS have continued to improve. The Commission is currently supporting assessment processes of senior executives across the APS, including 37 SES Band 3 officers, 36 SES Band 2 officers, and 67 SES Band 1 officers.

The Commission has also commenced a pilot program on behalf of the APS, which builds an approach, guidance and tools for agencies to identify and develop talented Executive Level 2 officers.

The Secretaries Talent Council recently decided to extend the detailed assessment process, previously used to provide insights into identified SES Band 3 officers, across the Band 3 cohort.

Work is underway to evaluate the impact of the current talent initiatives.

The responsibilities of APS and SES officers can be found in the APS Work Level Standards, published on the Commission’s website, www.apsc.gov.au.