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Workforce issues

At 30 June 2020, the Library’s workforce comprised 146 staff:

  • Office of the Parliamentary Librarian—13 employees (12.2 FTE)
  • Library Collections and Databases Branch—50 employees (48.4 FTE)
  • Research Branch—83 employees (70.0 FTE)

During 2019–20, the Library workforce:

  • decreased from 155 to 146 employees, and in FTE from 138.6 (at 30 June 2019) to 130.6 (at 30 June 2020), 32 (22 per cent) of whom were non-ongoing
  • had a median age of 47.5 years (up slightly from 46 years in 2019).

Age profile

At 30 June 2020, 32 per cent of the Library’s ongoing employees were aged 55 years and over; a further 25 per cent will move into that age cohort within the next 10 years. The age profile of the Library’s ongoing employees remains considerably older than that of the Australian Public Service (APS): the proportion of ongoing employees aged 60 years and over (14 per cent) is almost twice that of the APS (7.5 per cent).1

The Library’s relatively older age profile has been evident for some years, but is less pronounced than it was just over a decade ago; the proportion of ongoing employees aged 45 years and over fell from 71 per cent in 20092 to 58 per cent in 2020.

Classification

Given the nature of much of the work undertaken in the Library, the classification profile remains concentrated at PEL 1, with 44 per cent of ongoing employees being at the level—the majority of whom are in Research Branch. In contrast, only 20 per cent of ongoing APS employees are at the equivalent EL 1.3

The proportion of employees at middle management (PEL 2) is the same as the APS average—nine per cent of ongoing employees.4

Another measure of classification profile is span of control: at June 2020, the Library had 10.2 ongoing employees at lower classifications for each PEL 2, similar to 10.4 for the APS.5

Employment status

As noted earlier, the Library’s non-ongoing workforce at June 2020 accounted for 22 per cent of all employees, unchanged from the previous year.

Non-ongoing employees are generally engaged to replace staff on long leave, to work on specific projects, to meet demands in peak periods, and while recruitment processes are underway. Using fixed-term positions (one or two years) also allows flexibility to redirect resources according to business needs as new areas of interest to the Parliament emerge or as the level of the Library’s funding varies year to year.

The proportion of non-ongoing employees in the Library is substantially higher than in the APS (10 per cent),6 reflecting in part the sessional nature of many of our work patterns. The Library continued to maintain its temporary employment register to help support this demand.

Recruitment

During 2019–20, there were 26 new external employees recruited—four were ongoing and the remainder were engaged on a fixed-term or sessional basis.

  • Research Branch recruited 11 new employees (three ongoing and eight non-ongoing)
  • Library Collections and Databases Branch recruited 10 new employees (all non-ongoing)
  • The Office of the Parliamentary Librarian recruited one new employee (ongoing).

Separations

Twenty-nine staff left the Library during 2019–20: 14 were ongoing employees and the remainder were non-ongoing on fixed-term or sessional contracts.

For all staff, the separation rate was 19 per cent, a slight decrease from 21 per cent the previous year, and slightly more than the 17 per cent recorded in the year ending 30 June 2018. For ongoing staff, the separation rate of 12 per cent was somewhat higher than that for the APS (nine per cent during the 2019 calendar year).7

Table 21: Separation by organisation unit

Separation method

Branch

Ongoing

Non-ongoing

Total

Age retirement

Research

2

1

3

Library Collections and Databases

2

2

End of contract or end of temporary transfer from APS

Research

5

5

Library Collections and Databases

5

5

Promotion or transfer to APS or Parliamentary Service

Research

2

1

3

Office of the Parliamentary Librarian

1

1

Resignation

Research

6

2

8

Library Collections and Databases

1

1

Voluntary retrenchment

Library Collections and Databases

1

1

Footnotes

  1. Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), APS Statistical Bulletin December 2019, Table 23.
  2. Department of Parliamentary Services Annual Report and Financial Statements 2008–09, p. 40.
  3. APSC, op cit., Table 23.
  4. APSC, op cit., Table 23.
  5. APSC, op cit., Table 23.
  6. Ibid, Table 1.
  7. Ibid, Tables 1 and 63.