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Thursday, 29 April 2010 18:56

Feds launch purple prose for 'puter people

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The Federal government has unveiled its whole-of-government strategic ICT workforce plan and ICT career structure in order to develop an ICT workforce 'that can meet the Federal Government's future ICT needs,' according to Lindsay Tanner, minister for finance and deregulation.

The plan, launched by the minister today, is long on purple prose and HR-speak, but short on hard detail. It is nevertheless the Government's response to the Gershon recommendations calling for an improvement in the way the Government recruited, developed and kept ICT personnel.

Recruiters active in the ACT market said that the report was largely a continuation of what the Government had been doing in the past and there was little that was new.

Where there is some additional insight is in the statistical bulletins which the Government will release regularly to support the initiative, and which analyse what motivates ICT staff working in the public service. In the 2009 ICT Statistical bulletin, for example there is analysis regarding why ICT workers are attracted to their public service jobs.

Job security remains one of the key motivators, particularly among more junior ICT staff. The bulletin also points to a reasonably settled workforce, with 55 per cent of Australian Public Service ICT workers saying that they planned to stay put for the next three years.

Where ICT workers were looking for a change most planned to move within their own, or to a new, agency. Very few were considering a jump to the private sector.

ICT workers who do stay in the public service will be provided with a new online tool that they can access through their agency's website as part of the initiative announced today. Called Career Navigator the tool allows people to profile their role and skills, assess themselves and work out what they need to do to advance their career.


Commenting on the initiative Jeff Knowles, acting ceo of Peoplebank Australia, said that the initiative was a good step forward with some positives in terms of workforce planning. He was also encouraged to hear the Government talking about more cadetships.

He did question the suggestions that the Government would attempt to further reduce its reliance on contractors by implementing the plan, which he said was not playing out in the market. Earlier this week Peoplebank released a survey of recruitment and salary trends for the first quarter of the year.

It noted that in the ACT there had been a significant rise in the number of roles available - particularly for contract roles.

'The (ACT)  IT skills pool is becoming tight - with Peoplebank seeking contract workers from other states to supplement the local talent base for key contract roles. While there may be some additional contractors becoming available in July (as short-term contracts conclude), the ACT market is likely to be characterised by continuing skills shortage for 2010,' according to Peoplebank which noted particular demand for project managers, .NET developers, Java developers and architects.


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