Recruitment and retention

Turnover

Table 4 shows turnover rates for the Public Service from 2003 to 2008. Core unplanned turnover 10 has increased from 14% in 2007 to 15% 11 in 2008. The overall increase in core unplanned turnover was driven by increases in 25 of the 35 departments. The gross turnover rate (which includes people on fixed-term employment contracts) has not changed over the year to 30 June 2008, remaining at 20%.

Table 4. Turnover rates in the Public Service, 2003-2008 (year to 30 June)

 

2003

(%)

2004

(%)

2005

(%)

2006

(%)

2007

(%)

2008

(%)

Gross turnover rate

18

17

21

22

20

20

Core unplanned turnover rate

11

12

14

13

14

15

Male core unplanned turnover rate

9

10

12

12

12

13

Female core unplanned turnover rate

12

13

14

14

15

16

Turnover rates varied by department, gender, and occupation. Core unplanned turnover by department varied between 5.8% and 24.9%. Over the five years to 2008, female turnover rates have been two to three percentage points higher than male turnover rates.

Table 5 shows the five occupations with the highest turnover rates in the Public Service. These occupations are based on the most detailed level of the classification and occupations with less than 100 employees have been excluded from the analysis. The three occupations with the highest turnover rates are the same as 2007 and core unplanned turnover for Human Resource Managers has increased to 25% from 14% in 2007.

Table 5. Highest turnover (core unplanned) rates by occupation, 2007-2008 12

 

2007

2008

Human Resource Advisor

28%

29%

Call or Contact Centre Operator

27%

29%

Public Relations Professionals

29%

29%

Human Resource Manager

14%

25%

ICT Business Analyst

23%

25%

Tenure (length of service)

Previously, only service within an individual department was collected; it was not possible to identify the length of Public Service experience. To address this information gap, recognised previous service 13 was added to the survey.

The average length of service within a department is 8 years. A recognised previous service date was provided for 4012 employees (8.7% of current staff). The average additional previous service credited for these employees was 7 years and 50 days.

Skills supply and demand

At the same time as the SSC undertakes the HRC Survey it also undertakes a qualitative survey, the Skill Shortage Survey. This survey was revised this year and provides qualitative information on the supply and demand for skills across the Public Service. Responses were received from 32 out of 35 departments.

Recruitment difficulties were reported for many more roles across the Public Service than retention difficulties. A total of 83 roles were reported as being subject to a recruitment difficulty, but just 10 as subject to a retention difficulty. A further 37 roles were affected by a combination of the two.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is once again an area of concern, with 18 of the 32 departments reporting that they had experienced some difficulty in either recruiting or retaining ICT staff. Difficulties in recruiting or retaining policy analysts, advisors, and finance staff were also common. This could be due to a mismatch between the supply and demand of staff in these areas. The HRC survey shows that the ICT Professionals and Technicians group had the second highest increase in staff number, following the Advisors and Policy Analysts group.

Fourteen of the 32 departments reported that their recruitment or retention difficulties had resulted in higher workloads or increased pressure on staff. Ten departments mentioned that roles were left vacant for longer than anticipated as a result of the difficulties.

High market demand was mentioned by 18 of the 32 departments as a likely cause of the difficulties. Other commonly reported factors include a shortage of specialised skills, and difficulty competing with market salaries or meeting the financial expectations of applicants.

The most frequently mentioned response to overcome recruitment difficulties was to change the recruitment strategy. This is a broad category, but includes advertising through different channels and using informal networks to recruit staff.

Skill gaps in current staff in management, leadership and Māori responsiveness were widespread across the Public Service, with 10 or more departments mentioning skill gaps in each of these areas. Policy departments were far more likely than service departments to report skill gaps in current staff.

Redundancy payments

In the year to June 2008, 165 employees received redundancy payments, a decrease of four from the previous year (refer to Table 6). These payments had an average value of $47,482, up from $45,645 in 2007. Redundancy payments were made by 22 departments with six departments accounting for more than 60% of redundancies.

Table 6. Redundancy payments, 2003 - 2008

 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Number of staff receiving redundancy payments

188

168

218

163

169

165

Average payment ($)

42,804

37,133

40,621

37,268

45,645

47,482

10 Core unplanned turnover is primarily due to resignations of open-term employees, but also includes retirements, dismissals, and death. Planned turnover includes cessations of staff on fixed-term employment agreements and cessations due to restructuring.

11 The turnover rate for the Public Service is derived from the exits from departments. As a result it includes movements between departments and so the actual level of 'loss' to the Public Service through unplanned exits is below the 15% reported here.

12 Occupations that are present in less than three departments and occupations with less than 100 staff have been excluded.

13 Previous service is recognised in different ways within the Public Service. Some departments only recognise service within the core Public Service; others recognise service from a wider number of organisations.

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