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Early in Careers - new data on graduate retention

With the Early in Careers work stream, SSC is investing in attracting, developing and retaining new talent for future leadership. Key highlights of this work stream include:

  • Events for summer interns and graduates, providing induction and showcasing career opportunities in the Public Service will be offered between December 2015 and April 2016.
  • The Emerging Leaders Fast Stream Programme will be launched by December 2015. This is a multi- year pilot with a focus on providing accelerated development for identified high potential emerging leaders in the Justice sector.
  • Online introduction to working in the Public Service for all new staff will be launched by December 2015. This will be available to all agencies across the Public Service to support them in effectively on-boarding new staff.

The development of the Early in Careers work programme will be assisted by a new source of information on career pathways. The development of the prototype HRC-IDI dataset (see insert at end of this chapter) sheds new light on graduate retention in the Public Service, as it allows graduates who join the Public Service to be more accurately identified, and it also allows their subsequent employment to be followed.

The prototype results presented in Figure 2.1 shows the potential of this dataset as a tool to understand how graduate retention is changing over time. Here the retention rates for different policy analyst graduates cohorts are summarised. Retention rates have changed for different cohorts. On average, around 65% of graduates who begun employment as a policy analyst in the Public Service between 2005 and 2009, were employed in the Public Service (in any role) after two years, 44% after four years and 30% after nine years. The 2010-11 cohort had lower retention rates, with 54% employed after two years and 28% after four years. So far, the retention rate for the 2012-13 cohort has bounced back with 73% employed after two years.

The 2010-11 cohort was the most affected by the impact of Global Financial Crisis (GFC) both in terms of fiscal restraint in the public services and on labour market conditions in general (the unemployment rate was relatively high at around 6.5% – 7.0% between 2009 to 2012). The first impact can be seen in the relative sizes of the cohorts. On average, the Public Service employed around 170 policy analyst graduates a year between 2005 and 2009. In comparison, around 100 graduates a year were employed between 2010 and 2011, and 140 between 2012 and 2013.

Figure 2.1 Graduate retention in the Public Service for policy analysts

Figure 2.1 Graduate retention in the Public Service for policy analysts

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