APS recruitment drive turns into scramble to fill vacancies

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A massive recruitment drive is underway in the Australian civil service, with more vacancies in Canberra than there are applicants, and agencies are struggling to fill their posts with qualified people.

Recruitment firms scramble to fill the void, often resulting in the recommendation of unsuitable candidates to department heads – and a high percentage of those candidates get the job.

As recruiters are not always able to fill vacant positions, consulting firms are increasingly in demand.

In addition, large consulting firms have close to $ 1 billion in government contracts between them for management consulting and to fill field positions across the industry.

The situation also results in relatively junior staff being catapulted into senior roles for which they are not prepared.

“Consultants are sucking up anyone right now and they are literally hiring anyone to fulfill a contract with the government,” a well-placed source said. Mandarin.

“The customer is not well served at all. The APS suffers. And it’s not just contracts. Permanent and permanent positions are filled by remarkably unqualified candidates.

“The advice some consultants give to the client is little more than cut and paste dots from the Internet – or worse, from a 7th grade album.”

Part of the problem, however, is created by the APS agencies themselves demanding that vacancies be filled quickly, even if roles have been budgeted for a long time.

“We have a situation where the APS and the recruiters they use are actually competing with consulting firms to fill the same vacancies,” the source said.

“But it is APS that is behind this behavior, with high demands and short lead times. ”

While there are a large number of vacant posts in most ministries, the most important needs – in staff and other advisory assignments – seem to be in finance; Defense; DFAT; Services Australia; Veterans Affairs; Agriculture, water and environment; ATO, and Health.

In an offer to streamline the process, some design offices work together with other companies on parts of some projects, but the environment is such that no one trusts anyone else.

“Behind the warm handshakes, smiles and coffees is war,” the source said.

“It is rare for consultants to cooperate for the good of the client. If they do, everyone should be careful.

“There is a lot of poaching. If information is shared in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill, it often happens that one party to that information uses it against the other just so they can get the next job.

With recruiting firms, commissions are involved.

“Companies are just recruiting candidates so that they can very quickly rehouse them for another vacant position, which means another commission,” said another source.

“Tell me how this is in the best interests of any client. It is not in the best interests of APS at all.

An APS human resources official said Mandarin the situation was desperate and the agency’s hands were largely tied.

There was a high level of dissatisfaction with the way the consultants served the sector.

“The advice is poor and we are not getting the right people presented to us for the levels we need to fill,” said the head of human resources.

“But we have to fill those roles and sometimes it’s this need and urgency that trumps everything else. We know we are filling vacancies less than optimally, but we need to fill them. “

Another public service manager said interest in job postings at his agency had declined significantly this year.

“It’s probably correlated with the unemployment rate, but we have a hard time filling vacancies,” they said.


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