The changing role of public sector Human Resources

HR experts with a public sector background can expect good job prospects this year, but one significant change that will impact their ability to secure a role is in the way they add value.

A move to a lean corporate service function has changed the role of human resources across the Australian Public Service, especially in Canberra. This doesn’t necessarily mean fewer positions but rather a change in focus to the way HR experts add value.

Today, HR professionals need to be able to educate managers in ways to better engage with and utilise the skills of their teams. Whether this involves teaching managers how to keep their staff engaged or the best methods to recruit top talent, they need the necessary skills that enable them to effectively instruct and advise others.

In other trends, we’re seeing increasing vacancy activity resulting from a lack of support in HR, changes in Government, an increase in organisational change and a general increase in HR requirements.

However with Government departments strictly controlling their permanent headcount, the number of temporary assignments is increasing.

In the not-for-profit sector, employers are looking for more commercially minded candidates.

In terms of specific skills in demand, within the Australian Public Sector in Canberra, Employee Relations Specialists are in high demand to update HR policies and procedures following new Enterprise Agreements.

Code of Conduct Investigators are in demand too given increased media coverage on the way the Australian Public Sector handles code of conduct issues.

Elsewhere around the country we’re seeing demand for Organisational Design and Position Description Writers and Evaluators in response to changes to organisational structures and a focus on efficiencies.

Industrial Relations Managers are needed too. As organisations go through change, the number of industrial relations cases has increased. There are also secondments to cover and new roles to fill.

Trainers are sought for newly created teams to work on change and improvement projects.

E-learning and Instructional Designers are also required to work on these projects.

HR Officers are in demand too. These candidates are sought to support the HR function due to organisational change and increasing recruitment needs.

HR and Payroll Officers are needed in response to the number of organisations merging these two functions.

Finally, HR Program and Workforce Managers are sought by not-for-profit organisations in remote locations, including health, community and aged care. As it is a challenge to attract candidates for specific roles in remote areas, employers are instead recruiting managers who can purely manage the appropriate strategies.

For more on the skills in demand – across a wide range of sectors and industries – please visit the Hays Quarterly Report

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