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As I wrote two weeks ago, the current New Zealand AoG recruitment panel tendering process is currently open. Many New Zealand recruiters are sweating about what pricing structure they will submit and how low they will need to go to be in with a chance of securing a coveted panel spot.

At the Recruiters’ Hub Conference there were two excellent presentations about Australian Federal Government recruitment.

Ralph Douglas recruitment project manager for the Australian Public Service Commission gave us an insightful overview of the massive employment and recruitment machine that is the Australian Government.

Here’s some of the data that Ralph shared included:

The Federal Government comprises

  • 111 agencies under the Financial Management and Accountability Act (1997)
  • 84 organisations under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act (1997)
  • Of these, 20 Departments and 77 agencies have staff employed under the Public Service Act (1999)

The Australian Public Service covers 97 Departments and agencies (from Defence to the Productivity Commission) employing 166,495 staff of which 92% are permanent.

Staff hardest to recruit and retain were in; Project Management, Information and Communication Technology, Generalist Management, and Finance/Accounting.

Ralph detailed some of the initiatives that were being undertaken by the APC in a bid to improve the effectiveness of government recruitment. These included:

  • Streamlining recruitment across the APS
  • Updated Recruitment Guidelines, Managers Toolkit, Metrics (scheduled for completion July 2012)
  •  Converting into a Government recruitment portal (scheduled for completion July 2014)
  • APS Recruitment Community of Practice

The focus of all initiatives is to deliver efficiency and effectiveness to government recruitment. This is done specifically by online recruitment assessment tools and services being available from a single point, tracking and reducing recruitment times/resources/costs, sourcing the best talent in the most cost-effective way, and improving the APS employment brand.

The simple advice that Ralph had for agency recruiters was:

  •  Know your product and your client
  •  Know who the key people are within the APS
  •  Ensure you understand the security clearance process necessary for each department and each classification of job
  •  Be clear about your differentiators
  •  Above all, supply the best people at the right time to the right client

Helen Flint of consultancy Intermedium produced a raft of fascinating stats about the ICT contractor market with the Federal Government for the 2010/11 financial year.

Here’s a selection of those I found most interesting:

– $854 million was spent on 6,500 contractors hired at an average contract cost of $132,823

– The biggest departmental users of ICT contractors (by % of total annual Federal Government spend), and their largest supplier.

  • Immigration      Paxus          15%
  • Defence               Paxus         10%
  • Medicare             SMS             7%
  • DEEWR              Compas       6%
  • Centrelink          Dialog          6%
  • ATO                     Talent Int    5%

– The Top 10 recruitment agencies by market share were:

  1. Paxus                    8%
  2. peoplebank          7%
  3. Finite                    6%
  4. Talent Int            6%
  5. Icon                       5%
  6. Greythorn            5%
  7. Compas                4%
  8. SMS                      4%
  9. Southern Cross  3%
  10. Clicks                    3%

Yes, government recruitment might be bound in red tape, time-consuming and frustrating but clearly, for those agencies getting it right, the rewards are worth it.

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