Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 399. Updated Tuesday, 04 March 2014

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Challenges retaining Indigenous staff

The Australian Public Service Commission has published a report into APS Indigenous employment.

Divided into three themes - Leadership and culture; Human capital management; and Organisational effectiveness - the report found that many Indigenous employees were more likely to be satisfied with their supervisor's management of underperforming staff than non-Indigenous staff.

Of the 87,214 employees who took part in the employee Census, 2,130 identified themselves as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Rates of satisfaction with their supervisor's management of underperforming staff broke down into three categories: Indigenous employees based in the ACT scored 48 per cent satisfied, non-ACT Indigenous employees scored 55 per cent satisfied, and non-Indigenous employees 45 per cent satisfied.

New APSC report

The report said the APS faced additional challenges in attracting and retaining Indigenous employees.

In 2009, the Commonwealth committed to increase Indigenous employment across the Commonwealth public sector, including the APS, to at least 2.7 per cent by 2015.

The Census found that as of 30 June 2012, 2.3 per cent of APS employees were Indigenous.

In terms of human capital management, the Census found that the highest number of employees as a percentage of the APS staff was in the Northern Territory with 20.3 per cent (547 employees), followed by Queensland with 4.7 per cent (848), WA had 2.7 per cent (210), Tasmania had 2.5 per cent (101), NSW had 1.8 per cent (571), the ACT had 1.6 per cent (1,077), SA had 1.6 per cent (157), and Victoria had 0.8 per cent (219).

The report said that the proportion of Indigenous employees with more than 20 years' service in the APS has been steadily increasing over the past decade.

It also showed that more than half of Indigenous employees were satisfied with their access to learning and development.

Seventy per cent also thought that their Agency supported people to achieve a good work/life balance.

It found that Indigenous employees were more likely to report the opportunity to be of service to the community as a factor attracting them to the APS.

But about one in 10 Indigenous employees intended to leave their Agency as soon as possible.

It also said that Indigenous separation rates have been higher for non-ACT employees than those in the ACT for the past three years.

In terms of organisational effectiveness, the report found that less than half of Indigenous employees believed their Agency handled workplace change well.

The full report can be seen at this PS News link.

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