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Analysis of workforce requirements

Key questions

Council Strategic Planning

  • Does Council have agreed service levels?
  • Is Council's workforce able to meet current service delivery levels? Why/Why not?
  • What are the likely changes to Council’s workforce demographic in the short- and medium-term future?
  • Is workforce driven by the Community Strategic Plan and Council’s Delivery Program?
  • Are Council’s EEO objectives and strategies integrated with the Community Strategic Plan and Delivery Program?
  • What are the priorities as identified in the Community Strategic Plan that will affect Council’s service delivery in 4 or 8 years’ time? How is Council planning to address these priorities? What will be the impact on staff of Council’s plan to address these priorities?
  • What changes will be needed to the make up of Council’s existing workforce and structure to meet emerging priorities and objectives?
  • What plans are in place for an ageing workforce?
  • What will be the skills and other attributes that council staff will need in 10 years, based on the Community Strategic Plan objectives?
  • What changes will be needed to existing job roles and position descriptions to deliver Council’s Delivery Program?
  • What technological advances are emerging that will impact on council operations in the short and long term?


Industry and Professional Trends

  • What are the key roles and skills sets that are difficult for council to recruit and/or retain?
  • What are the current industry and professional trends within the local government sector that will impact on Council’s workforce structure and composition, now and in the future (eg development of specialist areas and technologies such as geographical information systems)?


Workforce demand and supply

  • Does Council have an effective data collection system allowing it to understand changes in its workforce profile in relation to supply and demand trends?
  • What level of employee turnover is expected? In what areas? When is the turnover expected to occur?
  • What job categories and positions will become critical areas of shortage in the future based on Council’s Delivery Program?
  • What job categories and positions are likely to be in surplus in the future? How will this be managed?
  • What retraining is proposed for the ageing workforce, particularly outdoor workers?
  • When are skill categories and positions likely to become critical areas and to what extent?
  • What will be the impact of the gap between the surplus and shortage of skills and positions?
  • What changes are needed to existing Human Resources strategies to manage this variance?
  • Has Council identified key position and skills areas where business succession planning is critical to achieving important strategic objectives? Are there strategies in place to address the supply and demand issues arising from this?
  • What role can apprenticeships and traineeships play in addressing workforce demand and supply issues?


Strategic issues

Investment in development
Developing and up-skilling existing employees can be more efficient and cost-effective than attempting to attract highly qualified candidates from outside who may be less likely to stay with the organisation or in the area. Individual staff development programs built into Council’s performance management system can be used to encourage staff retention as well as filling skills gaps.


Labour retention
There are a number of creative strategies available to address labour retention issues to benefit Council. Examining the wider issues affecting individual employees and their families can strengthen the ties between employees and the local community and enable Council to retain valuable skills and lower Human Resources costs. Other incentives can include providing career development opportunities, training and flexible family-friendly work practices.
Business succession planning
Business succession planning is the consideration of current and future organisational capability and staffing needs, and strategies to ensure that these can be met. This is a major issue for some councils with an ageing workforce, intensified by the need to attract and retain younger workers who are seen to be mobile by nature. Business succession planning focuses on identified critical roles, specifically the skills make that role critical, and seeks to ensure there is current and future capacity for these to be filled with appropriately skilled in-house staff. Business succession planning should include reviewing processes to determine if there are more effective ways to deliver services and train staff accordingly. It is also important to implement staff development strategies aimed at staff having the skills to deliver the Community Strategic Plan and Council's Delivery Program goals, to ensure a generous flow of candidates to fill senior roles as they become vacant.
Promoting local government as employer of choice
Poor community perceptions and lack of community understanding of the role of local government may need to be addressed through outreach programs targeted at students, residents, EEO groups and businesses. Promoting flexible and family-friendly work practices as well as other initiatives such as scholarship programs, graduate development programs, apprenticeships and traineeships can also be used to market local government as an employer of choice. Any program developed needs to demonstrate to potential employees the career paths available.
Non-traditional labour pools
Non-traditional labour pools can include women, indigenous people, carers, single parents and migrants. Initiatives relating to these groups can be found in workplace equity and diversity. Councils may consider developing recruitment strategies which encourage these groups to apply for positions with Council and so widening the applicant pool from which councils are able to recruit. This can be particularly valuable in areas where councils are having difficulty attracting potential employees. In relation to skilled migrants, regional skilled migration programs can be developed in conjunction with local Chambers of Commerce to target specific local skills shortages. 

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