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1 Strategic workforce analysis and reporting explained

Strategic workforce analysis is how you examine and interpret workforce data, within the context of relevant internal and external environmental factors, to identify workforce risks. Ideally, this will have been undertaken as a key component of mature strategic workforce planning. However, not all organisations have progressed workforce planning and those who have may identify emerging issues or issues not previously identified.

Strategic workforce analysis also provides evidence to confirm or negate existing assumptions about the workforce that are used to inform or justify organisational decision making.

Strategic workforce reporting is how you communicate the outcomes of workforce analysis to key stakeholders in the organisation in a targeted way, to provide evidence that is meaningful to them and informs their decision making. It is reporting in a way that can be readily understood by key stakeholders who may not be familiar with the language commonly associated with workforce data. It is reporting with a purpose, and not reporting for the sake of reporting.

Effective, targeted strategic workforce reporting enables the appropriate workforce strategies to be implemented, or existing strategies to be adjusted (or ceased) to ensure the required workforce is achieved and sustained and workforce risks mitigated. Organisations with mature workforce planning in place will ideally implement and adjust strategies as part of that process.

For strategic workforce reporting to be effective, it must be based on the outcomes of effective workforce analysis. For strategic workforce analysis to be effective, it must be supported by reporting that effectively communicates the outcomes to stakeholders.


Term Meaning (within the context of the APS Strategic Workforce Analysis and Reporting Guide)
Aspirational target Target set within the context of an organisation (in isolation from other organisations) that indicates the desired state of the workforce that will enable it to effectively deliver its business outcomes and outputs.
Benchmarking Comparison of workforce metrics with similar organisations, to gauge the organisation’s performance within a broader context.
Critical job role Job roles which are key (or may become key to the functions of the organisation), are hard to fill, impact on the organisation’s business outcomes if left vacant, require a long time to develop the required skills, have a large number of staff (critical mass), or require niche or specialised skills.
Forecasting Estimation of what the workforce will look like at future time points, based on consideration of past trends and, taking a more complex approach, the impact on the workforce of external factors such as labour market forces.
Job family See ‘Occupational grouping’.
Lag indicator Workforce metric that provides information about the past.
Lead indicator Workforce metric that informs future activities.
Occupational grouping A grouping of jobs that have similar skill and capability requirements.
Strategic workforce analysis Examination and interpretation of workforce data, within the context of relevant internal and external environmental factors, to identify workforce risks
Strategic workforce planning

Identification of high-level trends and developments that will affect the availability of the workforce required to deliver organisational outcomes, and actionable strategies to mitigate these risks.

Strategic workforce planning usually focuses on a three to five-year time horizon, with many organisations focusing on a four-year time horizon aligned to Portfolio Budget Statements.

Strategic workforce reporting Communication of the outcomes of workforce analysis to key stakeholders in a targeted way, to provide evidence to inform decision making towards mitigating workforce risks.
Trend analysis See ‘Forecasting’.
Workforce gap Where the workforce available differs from the workforce required.
Workforce metric A quantifiable measure of workforce activity or an aspect of its profile, and its possible implications for organisational performance.
Workforce risk

Any workforce issue that could pose risk to delivery of business outcomes and outputs.

Workforce risks arise where is a misalignment between the organisation’s existing workforce and the workforce required to deliver its objectives.

Workforce trend The pattern established by comparing the measurements of a workforce metric over time.
Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018