Shaping the future APS workforce
Governments across the world are needing to attract and recruit staff with an increasingly diverse range of skills to keep pace with today’s policy and service delivery challenges.19 The first APS workforce strategy, Delivering for Tomorrow: the APS Workforce Strategy 2025,20 released in March 2021, represents a shift in managing the workforce to meet the needs of the APS as one organisation. The whole-of-service workforce strategy sets out how the APS will align its efforts and investment to build and shape the way the APS attracts, develops and utilises its people, flexibly mobilising them when and where needed.
The Secretaries Board is using the strategy to guide efforts across the APS to ensure the workforce can deliver for Australia and Australians, now and into the future. The COO Committee is working across the service to prioritise and drive the actions identified in the strategy.
The APSC’s Centre of Excellence for APS Workforce Planning Capability supports agencies to develop robust workforce planning approaches. Over 70% of APS agencies have established or are developing agency-level workforce plans/strategies. Most agency-level workforce plans have now aligned with the APS Workforce Strategy to drive workforce transformation and business outcomes.21 For example, Services Australia has reviewed its workforce initiatives against the APS Workforce Strategy and identified opportunities to continue to strengthen its strategic workforce management.
Undertaking this mapping exercise was very useful for Services Australia to not only demonstrate to our executive the clear alignment of our current initiatives with the overall strategic APS workforce direction, but to also support our upcoming workforce planning exercises in the agency. I encourage all agencies to undertake this mapping exercise to provide their senior leaders with the confidence that agency-level workforce planning is aligned with the overall APS direction, in a true one-APS approach.
Sandi Murray, Director Workforce Planning, Services Australia
The APSC Centre of Excellence delivers initiatives across 4 work streams: capability; leadership; tools and technology; and analytics and insights. Since the program was launched in June 2020, there has been interest from state, territory and international jurisdictions on developing similar programs to uplift workforce planning capability. The OECD has recognised the APS Centre of Excellence for Workforce Planning as a best practice case study and featured the program of work in its Public Employment and Management online portal.22
APS workforce planning starting up a new era
In 2019, the Government’s APS reform agenda, Delivering for Australians, highlighted the need for an integrated approach to APS workforce management.23 To support this shift and implement the first APS workforce strategy, the APSC established the Centre of Excellence for APS Workforce Planning Capability in mid-2020.
The centre builds workforce planning capability through policy advice and frameworks, tools and resources, capability development offerings for workforce planners and strategists, and development of leadership capability to drive workforce planning and accountability.
APS workforce planners and strategists also benefit from peer support, coaching and mentoring from expert workforce planners in the Centre of Excellence and across the Workforce Planning Community of Practice. This Community of Practice comprises more than 700 members from over 65 agencies, representing approximately 70% of APS agencies.
The centre has recently partnered with the APS Academy to design and pilot a foundational Workforce Planning Start Up program with 15 participants across 15 agencies. This program builds the foundational skills that workforce planners need to support their leadership team to strategically manage their workforce.
For more information on the Workforce Planning Start Up program visit www.apsacademy.gov.au or the Workforce Planning Community of Practice for the latest news on this offering.
Centre of Excellence for Workforce Planning—areas of focus
- Workforce planning capability for practitioners and leaders/managers, including building capability pipelines for workforce planning roles
- Leadership and agency accountability for workforce planning outcomes
- Workforce planning tools and technology solutions (e.g. GovERP) to support workforce planning in agencies and the APS at the highest level
- Developing people analytics capability in agencies, producing labour market insights to support workforce planning, and developing strategic workforce foresight to inform the future of work in the APS
19 OECD. (2021). Government at a Glance 2021. 9 July.
20 APSC. (2021). Delivering for Tomorrow: the APS Workforce Strategy 2025. 18 March.
21 2021 APS Agency Survey.
22 OECD. (2019). OECD Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and Capability. 17 January.
23 Commonwealth of Australia. (2019). Delivering for Australians. A world-class Australian Public Service: The Government’s APS reform agenda. 13 December.