than 50% of new public servants envision remaining in the
public sector for more than 10 years, how will we be able to
maintain complements of skilled, experienced, and innovative
staff and leaders? It is important to determine what barriers are
causing people to leave the public service.
One possible problem is that 54% of new public servants are
unsatisfied with the onboarding experience and that recruitment processes are a huge sticking point for many new public
servants. One of the most common complaints is the length
of time the recruitment process takes. According to the report,
government recruitment in Canada takes twice as long as other
sectors. This means that for someone considering a career
move, it will be faster and easier to move out of the public
sector. Respondents also referenced lack of clarity in job
postings, and the inclusion of requirements and interview
questions that are too generic and unrelated to the position
being applied for.
Improving the way we advertise and recruit would be beneficial to applicants at all career stages because more detailed
postings will help provide better insight into whether a position
will be a good fit. This also benefits hiring managers because
if postings are clear about the expectations, qualified
applicants will have a better sense of what to include in their
applications, and unqualified applicants are more likely
to refrain from applying.
As an illustration of how long recruitment processes can take,
I offer a personal experience. After applying for a federal
position I received an invitation to complete an evaluation
that would determine if I would move onto the second stage of
recruitment an invitation I declined. Why? Because before
I received this call I had information interviews, applied,
interviewed, was offered and accepted a permanent job at the
provincial level a process that took almost three months.
To put it another way, I went through an entire recruitment
process in the time it took to receive first contact from a
job posting I had applied to three months prior. Although I
managed to find a public service job, this story could easily
have ended with me moving to the NPF or private sector. Slow
application times are not how we should be losing talent.
servants. Perhaps the most striking figures identified in the
report are the discrepancies between how new public servants
and public service executives view change management and
opportunities to work across portfolios. With regards to change
management, 29% of new public servants believe it is being
managed effectively compared to 66% of executives. For
opportunities to work across portfolios, the numbers change to
28% and 78% respectively.
What is the most striking about these statistics is just how
disparate the views of new public servants and executives are.
The numbers suggest that new public servants and executives
are approaching these important issues from different perspectives. This is not to say that one group than the
other, but rather that public servants are not speaking the same
language when it comes to creating opportunities. This is not
a bad thing as public servants we increasingly recognize that
considering a diversity of opinions and approaches leads to
better policy. However we are quicker to think of this when
looking at external policy and service delivery. What appears
to be less common is communication and collaboration
between public servants at different career stages to bridge this
gap in perspectives and develop internal processes that are
beneficial to everyone.
To my eye and admittedly mine is an eye that is still new to
public service what the survey results indicate is that there
is opportunity for a broader conversation about changes to
way we do But if we want to continue to attract
and retain new talent and train the next generation of public
servants, we have to do more than discuss where we are falling
short. We have to find a way to connect the idealism and innovation of incoming public servants with existing and upcoming
leaders whose expertise and understanding of the system
can help make new ideas a reality. Only by identifying and
embracing opportunities for change will we be able to build
the next generation of public servants.
I think a big part of the problem is that new public servants
have expectations that are different from existing public
Spencer Sandor is the Secretary of the IPAC Southwest Ontario Regional Group Executive Committee and
a member of the IPAC National New Professionals
Network. He works as a Municipal Advisor with the
Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
In association with
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