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MANAGEMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES
TABLE 6.1: TOTAL EMPLOYEES BY CLASSIFICATION, GENDER AND EMPLOYMENT TYPE, AT 30 JUNE 2016 AND 2017 (a)(b)
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).
TABLE 6.2: TOTAL EMPLOYEES BY LOCATION, EMPLOYMENT TYPE AND STATUS, AT 30 JUNE 2016 AND 2017 (a)(b)
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).
Table 6.3 indicates there were 21 women in the ABS Senior Executive Service (SES) at 30 June 2017, representing 51.2% of the total number of ongoing operative SES officers in the ABS. This number differs from Table 6.1 as it does not include outposted officers or non-ongoing officers.
TABLE 6.3: NUMBER OF ABS ONGOING OPERATIVE SENIOR EXECUTIVE STAFF (SES) BY LEVEL, GENDER AND YEAR (a)
ABS WORKFORCE STRATEGY 2015-19
The ABS Workforce Strategy 2015-19 provides a five-year strategic outlook for transforming our workforce through driving high performance. It is aligned with the ABS Corporate Plan, and focuses exclusively on the workforce (our people and culture) elements of transformation.
The four high level strategies outlined in the ABS Workforce Strategy 2015-19 are:
The ABS Workforce Strategy 2015-2019 is supported by annual ABS People and Culture Action Plans which set out the national initiatives and actions to implement these strategies.
FLEXIBLE WORKING ENVIRONMENTS
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) commenced rollout of its Flexible Working Environments strategy (FWE) in 2014. This strategy comprises three components:
The FWE strategy aims to change the way the ABS undertakes its business by providing flexible work environments to support staff to achieve work/life balance to ensure healthy and productive lifestyles while meeting business needs.
A 2016 review of FWE implementation was informed by ABS staff responses to the 2015 and 2016 Australian Public Service State of the Service Surveys, responses to a survey of ABS staff who had moved to FWE, as well as management information such as the rate of unscheduled absences and lease costs.
The review provided a positive view of FWE in the ABS with high staff satisfaction with flexible working environments, increasing participation rates in teleworking, positive perceptions of improved productivity and managers reporting confidence in managing remotely located staff.
Management data indicates a general reduction in unscheduled absences from 3.8 to 3.3 days per full-time equivalent staff in the 12 months October 2015-16. The planned reduction in ABS’s property portfolio by 50% to 30,000m2 is on track, realising savings in operational costs including electricity, cleaning, repairs and maintenance.
WORKPLACE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE ABS
The ABS is committed to providing an inclusive workplace culture and increasing the diversity of our workforce to better reflect the communities we serve. The ABS Workforce Strategy 2015-2019 reaffirms the importance of recognising the diverse skills, perspectives and experiences of our employees.
The following action plans support inclusion and diversity in the ABS:
The ABS People and Culture Action Plan 2017 & 2018 also contains actions to increase diversity, including:
Workplace Diversity Action Plan
The ABS Workplace Diversity Action Plan 2013-2017 demonstrates the organisation’s continued commitment to identifying and addressing barriers to inclusion. The Workplace Diversity Action Plan 2013-2017 sets out four key strategies:
Reconciliation Action Plan
The ABS leads and coordinates statistical activity involving and relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is committed to reconciliation.
The ABS Reconciliation Action Plan 2013-2016 included the following actions:
At 30 June 2017 staff who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples represented 0.9% of the total number of office-based staff in the ABS (excluding unpaid inoperatives).
TABLE 6.4: NUMBER OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES EMPLOYED IN THE ABS, 2016-17 (a)
Disability reporting mechanism
The National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. The ABS contributes to the whole-of-government two-yearly report which tracks progress against each of the six outcome areas of the Strategy and presents a picture of how people with disability are faring. This report can be found on the Department of Social Services website.
Since 2007-09 the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has reported at a whole-of-government level in relation to disability via the State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available on the Australian Public Service Commission website.
At 30 June 2017 staff who identified as having disability represented 2.5% of the total number of office-based staff in the ABS, excluding unpaid inoperatives (Table 6.5).
TABLE 6.5: NUMBER OF STAFF IDENTIFYING AS HAVING DISABILITY EMPLOYED IN THE ABS, 2016-17 (a)
Gender Diversity Action Plan
The ABS Gender Diversity Action Plan 2014-17 sets out the organisation’s commitment to achieving gender diversity at all levels in the ABS. Its aim is to identify and remove barriers to allow women the same access to, and participation in, leadership roles as their male colleagues.
The ABS Gender Diversity Action Plan 2014-17 sets out four key strategies:
TABLE 6.6: TOTAL EMPLOYEES BY LEVEL AND GENDER AS AT 30 JUNE 2017 (a)(b)
(b) Excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).
Multicultural access and equity
The ABS is committed to improving engagement and responding to the needs of Australians from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Strategies and policies are developed that are inclusive, and specific engagement strategies are developed as required. For example, the 2016 Census program employed Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Strategy Managers in each state to ensure appropriate stakeholder engagement with CALD communities and accurate counting of communities during the Census.
Key achievements in 2016-17
The Australian Statistician, David Kalisch, became a Male Champion for Change for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in October 2016. Reflecting more focus on gender diversity in recruitment as part of Male Champions for Change initiatives, 57% of ongoing appointments to the ABS’s senior executive service over the 2016-17 financial year were women. In addition, 57% of the members of the ABS’s Executive Board (chaired by the Australian Statistician, providing strategic oversight of the ABS) were female as at 30 June 2017.
The ABS is committed to supporting the employment and career development of people with disability. The Disability in the Workplace Manager’s Guide has been made available to all employees, and membership upgraded to the ‘gold’ level with the Australian Network on Disability (AND).
The ABS was shortlisted as a finalist for the 2016 Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) Award for Gender Equity in the Workplace, recognising excellence in gender equity initiatives and programs in the ABS.
The ABS used the APS RecruitAbility Scheme for all vacancies advertised during 2016-17. This scheme progresses an applicant with disability to a further stage in the recruitment process if they choose to opt into the scheme and meet the minimum requirements for the vacancy.
In 2017, 17% (8 people) of the organisation’s total graduate intake (46) identified that they had a disability and were recruited.
Ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees graduated in December 2016 after successful completion of the 15 month Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP) and advanced to the next APS level (APS4).
In 2017, the ABS used affirmative measures in the selection processes for three jobs targeted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In accordance with the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, in 2016-17 the ABS enabled employees to select ‘x’ (Indeterminate/Intersex/ Unspecified) as their gender in our Pay and Leave system, and for this to be recognised and reflected in their personnel records. This was likewise available for 2016 Census respondents who were able to report their gender as ‘other’, recognising that individuals may identify as a sex or gender other than male or female.
The ABS increased its diversity employee networks. In addition to existing networks such as the Youmpla (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders) Network and the Disability and Carers Network, the ABS added the following networks in 2016-17:
The number of Diversity Champions was increased to 11 SES members to support new and existing employee networks.
Diversity Champion representatives and Network observers were included as part of the membership of the new ABS People Committee to ensure strong focus on diversity in people governance oversight.
In 2016-17, the ABS became a member of the I CAN Network to support the establishment of the Leveraging Asperger’s and Autism Network and became a member of Pride in Diversity to support the newly formed Pride Network.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
In line with the ABS Workforce Strategy 2015-2019 and the ABS People and Culture Action Plan 2017 & 2018, the ABS is reshaping its workforce capability to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to transform, while continuing to deliver high quality official statistics.
Training statistics from 2006-07 to 2016-17 are presented in Table 6.7.
Key achievements in 2016-17
The ABS’s external learning management system, Statistical Learning, was launched. This platform supports external stakeholders by allowing access to ABS statistical learning resources. This initiative is designed to help build statistical capability across the Public Service. At 30 June 2017, 166 external staff were using this platform, with access to 32 e-learning modules.
The ABS Mentoring Program was launched, providing a platform to establish mentoring relationships and provide mentors and mentees with supporting resources. At 30 June 2017 there were 312 staff participating in this program.
The ABS welcomed 46 graduates to the Graduate Development Program. This program supports graduates to quickly build workforce capability and has successfully integrated a Senior Executive Service shadowing element to help graduates broaden their understanding of the ABS business.
A practical workshop Leading Transformation: Coaching for High Performance was developed and implemented, equipping over 350 Executive Level staff to support cultural transformation through developing a coaching culture.
The Statistical Business Transformation Program - Learning, Development and Knowledge Management Strategy was devised. This outlines the organisation’s approach to reskilling our workforce as part of the ABS transformation program.
The Analytical Skills Foundation Pathway was implemented. This is a fully blended program including videos, e-learning modules and on-the-job development guides. At 30 June 2017, 386 staff were participating in this program.
The Developing Self learning tool was launched to support staff at all levels to focus on continual self-improvement.
Seven tertiary level capability development opportunities in subjects that are critical to supporting ABS transformation aspirations became accessible. Eighty staff from eight office locations have participated.
ABS was awarded the LearnX 2016 Best New Technology Implementation for CapabilityPlus, the ABS’s internal Learning Management System. This system allowed a temporary scale-up of 30,000 users to cater for the learning needs of the Census field staff.
TABLE 6.7: ABS EMPLOYEE TRAINING DAYS (a)
(b) Comprises full-time and part-time operative staff headcount.
(c) Figures revised down since first published.
(d) Increase due to Census Management Unit operations.
(e) Minor correction to original published numbers.
(f) Decrease partly due to move to e-learning approaches.
(g) Significant decrease in face-to-face sessions with more emphasis on e-learning/blended learning approaches.
(h) Rise in average training days due to significant graduate intake, mandatory e-learning modules for new recruits and new telework arrangements, availability of new e-learning modules for self-directed learning, and focus on skills for transformation such as Agile Methodology and EL1 orientation.
(i) A reduction from previous year due to lower staffing levels, limited face-to-face delivery and use of e-learning.
The efficiency and effectiveness of the ABS depends on attracting and retaining the right people.
Key achievements in 2016-17
In 2016-17 ABS recruitment processes included recruitment of:
Initiatives in recruitment practices have included increased use of video interviewing to improve timeliness and help assess candidate suitability. The ABS is also one of the seven participating agencies in the APS Operation Free Range trial, which aims to identify and address barriers to mobility across the APS.
WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY
The ABS is committed to fostering a proactive and collaborative approach to the management of work health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace. Specialist teams of work health and safety (WHS) advisors and rehabilitation specialists focus on wellbeing at work, preventing injury and illness, early intervention if injury or illness occurs, and rehabilitation and return to work programs.
In 2016-17, the ABS completed the final year of its three-year Work Health and Safety and Rehabilitation Management System Strategy (2014-17), focusing on a strong safety culture, accountable leadership, effective management of hazards, good communication and continuous improvement.
The newly formed ABS People Committee is the senior executive forum with responsibility for oversight of the ABS WHS and Rehabilitation Management Systems.
Key achievements in 2016-17
Measures taken to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of employees during 2016-17 included:
Consultation and communication
The ABS has one national, one field-based and ten site-based Health and Safety Committees. Health and Safety Committees are required to meet at least once every three months. In 2016-17, 94% of ABS Health and Safety Committee meetings were held every three months.
Revised and new WHS policies and guidelines on the following topics were released in 2016-17, following consultation with staff and their representatives:
WHS modules are available to all staff via the ABS e-learning system. In 2016-17:
In the ABS there are a number of specific WHS roles filled by trained staff:
Provisional Improvement Notices
No Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs) were issued to the ABS during 2016-17.
Comcare investigations and inspections
In 2016-17, Comcare conducted three inspections of reported incidents. One contravention of the primary duty of care requirement and one contravention of the worker’s own duty of care requirement of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 were found.
No notices were issued by Comcare under Part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 during 2016-17.
The ABS has worked collaboratively with Comcare on implementing improved practices to reduce the risk of workplace injury and to reduce workers’ compensation claim numbers and duration.
The ABS Comcare premium rate for 2016-17 was 2.20% of total salary (excluding GST).
TABLE 6.8: COMCARE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PREMIUM RATE
Incidents and investigations
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the ABS is required to report all ‘notifiable incidents’ which arise from undertaking the business of the ABS. Notifiable incidents include the death of a person, serious injury or illness, or a dangerous incident. During 2016-17, there were 31 notifiable incidents (16 serious injuries or illnesses and 15 dangerous incidents).
Workplace injuries and illnesses
The top three mechanisms of incident resulting in injury or illness reported in the ABS during 2016-17 were falls, trips and slips, being hit by moving objects and mental stress. In addition, there were 841 safety incidents reported that resulted in no injury, or damage to property only.
Rehabilitation and workers’ compensation
The ABS is committed to minimising the impact of injury, illness and disease in employees through the key strategies of early intervention and proactive case management.
The ABS had 32 claims for workers’ compensation accepted by Comcare with a date of injury occurring during the 2016-17 financial year. An additional 12 compensation claims were submitted by ABS employees and subsequently disallowed by Comcare.
Included in the 32 claims were 19 accepted claims for workers’ compensation which were related to the 2016 Census. This was a 79% reduction in accepted claims from the previous Census.
TABLE 6.9: ACCEPTED ABS COMPENSABLE CLAIMS BY DATE OF INJURY, 2013-14 TO 2016-17 (a)
The ABS Rehabilitation Management System (RMS) was audited in the 2016-17 financial year by the insurer, Comcare, and the ABS achieved a 77% conformance rating. This conformance compares with an earlier independent audit in June 2016 commissioned by the ABS where the ABS achieved 44% conformance using the same Comcare audit framework. The earlier audit outcome and the recent Comcare audit have assisted the ABS to develop a robust Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to address areas of non-conformance and improve the RMS to support the rehabilitation and return to work of ill or injured employees.
The invoiced ABS premium costs for 2017-18 are $4,453,050 (excluding GST) compared to $7,498,694 for 2016-17.
Figures 6.4, 6.5 and 6.6 show the number of accepted claims by mechanism of incident. Current priorities include addressing long term and high-cost claims in partnership with Comcare, and working towards an active case management approach through staff education and early intervention initiatives.
In 2016-17, the average number of days of unscheduled absence per full-time equivalent (FTE) was 11.8 days (Table 6.10). This is less than the Australian Government (Large Agency) median over the previous two years (12.5 days per FTE in 2015-16 and 12.4 days per FTE in 2014-15).
TABLE 6.10: UNSCHEDULED ABSENCE: DAYS PER FTE (a)(b)
(b) Totals do not include workers compensation due to a change in APSC reporting in the 2014-15 year. Figures may not match those contained in previous ABS reports as a result.
(c) Includes leave applications processed after publication of the 2015-16 ABS Annual Report.
(d) The Australian Government (Large Agency) median for 2016-17 was not available at the time of preparing this report.
Employee Assistance Program
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) use rate for ABS office-based staff during 2016-17 was 10.2% compared with 9.1% in 2015-16, consistent with increased efforts to promote EAP support during a challenging year. The EAP use rate for ABS interviewer staff was 8.2% in 2016-17, compared with 5.1% in 2015-16. There were 20 instances of usage of the ABS psychological counselling service by Census field officers in 2016-17.
CONSULTATION IN THE ABS
The ABS is committed to effective workplace relations that value communication, cooperation and effective consultation with employees and their chosen representatives, including union representatives, about matters that affect their workplace.
The ABS consultative framework comprises the following elements:
The National Forum generally meets twice a year to communicate and consult on significant national issues affecting the ABS workplace.
An extraordinary meeting of the National Forum was held in December 2016 to discuss the ABS State of the Service Census results. The National Forum also met in March 2017 to discuss new learning resources, workplace flexibility, diversity and transformation.
The ABS also increased efforts on consultation and engagement activities across line management during the year, and through focus groups and national consultation worked on local level changes and national activities such as the development of a 360-degree feedback tool.
The ABS has a number of industrial instruments in place to cover the employment arrangements for various ABS workforces. The instruments that apply to employees engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 are:
The instruments that apply to employees engaged under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 in accordance with the Census and Statistics Regulation 2016 are:
Details of the number of employees covered by an Enterprise Agreement, Individual Flexibility Arrangement, a Determination under s. 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 or a Determination under s. 16(7) of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 as at 30 June 2017 are as follows:
(a) All Field staff had concluded their work on the 2016 Census at 30 June 2017.
ABS SALARY SYSTEM
The ABS Enterprise Agreement 2016 outlines the salary arrangements for non-SES ABS employees employed under the Public Service Act 1999 for the period of 3 June 2016 to 2 June 2019. A general salary increase of 2% was effective from 3 June 2017. Table 6.11 shows the salary ranges for ABS employees.
TABLE 6.11: SALARY RANGES BY CLASSIFICATION AS AT 30 JUNE 2017
AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS RECIPIENTS WITH THE AUSTRALIAN STATISTICIAN - JANUARY 2017
Performance management in the ABS
The ABS is committed to being a high performing public agency, promoting a people-oriented culture through focus on leadership, communication, innovation and engagement.
Where there are concerns about employee performance, ABS managers work with their employees by implementing an informal Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). ABS initiated eight PIPs for ongoing office-based staff during 2016-17. Where an employee’s performance has not improved through a PIP, a formal underperformance process commences. Four employees were the subject of formal processes to manage underperformance. This resulted in a range of outcomes including employees meeting the expected level of performance, having their classification reduced or resigning prior to a final decision to terminate their employment. In addition, the contracts of three non-ongoing employees were terminated due to underperformance.
During 2016-17 ABS completed two investigations into suspected breaches of the APS Code of Conduct by ABS employees. None involved privacy breaches. One employee resigned from APS employment following a preliminary sanction decision of termination of employment and the other employee received a sanction other than termination of employment.
During 2016-17, the ABS remained committed to the principles of ecological sustainable development as outlined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
In accordance with the EPBC Act, the ABS has two key roles relating to ecologically sustainable development. The first is the ABS’s responsibility for providing statistics on the environment and environmental issues to enable informed decision-making. The second is the impact of the ABS’s operations on the environment and the action being taken by the ABS to minimise that impact.
In accordance with sub-section 516A (6), of the EPBC Act, the ABS’s performance is outlined below.
516a (6) (a) How do the activities of the organisation, and the administration of legislation by the organisation, accord with the principles of ecologically sustainable development?
The ABS Environmental Policy Statement articulates our commitment to the identification and pursuit of effective environmental practices. In accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development, the ABS pursues environmentally positive practices by:
In 2012-13, the ABS implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS) at its largest site in Canberra, which set the ongoing environmental considerations for the ABS:
516a (6) (b) How do the outcomes specified in a relevant appropriations act contribute to ecologically sustainable development?
The ABS receives appropriation for the purpose of producing statistics that inform decision-making on a wide range of social and economic matters.
The ABS works closely with the community and governments to further build information on environmental statistics, to complement the more established information bases on population, society and the economy. The focus of this development work is the integration of environmental statistics with Australia’s economic and social statistics.
For more information on ABS statistical publications and developments, please refer to the ABS website for:
516a (6) (c) What is the effect of the organisation’s activities on the environment?
ABS’s activities are predominately office-based and have the potential to affect the environment through consumption of energy and water, waste production and waste sent to landfill. The ABS seeks to improve its performance by measuring and managing:
Opportunities for continuous improvement are sought. Lease negotiations in Canberra, Tasmania and Adelaide in 2016-17 have incorporated Green Lease Schedules which will be used to build a collaborative approach to managing environmental impacts of the ABS and the buildings it occupies.
516a (6) (d) What measures are taken by the organisation to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment?
The ABS has sought to minimise its impact on the environment through a number of measures.
Targeting reductions in energy usage and the generation of waste
Activity based work fit-outs are being introduced across all ABS offices to decrease office footprints by an additional 20%. In 2016-17, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne fit-outs were delivered, meaning six of the nine ABS offices have been completed. This has reduced the environmental impact of fit-out, furniture production, and the necessary operational services, particularly electricity.
Energy consumption and waste in fit-outs have been reduced where possible by including energy efficient LED lights and smart lighting technologies in all tenanted areas. New office fit-outs will include T5 lighting systems, incorporating daylight harvesting, to reduce consumption nationally.
Furniture and equipment reuse has been maximised for all property fit-out projects and where this is not possible, recyclable materials from damaged and non-resalable furniture have been harvested.
Demand for paper and hard copies is reducing. ABS publications are available on the ABS website, and computer-assisted interviewing is used in place of paper forms where possible.
The impact of travel on the environment is being reduced. Improvements in video conferencing equipment and software, and increasing the number of video conferencing facilities, support virtual teams across offices and reduce the requirement to travel.
Recycling services are provided to all office-based staff, including:
Complying with relevant commonwealth and territory environment legislation and the Australian government’s environmental policies and initiatives
The ABS has maintained its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Energy Management Plan initiatives, developed in accordance with the ICT Sustainability Plan 2010-2015, which included for 2016-17:
Prior to its relocation off-site in early 2017, the Central Office data centre environmental performance measures included:
Encouraging and promoting environmentally sound procurement practices in compliance with commonwealth procurement rules
Procurement of 10% green energy as part of the whole-of-government energy contract for ABS House and 10% green energy for the Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, Dandenong and Adelaide offices continued.
Environmental and whole-of-life-cycle clauses are included as part of the tender and evaluation process in most procurement activities.
Vehicles with 10.5 GVG rating, in accordance with the Green Vehicle Guide, are leased.
100% recycled paper is procured for general office use.
Providing an environmentally sound workplace and implementing environmentally sound work practices
Progressive introduction of flexible working arrangements has reduced the need for staff to work at ABS offices full-time. This has further reduced staff travel to and from offices, decreased the office footprint by an additional 20% and reduced associated office resources use, such as paper and furniture.
A knowledge framework has been implemented, incorporating digital recordkeeping rather than paper records, with automatic recordkeeping facilities for ABS workgroup databases.
Environmental efficiency measures have been incorporated into the market testing process for new leases with the integration of green lease schedules in each new tenancy.
Building management systems control lighting and reduce energy use.
Re-manufactured and recycled cartridges for photocopiers, faxes and printers are used wherever possible, and used printer cartridges are recycled.
White goods with heavily weighted energy ratings are purchased.
Monitoring our energy performance and green lease commitments, and implementing processes of continuous improvement
The ABS monitors its:
Supporting and promoting an environmentally responsible culture
An environmentally responsible culture is fostered by:
1. All field staff had concluded their work on the 2016 Census at 30 June 2017.
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