The Examiner: ‘Difficult to recruit and retain staff’, CPSU Tasmania says

By Hugh Bohane

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) Tasmania general secretary has said it is difficult to recruit and retain staff across the state and the government needs to step up its game in attracting more workers to the public sector.

Thirza White said the state’s biggest employment trend was an inability to fill roles and the many public sector jobs vacancies.

Ms White said this has been a problem in certain areas, such as allied health professionals, courts, and park workers, as well as highly specialised roles.

“This is putting pressure on service delivery and we need to develop a two-step strategy for finding a solution,” she said.

She said that competitive pay and more enticing relocation packages are needed to attract people from the mainland to apply for jobs in Tasmania.

According to Ms White, there is a worker shortage statewide in several areas, particularly in aged care, education, mental health, and social workers.

“We’ve also seen that the state government has abandoned its role as a model employer, where people can enter the workforce, develop their skills, and then go on to other roles in other industries,” she said.

We have very few apprentices and traineeships or cadetships, and we’d really like to see the [state] government step up with this.”

She said the state government needs to set targets for giving migrants and school leavers pathways into secure work.

Ms White said parks and schools have an ageing workforce, and young workers need better training opportunities to enter those roles.

“We need to be putting in place new roles and developing them so young people can take over those jobs in the future,” she said.

Insecure working arrangements

Another negative trend that the CPSU is seeing is an increase in the amount of insecure work offered across the state.

“This means that we’re just not able to attract enough staff; people are not going to move to Tasmania or Launceston from Hobart unless they are guaranteed a secure job,” Ms White said.

She is also concerned that the government will rely on recruitment agencies to fill the gaps in the public sector workforce and says this is the wrong strategy moving forwards.

“The public sector needs to have its workforce strategy and it needs to invest in its people to ensure that it can attract top talent,” Ms White said.

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