Planning for an Aging Workforce
Colley, Linda & Price, Robin A. (2008) Planning for an Aging Workforce. In Brown, Kerry A., Mandell, Myrna, Furneaux, Craig W., & Beach, Sandra (Eds.) Contemporary Issues in Public Management: The Twelfth Annual Conference of the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM XII), 26 – 28 March, Brisbane, Australia.
An aged and ageing workforce has become a reality for the human resource (HR) professional in developed countries globally. Within the public sector, managing ageing human resources is made more complex by the myriad of legislative and policy guidelines that influence employment-related policies and practices, as well as a tradition of security of tenure. The complexity of the public service human resource environment has been further exacerbated by new public management which has decentralised and devolved HR functions to individual agencies (Coventry, 2001). While the decentralisation of HR to agencies has enabled agency HR departments to devise policies that meet the specific human resource needs of the agency, it has also resulted in a loss of centralised understanding of the composition of the workforce as a whole.
This research project set out to examine the issues associated with an ageing workforce within a case study of an Australian state public service. The research highlighted a number of factors that limited an agency level HR manager’s capacity to deal with their ageing workforces, and it is these factors that are the focus of this paper. These factors include the lack of an integrated human resource information system (HRIS), the nature of the information collected within the HRIS, and the capacity of HR professionals within the agencies to obtain and analyse the data obtained from the HRIS. We argue that agency level HR professionals need a comprehensive whole of service human resource information system, and the skills to use and analyse the data derived from it to better inform their workforce planning.
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