Where to now for the public service?

By 18 December, 2013 44

As some one in the public service, I’m half expecting a tap on the shoulder any day and to be told my position is redundant.

I’m looking at options, do I stay in or do I leave now?

The way I see it is that with a recruitment freeze on and a reduction in staff required, there’ll be no chance of any advancement for many years to come.

What few jobs advertised will only allow placement at level.

It may come as a surprise to many to realise that $44,0000 a year isn’t enough to live on in Canberra if you work.

Faced with that low wage for years I’m wondering if it is worth it.

Do I stick it out for the long haul and hope for a promotion after the recruiting freeze is off, or do I call it quits now? I know several others in the same boat who have enquiring minds who also want to know.

For those who have experienced past freezes like this (have there been past freezes like this?) what usually happens at the end of them? More jobs for those internally or simply more jobs but sourced externally?

Please login to post your comments
44 Responses to Where to now for the public service?
#1
Rollersk8r9:41 am, 18 Dec 13

I’ve been around a while and I’ve never seen such uncertainty. Although I figure all you can do is (a) enjoy the Christmas break best you can, and (b) stay optimistic and ride it out in the new year.

#2
460cixy10:15 am, 18 Dec 13

Wow 44,0000 a yeah huh I don’t know how you do it

#3
johnboy10:24 am, 18 Dec 13

44K is a living wage. It’s just not the same living as everyone else in this town.

Rich people have better stuff, get used to it.

#4
justsomeaussie10:24 am, 18 Dec 13

As with most forms of redundancies this is just allows the people with marketable skillsets to leave and leaving the ‘less marketable’ people clinging to their jobs.

I’ve personally been through this and the simple question to ask yourself is “do you want to be working with those on the ‘lower end of the pile’ forming the majority of the organisation”. For me it was an exercise in incredible frustration, bureaucracy gone mad and a compounding problem.

How about instead of incentives for people to get out (where you lose good people) and instead we use incentives to keep the good people in?

#5
arescarti4210:25 am, 18 Dec 13

arescarti42 said :

It may come as a surprise to many to realise that $44,0000 a year isn’t enough to live on in Canberra if you work.

That does come as a surprise. If that’s the case, then it might be time start thinking about selling the yacht and renting out the French chateau.

#6
Deref10:28 am, 18 Dec 13

Do what a lot of my friends have done: take the redundancy pay, come back in the same job the next day as a contractor on double the salary then get back into the service when they start advertising again.

#7
460cixy10:31 am, 18 Dec 13

johnboy said :

44K is a living wage. It’s just not the same living as everyone else in this town.

Rich people have better stuff, get used to it.

If you can’t live with some sort of comfort on that money there’s something wrong. There’s folk out there doing it on a lot less they just budget better.

#8
watto2310:40 am, 18 Dec 13

People in Canberra lose track of the real world and indeed what others in Australia have to live on.
The thing is the public service continually getting payrises, means everything else has also risen in price, because well, they know people in Canberra will pay for it.

I know plenty of people in other cities on a lower wage than me, but with more disposable income.

What the government really should be doing is a pay freeze for all public servants. it might hurt initially but people keep their jobs and the costs in town start to go down.

#9
steveu10:47 am, 18 Dec 13

watto23 said :

What the government really should be doing is a pay freeze for all public servants. it might hurt initially but people keep their jobs and the costs in town start to go down.

This. Over at least 3 years to make any sort of impact. Things are priced at what the market is willing to bear, as you have suggested.

Im surprised the govt of the day hasnt suggested a PS wage freeze over a 3 year period. they seem focused on cutting jobs, which they are slowly realising, actually costs money too.

#10
NoniDoll10:49 am, 18 Dec 13

“It may come as a surprise to many to realise that $44,000 a year isn’t enough to live on in Canberra if you work.”

Okay, I’m assuming the extra ’0′ in OP’s figure was a typo, but still, I’ve spent my whole time (about 2 years) in Canberra living on less than that figure. It *is* doable. Sure, I haven’t been able to save, but I live fairly comfortably – got a roof over my head, I can get around by bus, I have enough money for food and I still have enough to go out semi-regularly. And I am *terrible* with money.

It’s not often I agree with Joe Hockey, but the term “age of entitlement” seems to be fairly appropriate.

#11
A_Cog10:54 am, 18 Dec 13

arescarti42 said :

A_Cog said :

It may come as a surprise to many to realise that $44,0000 a year isn’t enough to live on in Canberra if you work.

That does come as a surprise. If that’s the case, then it might be time start thinking about selling the yacht and renting out the French chateau.

As I’ve said before, I’m not sure if apstoo is a real person, or is in fact, a cleverly-crafted character designed to elicit howls.

The more I think about it, the more I think they’re hate-bait.

#12
dtc10:55 am, 18 Dec 13

watto23 said :

What the government really should be doing is a pay freeze for all public servants. it might hurt initially but people keep their jobs and the costs in town start to go down.

Pay freeze = pay cut

justsomeaussie said :

As with most forms of redundancies this is just allows the people with marketable skillsets to leave and leaving the ‘less marketable’ people clinging to their jobs.

I’ve personally been through this and the simple question to ask yourself is “do you want to be working with those on the ‘lower end of the pile’ forming the majority of the organisation”. For me it was an exercise in incredible frustration, bureaucracy gone mad and a compounding problem/quote]

Of course, this assumes that your assessment of yourself as being one of the people with marketable is actually correct. I’m sure 90% of people are confident they are in the top 20%.

And, more seriously, you can be very very good at a job exists only in the APS – for example, policy or program development.

#13
Genie11:08 am, 18 Dec 13

Deref said :

Do what a lot of my friends have done: take the redundancy pay, come back in the same job the next day as a contractor on double the salary then get back into the service when they start advertising again.

The recruitment freeze means exactly that… a freeze… !

No new staff can be hired, including contractors in the majority of Departments. (unless the APSC Commissioner is happy to approve it)

Where I work we are just about to lose all our non-ongoing staff who were contracted to 31 Dec, none of their contracts are allowed to be extended.

#14
milkman11:13 am, 18 Dec 13

The answer to this is simple. Can you get a better job elsewhere?

If so, take it. If not, stay where you are.

$44000 is enought to live on. You won’t be flush, but yoou survive if you learn to budget and cut out most of the unnecessary junk people think they need.

#15
Rollersk8r11:17 am, 18 Dec 13

watto23 said :

People in Canberra lose track of the real world and indeed what others in Australia have to live on.
The thing is the public service continually getting payrises, means everything else has also risen in price, because well, they know people in Canberra will pay for it.

I know plenty of people in other cities on a lower wage than me, but with more disposable income.

What the government really should be doing is a pay freeze for all public servants. it might hurt initially but people keep their jobs and the costs in town start to go down.

I don’t buy the “real world” argument but I’m not going to debate it now.

I agree on a wage freeze. The 3 or 4% a year the union is asking for is LOL in this environment.

#16
Skidbladnir12:04 pm, 18 Dec 13

Good grief, how weird is your worldview?
44k is merely APS1 pay, but still above the ACT Single Income Couple Two Child poverty line.

If you use the experience wisely and sharehouse, the skills of balancing your own budget and negotiating with housemates will be valuable likelihood easily translated into the the APS, putting you in good stead for promotion.

(If you’re one of the few APS1s left in Canberra, congratulations on being a rare and beautiful snowflake.)

#17
Kim F12:09 pm, 18 Dec 13

Which Super scheme are you in?

#18
justsomeaussie12:30 pm, 18 Dec 13

dtc said :

Of course, this assumes that your assessment of yourself as being one of the people with marketable is actually correct. I’m sure 90% of people are confident they are in the top 20%.

And, more seriously, you can be very very good at a job exists only in the APS – for example, policy or program development.

That’s the exact test. Find another job outside the public service that is going to pay you the same or more. Good quality people can do a vast array of jobs. The very best “policy officer” can’t be very good if they can’t work in an alternative area.

My point is that this situation just gives reasons for the best and brightest to go elsewhere. Whereas the unskilled just hide away and justify their positions.

#19
davo10112:35 pm, 18 Dec 13

Skidbladnir said :

44k is merely APS1 pay, but still above the ACT Single Income Couple Two Child poverty line.

Err, $44,000 a year is $725 pw after tax, the Australian poverty line for a couple with two children is $920 pw. 725 is not greater than 920 (well at least where I come from maybe the “real world” is different).

#20
HiddenDragon12:35 pm, 18 Dec 13

Unless you have a good prospect of something better – or even not much worse – to go to, it is difficult to see why you would jump before (possibly) being pushed. Every extra week of a $44k p.a. salary is much better than the dole or scrounging for minimum pay casual work in the services sector.

The cutbacks and squeezing in the APS looks like it will go on for some years, but eventually the system will find a new equilibrium and the progressive departure of the baby boom demorgaphic should assist in freeing things up.

#21
Skidbladnir12:59 pm, 18 Dec 13

Apologies, earlier comment was factually incorrect (it’s been a while since I looked at a Henderson line, and was thinking of SIC1C values from March 2012).
If I could withdraw it I would.

Single Income Couple Two Child is currently 921pw disposable, so roughly 60k before tax.
An APS1 is incapable of raising a child without roughly $50pw supplemental income, or they become poverty cases.

#22
Skidbladnir1:06 pm, 18 Dec 13

Argh, davo101 spotted it before I could fix it.

(Also, guess who works in social policy exposed areas…)

A single APS1 income household, even.

#23
neanderthalsis2:07 pm, 18 Dec 13

Skidbladnir said :

Apologies, earlier comment was factually incorrect (it’s been a while since I looked at a Henderson line, and was thinking of SIC1C values from March 2012).
If I could withdraw it I would.

Single Income Couple Two Child is currently 921pw disposable, so roughly 60k before tax.
An APS1 is incapable of raising a child without roughly $50pw supplemental income, or they become poverty cases.

$44000 is under the maximum earnings allowed for family tax benefits part A ($48,837) giving you an extra $172 a fortnight for a 0 – 12yo as well as FTB part B, an extra $146 a fortnight. You will be also eligible for a range of other benefits such as child care support, a Health Care Card, rent assistance, Child Dental benefits etc. So a poor APS 1 with kiddies in a single income family can make a whole bucketload of coin living off the largess of Government. Age of entitlement indeed, have kids, get the government to pay for your life choice.

If APStoo (is that APS Two?) was on the DSP or working for Walmart in the USA I would have some sympathy. Plenty of folk in Canberra survive on basic wage in retail or hospitality, about 10k less than an APS 1 if you’re lucky enough to be full time and not a casual.

Public servants are hardly the working poor. As JB said, rich people have better stuff, get used to it (or work harder and get rich yourself).

#24
watto233:57 pm, 18 Dec 13

Rollersk8r said :

watto23 said :

People in Canberra lose track of the real world and indeed what others in Australia have to live on.
The thing is the public service continually getting payrises, means everything else has also risen in price, because well, they know people in Canberra will pay for it.

I know plenty of people in other cities on a lower wage than me, but with more disposable income.

What the government really should be doing is a pay freeze for all public servants. it might hurt initially but people keep their jobs and the costs in town start to go down.

I don’t buy the “real world” argument but I’m not going to debate it now.

I agree on a wage freeze. The 3 or 4% a year the union is asking for is LOL in this environment.

Yes but thats my point, PS get an annual payrise and then pay increases. Most in private industries don’t. Go ask all the vets, engineers and other well qualified people why they are now public servants. Because they get paid more in the public service and they don’t have to argue over payrises or have the feeling they could lose their job. The Canberra economy is obviously driven by the public service wages, and a pay freeze is probably a good way to bring the average wage in Canberra more into line with that of Australia.

I personally cannot remember the last time i got a 2%+ payrise in consecutive years in the private industry.

I also say real world because the public servants I’ve worked with all assume that people in private companies are getting paid top dollar compared to them, but its the other way around.

#25
davo1014:28 pm, 18 Dec 13

watto23 said :

I personally cannot remember the last time i got a 2%+ payrise in consecutive years in the private industry.

Last 5 years’ increase in ordinary time hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses all private industries Australia:

4.0%
2.8%
3.8%
3.7%
3.3%

You’re getting screwed. Probably time to find another industry to work in.

#26
neanderthalsis4:59 pm, 18 Dec 13

davo101 said :

watto23 said :

I personally cannot remember the last time i got a 2%+ payrise in consecutive years in the private industry.

Last 5 years’ increase in ordinary time hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses all private industries Australia:

4.0%
2.8%
3.8%
3.7%
3.3%

You’re getting screwed. Probably time to find another industry to work in.

National minimum wage increases over the last 5 years:
2013 2.6%
2012 2.9%
2011 3.4%
2010 4.5%
2009 0

Most wage growth has been at the lower end of the earnings scales: award based wages and EBAs. Most of the upward movement in the wage price index has been driven by the award increases and the wage boom in the NT and WA where wages have been going mental but have certainly come off the boil in the last 12 months.

#27
apstoo5:00 pm, 18 Dec 13

I now $44,000 seems like a lot of money, but in this city it isn’t. I also know a lot of pwoplw manage on a lot less so I am greatful for what I have. Consider though that my take home pay is around $1200 a fortnight after tax and super get taken out. $460 goes on rent. $120 goes on fuel, about $50 goes on utilities, $35 on dry cleaning and about $100 to $120 a fortnight on food, more if I buy lunch. Then there are annual costs like car registration, clothing, uniforms, school fees. There’s nothing left over for savings. Yes you can live, but it is not a fun life.

#28
apstoo5:02 pm, 18 Dec 13

A_Cog said :

arescarti42 said :

apstoo said :

It may come as a surprise to many to realise that $44,0000 a year isn’t enough to live on in Canberra if you work.

That does come as a surprise. If that’s the case, then it might be time start thinking about selling the yacht and renting out the French chateau.

As I’ve said before, I’m not sure if apstoo is a real person, or is in fact, a cleverly-crafted character designed to elicit howls.

The more I think about it, the more I think they’re hate-bait.

Got contact details? I’m happy to prove I’m real. You on the other hand, well you come across as a fake troll.

#29
poetix5:09 pm, 18 Dec 13

Stay, OP. It would be ludicrous to walk out of a job in Canberra at the moment.

Unless you really hate going to work every day, you should wait and see what happens.

#30
Barcham5:40 pm, 18 Dec 13

It may come as a surprise to many to realise that $44,0000 a year isn’t enough to live on in Canberra if you work.

I earn less than that, I am also terrible with money. I eat out constantly, I don’t save, and I never budget. I splurge on expensive hobbies like video games and comic books. I like to drink well, I like to eat well, and I live right in Civic so I can do both at the drop of a hat.

Do you have kids or something else that means you require way more than I do to live?

Advertisement
GET PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP
Advertisement

Halloween in Australia?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

IMAGES OF CANBERRA

Advertisement
Sponsors
Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.