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Where to now for the public service?

By apstoo 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?


What’s Your opinion?


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Where to now for the public service?
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JonnieWalker 5:59 pm 07 Jan 14

Here it is from my perspective.
1) Actively look for better opportunities where you can, and take it if the offer presents itself. It will probably be 2-3 years before the APS starts hiring again. If you plan to get back in, get a job in a position which will give you experience for a higher position when APS does recruit again.
2) In the meantime, assuming your job is 40 hours per week, get some casual work in the afternoons. There are plenty of jobs office cleaning or turning down beds at the Hyatt during that will keep you physically active, earn you a few extra bucks, or probably give you a feed if it’s in hospitality. You might even be able to get a cashy in some resteraunts. I did this as an APS1 with two money hungry kids and a wife with expensive tastes.
3) Don’t set your expectations too high. I came into the APS before the recruitment boom around 2002 as an APS1. There were a lot more of us around in those days, but there was an expectation that it would take many years to work your way up from APS1 to APS5. After 2001, this changed and APS4 was the default entry salary with regular promotions for unsubstantiated performance. Even after the APS begins to recruit again in 2 years time, I wouldn’t expect to see the careers rocketing to the top of an EL2 after 4-5 years in the APS like we saw in the last decade.
4) Plan out what you want to achieve and keep a schedule for work and free time to allocate time for excersise, time with kids/wife, 2nd job, studies, hobbies, managing your finances, sleeping, so that you can make the most of your time and prioritise your goals.

Agree with rollersk8r – Stay optimistic – nobody likes a whinger. It’ll also put you in a better position to seize the opportunity when it comes.

swanface 10:38 pm 18 Dec 13

Given apstoo thinks virtually everyone discriminates them due to gender diversity issues and has inferred that they have only ever gotten jobs through unconventional means, why in lolths name would they want to leave the APS for the Canberra private sector which is a hell of a lot more brutal and discriminatory than any other city I’ve ever worked in.

I’m going to be blunt because it seems no one else is. If your other threads are indeed correct, you are better off staying exactly where you are until you’re forcibly moved on.

If you have a degree + 10 years experience in APS4/5/6 roles (as per your September thread) and cannot lift yourself out of the 2 bracket, you could more than likely find a position in private industry; but you may or may not pass the probation period, and then you will be not only out of a job; but out of one during a hiring freeze and unable to get back to the relative safety of your APS2 KPI’s.

buzz819 8:28 pm 18 Dec 13

FYI – here is a job that you can do, it is still public service, that is the base pay + you get over time and a job where you don’t know what might happen next…

http://www.jobs.act.gov.au/jobs/justice-and-community-safety/permanent/13586,-several

buzz819 8:26 pm 18 Dec 13

apstoo said :

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.

Why the hell are you spending $120 a fortnight on fuel???

I have a sports car and only manage to spend $70 every three weeks???

thatsnotme 8:08 pm 18 Dec 13

Barcham 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.

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?

Out of curiosity, do you have your own place? Or do you share? And if you do share, but circumstances meant you couldn’t any longer, how much would your lifestyle have to change?

Holylgirl 7:55 pm 18 Dec 13

if you have great skills and tons of work experience then jump out as there will be opportunities to work back into the APS – the recruitment agencies are screaming for talent as no-one is moving. If you have limited re-employment potential then stay still for now. Freezes pass, MoGs create new chances to try other things, VRs will be offered again and again. Managers notice talent. For the record I just left after 26 years, I have been frozen, Mogged, abolished, offered about 15 VRs, but I was always lucky to work with someone I liked and the money and conditions were always better than in the private sector.

desertdreaming 7:47 pm 18 Dec 13

Apstoo, by school fees, do you mean tuition fees for an independent school?

Skidbladnir 7:40 pm 18 Dec 13

apstoo said :

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.

FYI, you are the entitled turd APS1, not the poverty line APS1.

chewy14 7:14 pm 18 Dec 13

apstoo said :

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.

OK,
You have kids so nothing to be done about that now.
How are you spending $120 a fortnight on fuel? That’s more than I spend and I drive everywhere and don’t have your budgetary requirements. Surely it can be reduced.
$35 on drycleaning? Time for that to go.

“Yes you can live, but it is not a fun life”

That may be, which is why I would suggest staying where you are unless you’ve already lined up another job or know you can get one easily. If you think $44K is tough to live on, how would you cope on $0?

Skidbladnir 6:21 pm 18 Dec 13

neanderthalsis said :

1) …A list of income supplemental welfare schemes to which a $44kpa single-breadwinner parent is entitled …
2) …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….
3) …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…
4) …Public servants are hardly the working poor…

Opening statement:
I started out assuming worst-case as social policy tends to, largely because eventually Four Corners will discover that golden edge case of an orphaned-in-a-housefire, almost-raped-to-death-as-a-child, one-legged, one-eyed, grew-up-homeless, black East Timorese migrant who has a blue eyed daughter who still wants a job but can’t get to an interview on time due to apparent lack of social support, and they’ll have another ratings winner like the Claymore episode.

APSToo hasn’t yet given us specifics (which is possibly fair as there are only 177 APS1s in the ACT, giving rise to a very potent segmentation identification process as soon as they start to…), and I’m beginning to suspect they’re a self-entitled young little shit who thinks Canberra owes them favours like routine scheduled promotions through the APS ranks, instead of relying on merit based selection processes.

Even though I love the idea of an APS Paxton Family candidate (articles about whom would make the Public Service Informant into a publishing powerhouse), I’ll let the remainder of my arguments stand.

$44kpa for a single entry-level public servant isn’t poverty line, assuming they’re single with no dependants.
A $44kpa singleton just needs to learn to budget and sharehouse until they get serious about being a public servant.
That doesn’t mean that if they get trapped in a dead-end APS1 job (are there any?) they can never have kids.
But for the sake of the child, they just probably shouldn’t.

1) See for yourself: Henderson Lines, and that Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings use pre-tax values, you may need to use this calculator to perform any calculations..
Also, see for yourself that any indiviudual on 44kpa is also entitled to Commonwealth housing subsidies due to “low income” status.

2) Through welfare schemes open to the poor, largely.
A single adult as an APS1 doesn’t qualify as ‘working through poverty’, give them dependants and they do.
Bearing in mind that hypothetical APS1 single income couple with 2 kids would be earning less than half the median individual income in the ACT.
Source 1: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/average-canberra-wage-now-85000-20130221-2et00.html
Source 2: ABS Catalogue 6302.0 – Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2013

3) See above.
If they’re single, I have little to no sympathy. Skills pay bills, and from personal experience Canberra is home to the most unskilled of retail and hospitality staff.
If they have kids, they technically count as poor and qualify for welfare supplements.
(But seriously, they should get jobs outside baseline retail and frontend waitressing, we have way too many disinterested uni students in that labour force…)

4) Having dependant children makes the difference on that one, as far as social policy is concerned. As far as DSS and DHS is concerned, the future of dependant children trump everything.
Just because your parents aren’t able to provide basics for you as a child, so long as you earn below a certain magic figure, you’ll be offered any and all opportunities to repeatedly and routinely choose that path which ends in yet another human failure.
Admittedly, some social welfare cases may one day learn to walk off that treadmill and stand amongst the productive labour force.

Yes, there are people earning less than $44kpa who work. Most of them are under 25, have no dependents of their own, and still live at home

BimboGeek 6:08 pm 18 Dec 13

$44000 is about right for a first proper job. It might have been better to wait before having kids but I guess we don’t all have that luxury.

If public service and private contractors are being cut back perhaps the gov is going to shift a few services over to the not for profit area, so it’s worth watching those jobs to see what’s available. It depends what you do, though.

You could actually do better than you are now as a waiter, a job that also comes with the opportunity to put in a bit of overtime if you need a little extra. The reported work hours might be a little more brutal but I recall how much “extra” work was actually done in every 8:30-5pm work day and how much stress goes home with you from an office job.

buzz819 5:50 pm 18 Dec 13

apstoo said :

Barcham said :

Barcham 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.

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?

Ahh just read your comment lower down about uniforms and school fees and the like. You have kids, which I am lead to believe eat money. Nevermind, carry on.

Clearly though you know how to live on a budget. Apart from not buying crap which I don’t need (learned that one already) do you have other pointers?

You heard the song Thrift Shop??? That’s how barcham buys clothes…

apstoo 5:48 pm 18 Dec 13

Barcham said :

Barcham 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.

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?

Ahh just read your comment lower down about uniforms and school fees and the like. You have kids, which I am lead to believe eat money. Nevermind, carry on.

Clearly though you know how to live on a budget. Apart from not buying crap which I don’t need (learned that one already) do you have other pointers?

Barcham 5:43 pm 18 Dec 13

Barcham 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.

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?

Ahh just read your comment lower down about uniforms and school fees and the like. You have kids, which I am lead to believe eat money. Nevermind, carry on.

Barcham 5:40 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?

poetix 5:09 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.

apstoo 5:02 pm 18 Dec 13

A_Cog said :

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.

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.

apstoo 5:00 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.

neanderthalsis 4:59 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.

davo101 4:28 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.

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