Blended workforce

The public sector delivers public value through a range of mechanisms including:

  • a workforce comprised of permanent public servants along with contract, temporary and casual employees
  • volunteers
  • academia
  • contractors
  • non-profit organisations (NGO’s)
  • freelancers (people who are self-employed and not tied to one employer)
  • the private sector, and
  • increasingly through automated solutions (process automation, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence).

The impact of digital disruption and the rise of ‘casual-by-choice’ are accelerating the emergence of a blended workforce solution. Determining the right combination and mix of workforce needed for the future is one of the key challenges facing the sector.

For agencies and the Queensland public sector, reconfiguring and redistributing the workforce to ensure the sector continues to meet community needs and expectations will rely on:

  • knowing where the opportunities are for digitally integrated services
  • predicting where tasks will be impacted
  • understanding where new roles will be created
  • knowing where to secure future talent.

Why is a blended workforce an emerging trend?

  • Enables organisations to manage surge capacity and the ability to respond to fluctuations in work flows
  • Uncovers talent with unique skillsets
  • Promotes mobility and agility
  • Offers options for people who prefer ‘casual-by-choice’ to engage in the gig economy
  • Allows the most repetitive and dangerous work to be automated.

Impact of digital disruption

  • Increasingly desktop automation, cognitive computing and machine learning contribute to the effective delivery of services.
  • Current trends signal major changes on the horizon:
    • many jobs will be enhanced through augmentation, with people working collaboratively with technology
    • resources have and will continue to be freed up allowing them to be employed in higher value roles.
  • Most studies draw similar conclusions about the impact of automation: workers will spend less time on routine, manual, physical and repetitive activities and more time working with others and performing tasks that involve digital and technological skills.
  • There are also indicators that demands for new skills will increase, particularly social, emotional and higher cognitive skills such as creativity, critical thinking and complex information processing.
  • Technology is expected to bring net benefits to a workforce that will need to transform and adapt. Studies suggest that jobs creation will account for just as many, if not more, new jobs as there will be roles that may no longer be required.
  • The Queensland public sector is currently engaged in research with CSIRO’s Data61 to explore plausible future scenarios in the operating environment and their impact on the workforce.

Managing capacity

Significant changes to the Queensland public sector over the next 10 years will demand a more strategic approach to workforce planning.

  • Mapping the impact of digital disruption within each agency can assist in strategic workforce planning exercises.
  • Understanding the current workforce supply and demand needs to go beyond counting people, towards a deeper knowledge of the various workforce segments, workforce availability and capacity, and how effectively people are being utilised.
  • Where there is increasing demand the Strategic talent segmentation model is instructive as to whether it is appropriate to build, buy or borrow capability depending on circumstances.
  • Where there is diminishing demand the Supporting employees affected by workplace change (SEAWC) directive provides a framework to give effect to the government’s commitment to employment security where employees are displaced following workplace change.
  • A crucial action in planning for the future of work is to identify the capabilities needed in the future, and determine whether it is best to build, buy or borrow those skills.
  • Harnessing workforce data is critical in the planning for the future, but with an uncertain future understanding different potential scenarios will be advantageous.
  • Find out more about current standing offer arrangements including labour hire and consultants with the Queensland Government.

Reskilling for the future

It is clear that the future skills, capacities and capabilities required by the public sector workforce will be different from today. What is less clear is when those impacts will be felt, where and by how much. Ensuring potential skills divergences are identified and current employees can reskill for future roles will be a focus across the sector.

  • Talent Now is an online tool for connecting with sector staff available for temporary opportunities and is helpful for securing skilled talent as teams transition to future scenarios.
  • Employees can discover development opportunities through the Leadership and learning hub.