In June 2020 Professionals Australia conducted a survey of members in the federal public sector which showed that engineers, scientists, and technical professionals are taking pay cuts and are taking on heavier workloads in an effort to keep their jobs and minimise the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on their organisations.
The response to the challenges presented by COVID-19 has forced agencies to adopt new work practices and ways of working. Our 2020 survey of Australian Government Professionals was conducted to capture information about these impacts, and information about how the APS can move forward to better ways of working in the future. It builds on the findings of surveys conducted by Professionals Australia related to the impact of COVID-19 specifically on the fields of engineering and science.
Next week’s federal budget is expected to outline a range of measures which will require transformation and innovation in agencies, to continue doing the heavy lifting to facilitate the national recovery. We wait to see whether the measures will include further wage and workforce austerity.
There is tension here. Tension between the PM calling on public servants to spend their money to stimulate the economy, and high demand on APS expertise to impliment pandemic recovery measures, while at the same time wages are frozen and reductions in entitlements are being experienced across workplaces.
This period in our lives is incredibly challenging, but we shouldn’t lose the lessons we learnt from the pandemic. We shouldn’t snap-back to an old normal, when it’s within our ability, and the government’s, to create a new one.
Ahead of the federal budget Professionals Australia are releasing our report Workplace Issues in the Post COVID19 World, based on the results of recent member surveys and polling. The recommendations in this report will guide our campaigning in APS workplaces, will enable Professionals Australia members to develop strategies, conduct advocacy and pursue workplace claims designed to overcome the challenges and created a stronger, smarter, more capable APS.