The hundreds of public service graduate recruits starting their new jobs this month will be confronted by overbearing bosses, bureaucratic mini-empires and clapped-out equipment, according to some of last year's cadets.
But on the positive side, the service's class of 2013 found the public service was not as boring as they had feared and were impressed by the commitment of their new colleagues to their work.
The 50 respondents to the survey, taken in mid-2013, also hoped the public service of the future will have patched up its uneasy relationship with social media.
Up to 1000 fledgling bureaucrats will begin their new careers with government departments and agencies this month, despite the continued job losses and “machinery of government” upheavals gripping the service.
The Public Service Commission quizzed 50 graduates from a number of departments and agencies last June on their experiences so far and their vision for the public service in 25 years.
In the sessions the new recruits were asked about their experience in the APS and to describe what a future APS might look like to them.
They were asked what frustrated them, what surprised them in a positive way, and then to think about themselves as leaders in 2025 and to describe their future workplaces.
PS Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick told a gathering of senior leaders late last year that he was not too surprised by the findings of the informal survey.
“I suspect that some of the frustrations are not just those of graduates,” the Commissioner said.
“Here are a few examples: excessive hierarchy and micro-management, silos within departments and across the APS, outdated technology, including one graduate who noted that his keyboard was missing the 'L' key but his boss had an iPad; and, how much a supervisor's attitude could limit or enhance opportunities.”
But Mr Sedgwick said that many of the new recruits had been pleasantly surprised by some aspects of public service life.
“On the positive side, examples the graduates provided included a high degree of commitment from their colleagues, the amount of training available, the variety of work and working with a wide demographic of people.”
The graduates, identified by the Commissioner as potential future leaders of the service, said they wanted the future bureaucracy to break down its “silos”, make greater use of technology and have a more comfortable relationship with social media.
“Their preferred workplace of 2025 was characterised by high levels of collaboration across the APS, greater career mobility and broader exposure to cross-agency issues,” Mr Sedgwick said.
“In terms of technology, virtual offices and mobile technology will be the norm, they believe, as will an increasing use of social media to stay connected with the community.
“By 2025 they expect that we will fully understand our place in Asia, and that all agencies will have a global focus as well as a greater understanding of Australia's role.
“There will be strong public and private partnerships to increase innovation and service delivery.
“The culture of the APS will be less risk averse and have whole-of-APS talent pools.”
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