It has been a whirlwind year for the Australian Human Resources and Skills Development Agency (AHRSDA), which has seen more than 100 redundancies and hundreds of staff sacked since last year’s election.
The agency has been the target of several political campaigns and a new law, the Job Fairivity Act, was introduced last month that will allow employers to seek a worker’s job from overseas, where there is a shortage.
But it is also facing a crisis of attrition at the agency, with the number of vacancies falling by a third since 2016, the AHRSDA’s chief executive, Paul Cusack, said in a statement.
“We’ve had some very significant turnover, but we’re also finding that some people who would normally have gone out and applied for a position have not,” he said.
“There is a very high attrition rate and it’s difficult to find people with the skills and knowledge to stay on.”
In an effort to find candidates, the agency has hired a team of 40 staff members, but they have had to be offered “a few hundred” positions to be able to fill vacancies.
“The vast majority of our people who have gone are not qualified for a job at the AHRCD, and it is not easy to find them,” Cusacks statement said.
One of the new hires is a 40-year-old teacher, who is now in the role of assistant principal.
She had a career as a teacher before moving into human resources and has been on the AHrsDA’s hiring list for some time.
“My job has always been to make sure that the human resources department has the skills, knowledge and experience that we need to help our staff do the job they are supposed to do,” she said.
The new chief executive said the AHresda was finding it difficult to recruit people who had the right qualifications.
“It is very difficult for a lot of people, particularly those who are young, with no previous experience in the job, to get a job in the first place,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
The jobless rate for young people aged between 15 and 24 fell from 23.5 per cent in 2016 to 20.7 per cent last year, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
But the drop was not uniform across the state.
The AHresdao says the number is still higher than the national average.
“In 2016, young people were about 15.5 times more likely to be unemployed than those aged 25 to 29,” Ms Cusak said.
It is unclear how many vacancies are currently being filled.
Mr Cusacking said the agency was now working to improve recruitment.
“I want people to know that we have an agency out there, and that we are committed to being a good employer and to making sure that our staff are good employers,” he told ABC radio.