[IPAC-List] What does 2009 hold for public sector HR?

Mark Hammer Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Mon Jan 19 13:15:50 EST 2009

Some would say we're poised for sea change. Some would grumble and say we're poised for simply more of the same. Some would look forward with rejoicing to tomorrow and the subsequent months, where others say that we're setting ourselves up for disappointment by expecting too much. (And congrats on a new president, BTW)

One thing is clear, though. In response to events of the summer, and the months preceding and following, governments everywhere are set to take bold fiscal steps that can't help but have implications for what happens in the public sector (I ran into our own finance minister in the hallways last week and he looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders while he is preparing a federal budget for next Monday). On the one hand, times of duress sometimes provoke a bolstering of the public sector and frenzied hiring to serve the underclass tries desperately treading water. On the other hand, part of me says that we are about to see the public sector lose its recruiting edge to the private sector as stimulus packages try to prop up the economy. I have no indications yet that either of these is a certainty or unlikely.

So, I'm not looking for the degree of certainty that would result in a wager of this type: http://www.longbets.org/ I'm just curious about what some of the members here think might be the implications in the public sector HR world for the manner in which your federal and state governments, and our federal and provincial governments here in Canada, are directing themselves and their thinking to their response to the state of the federal economy. Will all of this risky borrowing and deficit financing in the presence of a new fiscal conservatism make the audit function the new poster child for public service? Will we see growth in social programs and hiring in the health, social welfare, and education sector? Will there be changes in the expectations for how hiring is done? Does an emergency like the present one push us towards faster hiring, with sacrifices in quality or parity? And I feel silly saying it, but is the installation of Barack Obama as president going to have implications for what people expect in the way of minority hiring? Are views of hiring immigrants (of ANY ethnicity) going to change as citizens think about bailing out their own country and fellow citizens first? Do folks see the government change as essentially good, but the implications for HR as being of concern?

There's a lot in the offing here. I'm just wondering which way folks think the wind is going to blow, and how hard, so I have a better sense of what hat to wear and how tightly to secure it.

Mark Hammer

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