Appointments Commission: ‘Challenges remain for public sector recruitment’

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‘SIGNIFICANT challenges’ remain in recruiting candidates from overseas, according to the latest report from the Jersey Appointments Commission.

The Island’s high cost of living, including housing and the price of childcare, has been cited as a ‘negative factor’ which outweighs the increased salaries and quality of life.

The JAC is an independent body that oversees the recruitment of States employees and appointees to States-supported or related bodies.

Chief Minister Kristina Moore recently presented the commission’s annual report for 2022 to the States Assembly, in which the commission revealed that one of its main concerns was that ‘significant challenges remain in the attraction and securing of candidates who are required to relocate to the Island’.

‘The cost and availability of accommodation and property in Jersey is also a significant barrier for many overseas candidates,’ the report states.

It adds: ‘Caring responsibilities, which disproportionately affect women candidates, are often a key factor.’

The gender split for all applications was 80% male to 20% female. All five applications for deputy police chief were from men, as were all three for the role of deputy Greffier.

The government provides support and relocation packages for all overseas appointments – but ‘evidence is being shared to suggest that some candidates see the cost of living in Jersey as a negative factor which outweighs the increased remuneration and quality of life’.

A report last month revealed that inflation stood 12.7%, the highest level since the 1980s.

This was 3.8% higher than the UK’s rate of inflation.

The primary drivers behind the surge were housing costs, which had increased by 24.4%, and food prices, which climbed 14.2%.

The JAC’s report also noted that ‘under-representation of suitable local candidates in the applications process’ remained a concern.

Only 28% of applications were from Jersey-based candidates, with two of the 16 who applied for the role of director of the Financial Intelligence Unit considered locals.

In an attempt to boost application rates by local people for public roles, the commission is planning an outreach programme with key stakeholders to ensure the widest participation in developing recruitment pools.

The commission also admits that ‘more’ could be done ‘to attract private sector workers to public service’ and recommends that organisations ‘ensure their attraction approach for recruitment is reviewed to meet the need for greater localisation and diversity and inclusion’.

The commission’s other main concern was the need to modernise recruitment processes within the public service to avoid bias.

In particular, the commission encourages ‘utilisation of software applications for reviewing CVs, psychometric testing and panel interviewing, the purpose of which would be to reduce the risk of bias contaminating the selection process’.

The report further recommends a review of current recruitment practices in government bodies ‘to identify areas where new and emerging recruitment practices can be embedded within existing processes’.

Last year, the commission helped with the completion of 35 recruitment assignments, a 25% increase from 2021. This was spread across 16 recruitments for the Government of Jersey, with a further 19 assignments within other organisations.

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