1 Resources, Recognition, Succession Planning (loss of experience inadequate professional development), Retention Challenges identified in DECA Survey The loss of skilled, knowledgeable engineering and technical staff from Defence through downsizing. Getting adequate recognition and pay for knowledge, experience and responsibility engineers bring to Defence. They cannot operate safely without us. The science and engineering professional group needs to be large enough to have a voice. Professionals are being squeezed out of the decision making process, whereby we are buying off the shelf items and no technical integrity is conducted or being conducted by external contractors who may or may not have the Defence interest in their best interest. Recruitment freeze making succession and workforce planning impossible. Massive budget cuts making equipment refresh and external training nearly impossible. Under resourced projects due to FTE cutbacks will mean that there will be often one engineer working on a large body of work and if they leave or are sick there is no one to pick up the work. Corners are being cut due to projects being under resourced. Maintaining capability and expertise on complex, expanding technologies in an environment which pitches us between a real reduction in resources while increasing nugatory administration tasks Not allowing professionals access to relevant technology conferences and networks to maintain currency. Failure to recognize the importance of STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) to the economic development of Australia No advertised APS positions means no jumping to next classification which means talented people leaving. Doing the job properly while completely overwhelmed/overworked. Eventually an overworked engineer will slip up due to their insane constant workload, that someone will be seriously injured or die. Increasing union membership across professional and technical staff Getting recognition of the contribution made by professional and technical staff in the delivery of Defence capability Providing adequate resources to tackle the major engineering challenges that are with us now and also coming at us. Maintaining professional integrity in the face of having fewer resources to achieve a timely solution
2 There is a lack of opportunities and support for maintenance of status and increasing knowledge base. Perceived value of the contribution science and engineering professionals make to the Defence landscape. It is critical to gain Government acceptance that engagement of a suitably scoped professional engineering workforce is desperately needed and that that the workforce is not static. It must be raised, constantly trained and refreshed and sustained. Entrenching sound engineering principles in the determination of needs and requirements for acquisition programs is essential to ensure adequate performance of acquired systems (even if, perhaps especially if,those systems are COTS/MOTS). The prolonged recruitment freeze means attrition is happening randomly without positions being replaced. Long term this will likely result in reduced capability and gaps in the organisation. Insufficient staff to undertake work leading to burnout of existing staff. Insufficient funding to allow staff to develop and maintain specialist skills Lack of opportunities for promotion leading to junior staff leaving to find promotion elsewhere, leading to a loss of skills and experience (this is reflected in the 40% turnover in staff with 2-6 years experience noted in the TRFW review). The loss of experience due to aging workforce. Encouraging people to use professionals for quality products rather than cheap defective products. Encouraging people to become engineers given the difficulty of passing the degree against the pay then achieved. Process to implement engineering changes is too complex. Most technical support organisations have been gutted resulting in a transfer of the work to technical officers (ie. EMEI publication) Excessive time wasted/liability involved in training tech staff to carry out all the above mentioned and numerous support activities. Restructuring and changing priorities in DSTO looks like taking people who are good at delivering 'Defence outcomes' and making them be more 'Scientific excellence'. This will have a massive cost to Defence outcomes. Downsizing at the top levels of the org means there will continue to be no promotion opportunities for another few years (which will encourage the best people to leave). Recognition of research expertise and PhD. Same challenge for past 4, 5, 6 decades - Engineering and engineers not PERCEIVED as significant contributors in society. The engineering "voice" is very suppressed. We have
3 engineering institutions but they do not have the necessary vision or visionaries nor the commitment to change that "sterile" (while not necessarily negative) perception. 1. Missing focus on the R&D in Science and Engineering to prepare Australia for the Future 2. Ignorance of political cadres to understand the importance of Engineering and Manufacturing base line -in an emergency-war etc 3. Lack of training opportunity for young Australian in Trades as a results of 547 Visa opportunity and the greed of politicians and business people Gaining Government and Defence acceptance that the comprehensive application of sound engineering principles is fundamental to all the processes of needs elicitation, requirements development, design and determination of design compliance, test and evaluation, operational test and evaluation, acceptance and through life support. Gaining Defence and Government acceptance that engagement of a suitably scoped professional engineering workforce is desperately needed and that that workforce is not static. It must be raised, constantly trained and refreshed and sustained. There needs to be constant recruitment and development of young engineers, reinforcement with older experience engineers and sound mechanisms and structures for the development of skills and expertise. (1) Staff cuts even though vacancies exits; leads to a great amount of job uncertainty. (2) Incompetent staff that leave their work for others to complete (or even start ). (3) Staff (both military & civilian) employed in jobs they obviously can t handle (or don t want to do)- Defence has a habit of not only retaining such fools but promoting them. 1 Retaining the right person for the right position. 2 Enabling the time to complete tasks rather than performing multiple audits for the same items and performing administrative tasks for people whom already have access the information required. 3 Not allowing professionals access to relevant technology conferences and networks. 1. Lack of insurance and compensation for Engineering decisions being made. 2. Lack of opportunities and support for maintenance of status and increasing knowledge base. 3. Professionals, either in Science or Engineering, should be remunerated at a level to ensure maximum retention of the skills and knowledge.
4 1. Establishing an effective professional development program, particularly for young engineers; support for young engineers within Defence is severely lacking. 2. Establishing a management training scheme for science and engineering professionals becoming managers; current engineering managers are severely lacking in managerial skills. 3. Getting adequately recognised for the work that we do, not only monetarily but also simply from DGs etc. I feel severely undervalued and as a result my job satisfaction is so low that I am leaving my current work area. 1. The dilution of positions in accordance with DAPSCO i.e. for Tech Officers DAPSCO says Diploma and Associate Diploma, a Diploma qual person cannot get Tech Req Authority in MSD as not qualified to IEAust standards as listed in ABR No training for or means to gain knowledge of new Ships at build/commisioniand trials. 3. Lack of trainees at all levels Management of workloads Recognition of effort required to maintain the professional benchmark. Loss of professional relevance due to lack of understanding as to what engineering/science contribute. Corporate loss of technical knowledge due to loss of staff (due to lack of career path and remuneration). Continued poor funding from government, and continued poor decision making from board and division heads. 1) No Junior Technical staff are being trained for my organisation, resulting in a loss of technical and corporate knowledge. 2) Vacancies not being filled when they arise, resulting in loss of capability as well as Staff work-overload due to the need for the work to be performed. The absence of succession planning in Defence for engineering and technical staff who retire or resign. The reliance on the private sector to undertake large amounts of engineering work that reduces the role of Defence engineering and technical staff to engineering and technical administrators, with little opportunity to practise engineering. Maintaining focus on applying our skills to real world problems when the workload overheads keep increasing. Re-establishing the lost workplace - where STEM professionals are valued, interesting &
5 challenging work is attempted, and a career is possible. A place attractive to young aspiring staff. Government policy to reduce workforce Freeze on filling vacant positions/arbitrary removal of vacant positions Allowance of work time for professional development not applied consistently across-theboard One-size-fits-all approach tailored to the lowest-common denominator equating STEM professionals with administrators, resulting in departures of professionals and a diminuition of the capability of the APS. Uncompetitive salaries resulting in poor quality employees and a diminution of skill and capability of the APS. No advertised APS positions means no jumping to next classification which means talented people leaving Increasing trend of being behind the technology curve due to; non-connectivity, antiquated IT systems and practices enforced by non-technical dinosaurs that won't leave their cushy jobs, lack of experienced technical mentors who leave once they can no longer climb the ranks as they know they can be employed elsewhere Even more limited numbers of technical staff and greater demands of new technology, meaning do more with less Engineers need to have hands-on experience in design, systems testing, production, quality and planning, which can only be satisfactorily done by re-establishing a Naval Dockyard or similar. Personnel - finding and employing people with the right skills Retention of staff - When staff leave there is no route for recruiting replacements Travel caps - this makes work difficult to perform when traveling is required (which is often!) The move to make the public service completely generic The perception that engineers are unnecessary for technically complex problems Technical advice being ignored for the sake of cutting costs 1. Maintaining a core engineering capability to be an intelligent customer/consumer. 2. Resource Structuring
6 3. Being able to maintain an effective adherence to the Tech Regulatory Framework (TRF). 1. Effective 5% p.a. pay cut as a result of the introduction of pay parking in Barton and Russell. 2. Reduction in staff numbers - reduction by attrition will lead to loss of experience & corporate knowledge, with remaining staff having to do more (yet again) leading to poorer results. 3. Lack of positions for engineering career progression at higher levels leading to senior engineers having to turn to other career paths (e.g. project manager/director) in order to attain higher remuneration even if that other path is less desirable (except for pay). Continued degradation of professional development avenues and government/department commitment to maintain skills and technologies in defence. Continued erosion of engineering level practice and reduction of work taskings to external engineering agencies/consultants. Reduction in aging workforce and difficulty in retaining/stimulating young professionals to remain in defence to maintain engineering and technical continuity. 1. Lack of clear strategic direction regarding HR management, especially in Defence Maritime Engineering. 2. Cutting Defence APS seen by Government as a saving measure when cuts in some areas may actually have an overall cost impact due to inefficient use of other funds. 3. A general de-skilling of the organisation (across both APS and ADF) even if subconsciously. - Properly communicating the impact science and engineering will have on Defence and the reasons it needs to be strongly represented in the budget - Fixing the transition process for science and engineering projects from development to operation and maintenance within Defence. - Improving the attractiveness of Defence/APS as a career for STEM professionals to build a lasting STEM capability within Defence. Training the next generation of engineers 1. Retention of science/engineering professionals through an environment of possible redundancies in the APS 2. Ability to recruit suitably skilled professionals into positions affected by retirement of senior professionals
7 3. If significant APS redundancies take hold across science / engineering professionals, this may lead to a temporary labour glut negatively affecting salaries. Getting recognition of the contribution made by professional and technical staff in the delivery of Defence capability. Increasing union membership across the professional and technical staff. Getting every current member to support and take part in any protected action needed during the next DECA campaign. Change of government - yet another round of rationalisation that only takes low hanging fruit without targeting the real defence waste which is spending on shiny toys. The LSD culture - lack of any sense of urgency. The proliferation of the risk averse culture. 1. Resource management - our time is never included in Defence Decision Making processes, and hence Defence is artificially checking FTE/Budget boxes based on incorrect information. 2. Competition with Industry for personnel. Even if we could recruit people, the APS cannot compete with Industry wages while engineers are in the same "APS" category as the rest of the workforce (like HR, for example). 3. Doing the job properly while completely overwhelmed/overworked. Eventually an overworked engineer will slip up due to their insane constant workload, that someone will be seriously injured or die. It will only be then that someone sits up and takes notice that there is an issue (and unfortunately it will be the engineer gets put in gaol because he/she has the formal "delegation" to sign off the recommendation). It is only a matter of time. Retention of younger technically skilled staff. Defence doesnt offer and/or pay the appropriate amount of remuneration to keep staff - If this doesn't improve I will also be moving. As 2 others have before me in my team. - lack of resources in order to ensure technical integrity - keeping people within the organisation (engineers are not valued so why stay?) - lack of refresh in skill set (eg access to postgraduate education is limited) 1. Making do with the resources we have 2. Retention 3. WHS!! (There is no standard Defence wide model on how to conduct the Cost Benefit Analysis that is required for the ALARP principle!)
8 1. The quality of Engineering Education is declining in Australia. 2. The number of students keen on engineering is declining, with many students not taking science subjects even in school. 3. Within DMO, I feel that past engineering knowledge and expertise is disregarded in favour of number of years on the jobs. Age is a poor proxy for quality of knowledge or level of experience and achievement. As someone who comes from industry, I feel that DMO could do well to learn the best practices of other private companies. 1. Shortage of Professional Engineers 2. Loss of experiences engineer, retaining them in the workforce. 3. Getting adequate recognition and pay for knowledge, experience and responsibility engineers bring to Defence. They cannot operate safely without us. Retaining talent Adequately staffing teams with hiring freezes Achieving expected salary increases in future negotiations Resources, the restructure and currently there is no incentive to become the worlds best in a particular area no mechanism to reward this. Shrinking resources (money). Shrinking resources (staff). Whether clear guidance on "doing less with less" eventuates, or whether it actually translates to "doing mo Competency/current skill sets Outsourcing Use of Engineers for governance issues Lack of resources comprimising professional development. E.g. conference attendance etc. Relevance, value, recognition Arbitrary cuts performance management practices not consistent with nature of research/science job changes to roles professionals not trained to do Retirement, VRs of experienced skilled staff
9 Lack of succession, not recruiting to fill the gaps Expectations of career progression in an environment that appears to be cutting back on senior positions. 1) New policies of the federal goverment on research, education and manufacturing industry. 2) Funding cuts to APS (including Defence). 3) Limiting the size of APS combined with funding cuts covering hiring of the contractors. 1. Retention and recruitment of suitably qualified and experienced personnel. 2. Recognition of the role that science and technology play in Defence. 3. A depletion of personnel due to APS recruitment issues (due to Liberal Govt) 1. A CDS who is concerned with re-organising in order to reduce costs rather than becoming involved in the technical work and representing it whole heartedly to the rest of Defence. 2. Cuts in finance. 3. Cuts in staff. 1) The prolonged recruitment freeze means attrition is happening randomly without positions being replaced. Long term this will likely result in reduced capability and gaps in the organisation. 2) Trying to support ever expanding scope in the technical space with sparse resources. 3) Promotion is a big issue in some areas and the APS framework can be very restrictive. Broad-banding and position upgrades, where proven worthy, should be given serious consideration though this is a moot point in the current no-recruitment environment. Without anywhere to go, there is a greater risk of losing experienced people from the organisation to private industry, especially those not already in the older defined-benefit super schemes which has proven incentive enough for many to stay around. For the same reasons, it's important to keep the lump sum pay progression for those at top-of-band and ensure employment packages offered remain competitive or technical expertise will continue to leak out of the organisation and into private industry. 1) Engineers who have NO REAL ENGINEERING EXPERIENCE and do not understand the platforms they are giving technical advice on. 2) Engineering process that do not value add to delivering equipment to the warfighter 3) point 1 and 2 adding the perception that engineering is a far less valuable profession to defence than project management.
10 Advancement in technology - further learning and exposure to industry. Career prospects - lack of career path for engineering professions within Defence Recognition by the organisation of the importance of the engineering profession as we are being seen as second rate citizens compared to other professionals. Neglect of Senior Engineers for Senior Management Positions by the Land Engineering Agency Perception of is an end of career for engineers (Most of LEA senior management are in this mindset now) Lack of engineering professionals making high impact decisions in DMO