ALIA Dreaming 08 – Late AM Plenary – Workforce Planning

Beyond a dream: the real picture of employment in the library and information sectors in Australia – Dr Gillian Hallam QUT

Nexus 1 – a snapshot of the LIS profession in 2006 – individual respondents

Nexus 2 – pilot study with CAVAL in late 2006, then institutional respondents

Supported by ALIA and NSLA with interest from other groups

Goal to look at recruitment and retention, training and development

Nexus 2 required active participation of library management to obtain data at an organisational level. 82% of respondents completed all parts of the survey.

Respondents – large number of special libraries, with their subsectors within, 22 public library, 20 academic libraries then smaller number of school libraries and state libraries.
By state, NSW largest, then QLD and Vic.

Public libraries comprised 45% from Vic and 36% from NSW which was encouraged by state initiatives. Size of libraries varied widely.

Staffing patterns – smaller libraries, public library and school libraries had smaller numbers, then at the top end it was academic, state and large public libraries. Casual/temp staff highest in academic, but strong also in public and special.

Non LIS staff were mainly IT/Systems, web design, finance, marketing, management, graphic design and more. 77% of public and 73% of school and 15% of academic libraries had more than 85% female staff.

CALD staff were presented in only 76% of libraries, mainly public, academic, government and NSLA. 0.02% of staff were ATSI.

Absenteeism was not a strong concern, staff turnover rates being too low was favoured by 1/3 of respondents. Pattern had not changed much in the previous 5 years. About 14% reported that over 50% of their staff over 55 years. 22% had 50% of under 45.

Repondents value recruitment strategies in the profession, but only 18% had such policies in place. 45% were considering introducing such programs. Lack of funding was major issue and library size were issues.

Recruitment has gotten harder in the last 5 years, particularly in regional and remote areas. Para professionals are being employed more in professional positions – 57% and vice versa 40%. 33% had changed their recruitment strategies, with more advertising, more online lists and headhunting being more utilised.

Desirable skills required were years of people skills, communication skills, technology skills, particular generalist skills, certain specialist skills, leadership potential and managerial skills. Desired attributes were flexibility, learn new skills, etc. The desired attributes did not match the actual attributes of library staff very well.

When people leave the oranisation, there is not much cross sector movement, they go to the same sort of library. People stay because they like their job, their workplace and the people they work with. However, was fear they wouldnt be able to get the same salary and conditions. Promotional opportunities were seen to be better today than 5 years ago.

This has been a quick summary into the Nexus 2 data, looking specifically at employment factors, far more to explore including staff training, professional development, leadership, sector reviews and comparisons. Main report will be available soon.

Question: Why was the response rate relatively low – just under half of potential respondents did so? Everyone is so busy, time factor was main reason given. Looking to repeat it every 5 years, like the census. Data collected from 101 libraries is still of significance.

Question: Librarians dont want to have supervisory tasks, but that is what is advertised in Canada. Its the same here – jobs need to be more appealing, gender is also an issue. Young graduates are leaving because of disillusionment with managers.

Question: Level of support for doctoral level. Not much in this survey, but only coming up when there is an issue – ie. fighting fires. In Germany, top library managers have Phds.

Researching and benchmarking best practice in library staff development: a joint Australia/UK study – Richard Sayers – CAVAL

Project is ongoing, but have enough data to start teasing out some early findings.

Study covers only uni libraries at this time, but wider application is desired.

Benchmarking – on ongoing structured process by which we evaluate the functions, work processes and services of organisations recognised for their leadership an innovation – undertaken for the process of comparison an improvement, new ideas forecasting, planning, goal setting, process improvement

Effective benchmarking compares like with like – CAVAL and EMALINK (UK) were a good match for comparison. Involved planning, analysis, implementation and reviews (the PAIR process). Built on work already done in Australia since the 1980s.

Metrics investigated were SD expenditure as a % of payroll, average SD hours per staff member, SD cost per person per hour, % of employees undertaking SD, % of positive ratings of SD, % of reported gains in learning, % improvement in performance, costs savings/efficiency gains. IFLAs standards proposed that 0.5-1% of payroll be spent on SD, 10% of work hours should be SD. IFLA also provides statements on learning needs assessement and more.

Goal is to create a dashboard of indicators that will work for their organisations, their peers and the professional.

Aim was to identify, share and compare knowledge about SD practices an to establish common measurement points. DImensions utliised mirrored the metrics highlighted above.

Beginning of the dashboard covers the buget for SD – both organisations members mostly met. No figures on hours, evaluation stats were high as was planning (70% approx.) ROI was only 18% for CAVAL and 57% for EMALINK but still a work in progress.

Assessment so far – good overall, but failed with misaligned expectations an insufficient resources. There is room for improvement.

Question: IFLA figures dont match – 1% of funds and 10% of staff time dont match our national situtation. Unfortunately there are no other figures, 10% is unrealistic though (1 day a fortnight in reality).