Our people

CSIRO looks to its staff to support its values and to work in a collaborative and positive way to achieve the Organisation’s mission and purpose.

CSIRO seeks to attract the best minds and to be a place where creativity and innovation can flourish. We provide the environment, facilities and opportunities people need to respond to national challenges.

CSIRO’s People Policy confirms our commitment to developing and supporting our staff, and CSIRO’s Human Resources function provides support and leadership on people issues to leaders and staff across CSIRO. The goal is to develop high-performing teams working across the Organisation’s boundaries. Two key themes are:

  • nurturing CSIRO’s innovative culture by fostering a safe environment where innovation, collaboration, flexibility and performance flourish
  • working effectively and efficiently by using common systems, structures and improved processes to support CSIRO’s operations.

Enterprise Agreements

Enterprise Agreements set the terms and conditions of employment for CSIRO staff. Two Enterprise Agreements are in operation at CSIRO – CSIRO Enterprise Agreement 2011–14 (CSIRO EA) and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) / Combined Unions Enterprise Agreement 2011 (CDSCC EA). The CSIRO EA was negotiated with relevant unions and staff bargaining agents. It came into operation on 7 July 2011 following formal approval processes and a staff vote. This Agreement will reach its nominal expiry date in August 2014. The CDSCC EA covers non-managerial CSIRO staff employed at CDSCC, Tidbinbilla, Canberra, and was negotiated with relevant unions. It came into operation on 8 July 2011 and will reach its nominal expiry date in July 2013.

Throughout 2011–12, CSIRO has used focus groups, reference groups and other qualitative methodologies to engage with staff in a focused, topic specific way. These activities provided valuable insights to support the development of CSIRO’s 2011–15 Strategy.

Learning and development

CSIRO’s Enterprise Agreement provides all staff the opportunity to participate in at least five development days each year. This learning can be accessed through work experience, networking, coaching, mentoring, or through participation in formal programs.

CSIRO’s Learning and Development formal programs are offered in three broad areas:

  • Working in CSIRO
  • Science in CSIRO
  • Leading in CSIRO

Working in CSIRO helps individual staff members learn about CSIRO’s processes and develops an individual’s team skills. This year 164 programs were facilitated, for 1,778 participants, with an average participation rate of 70 per cent.

Science in CSIRO provides a range of programs from proposal writing, to data analysis through to project management, paper writing and presentation skills for scientists. This year 53 programs were facilitated for 821 participants, with a participation rate of 85 per cent.

Leading in CSIRO provides programs for new, experienced and high potential leaders. This year 24 high-potential leaders participated in the Leading the Research Enterprise program, 49 in the New Experienced Leader Program and 94 in the New People Leader Program. In total, CSIRO offered seven modularised leadership programs with a participation rate of 100 per cent. In addition, 145 new leaders accessed the Guidance for New Leaders eLearning suite available to support their transition to leadership at CSIRO.

Diversity and Inclusion

During 2011–12, CSIRO developed a renewed Diversity and Inclusion Plan for implementation over the 2012–15 strategy period. The Plan builds on the foundations of past Plans and seeks to produce a step-change in our diversity and inclusion performance through enhanced leader responsibility, visibility and engagement.

CSIRO’s Indigenous Engagement Strategy, which aims to increase Indigenous participation in CSIRO’s research and development agenda and activities, continues to be progressed (see more on our Indigenous Engagement Strategy on our Collaboration page). The Indigenous Employment Strategy aims to increase the employment of Indigenous peoples through the implementation of several new employment programs and targeted approaches. CSIRO’s commitment is reflected in the CSIRO Enterprise Agreement.

Staff demographics

CSIRO staff are employed under section 32 of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949. At 30 June 2012, CSIRO had a total of 6,492 staff, which has a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 5,720.

Table 3.3 shows the number of staff employed in different functional areas and Table 3.4 shows staff by state. Overall, the total number of staff decreased by 0.3 per cent (22) over the last 12 months. Research Science staff increased by 4.5 per cent (83). Voluntary staff turnover was at a record low of 4.24 per cent. The proportion of female staff in CSIRO increased from 39 to 40 per cent as did the proportion of female Research Science staff, increasing from 24 to 25 per cent (up from 21 per cent in 2007–08).

Table 3.3: Staff numbers (headcount) as at 30 June

Table 3.3: Staff numbers (headcount) as at 30 June
Functional Area 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 % Female for 2011–12

Research Scientists

1,727

1,837

1,907

1,865

1,948

25

Research Project Staff

2,246

2,215

2,241

2,166

2,094

43

Senior Specialists

13

13

15

12

11

27

Research Management

194

176

161

165

166

11

Research Consulting

29

26

34

40

42

14

Technical Services

542

545

630

643

613

12

Communication and Information Services

402

407

429

375

391

64

General Services

66

51

48

56

40

60

Administrative Support1

1,082

1,112

1,075

1,048

1,057

75

General Management

122

128

140

144

130

28

Total headcount

6,423

6,510

6,680

6,514

6,492

40

FTE

5,768

5,866

5,956

5,780

5,720

37

Table 3.4: Staff numbers by state as at 30 June 2012

Table 3.4: Staff numbers by state as at 30 June 2012
State Metropolitan Regional Total

ACT

1,394

 

1,394

NSW

802

320

1,122

NT

29

10

39

QLD

735

128

863

SA

397

 

397

TAS

383

 

383

VIC

1,446

343

1,789

WA

498

7

505

Grand Total

5,684

808

6,492

Staff survey

In March 2012, an all Staff Survey was conducted by independent survey partners Towers Watson. The purpose of the survey was to collect feedback from staff on their experiences of working in CSIRO. The survey also gauged cultural aspects of the Organisation’s performance in terms of supportive conditions and barriers to the implementation of the 2011–15 CSIRO Strategy.

A response rate of 68 per cent was achieved. CSIRO’s performance was favourable in the engagement, values and diversity categories (see Figure 3.5* for a snapshot of the key survey results). Relative to other global research organisations, CSIRO’s staff satisfaction rated highly in relation to:

  • engagement with and pride in CSIRO
  • a strong belief in the Organisation’s goals and values
  • support by immediate managers that help staff achieve work-life balance
  • continued development of skills and abilities
  • involving team members in decisions that affect their work.

CSIRO is committed to continuously improving its position as an employer of choice through better understanding and responding to the challenges staff face in their roles. The survey identified some key areas for improvement, such as increasing our internal collaboration and knowledge transfer across teams; consulting more widely about change management and its implementation; and our processes in relation to resource allocation and client engagement.

We will be addressing these challenges over the next 12 months, working with staff to improve our performance in these areas. In summary, there has been considerable support for our strategic direction, our goals and values, and the pride we share in our Organisation.

*Figure 3.5: Snapshot of key survey results

Please refer to Part three: our organisation of the 2011-12 CSIRO annual report in PDF or RTF format available in the Downloads section for the full detail.

  1. Administrative Support includes: Staff who provide science-based administrative and management services and systems.

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