Our people

Our people and culture are fundamental to our current and future success in delivering positive impact for Australia and humanity. Guided by our Values, we seek to lift our capacity for innovation – providing the environment, facilities and opportunities our people need to work collaboratively and creatively.

Our People Strategy underpins our commitment to developing and supporting our people. Our Human Resources and Organisation Development functions provide support and leadership on people issues to leaders and staff across our Organisation as well as guidance and compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1997. During 2013–14, we focused on the following areas from our People Strategy:

  • Values and innovation culture
    • diversity and inclusion and embedding our Values
    • change management, especially supporting the Integrated Reform Program
    • improving service delivery and quality, especially in recruitment and service centre operations
    • code of conduct and a revision to our conduct policy
    • psychological health and wellbeing and complex case management, especially in association with the Independent Investigation into workplace bullying and other inappropriate behaviour
    • performance management
  • Learning and development
    • building our leadership capability
    • developing programs and capability to address recommendations from the Independent Investigation into workplace bullying and other inappropriate behaviour
    • extending our reach and efficiency of delivery by increasing the proportion of eLearning programs within our curriculum
  • Capability planning
    • design of the new line of business structure including key leadership and support roles and population of the new roles
    • workforce planning and deployment
    • Indigenous employment
    • role and accountability statements and capability profiles.

Enterprise agreements

Enterprise agreements set the terms and conditions of employment for CSIRO staff. Two enterprise agreements are in operation: CSIRO Enterprise Agreement 2011–14 and the CSIRO Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) Enterprise Agreement 2014–17.

The CSIRO Enterprise Agreement 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. Preliminary planning and preparations for the development of the next CSIRO Agreement were completed during 2013–14. The Australian Government Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy was released on 28 March 2014. It applies to the Australian Public Service (APS) and non-APS Australian Government agencies, including CSIRO. CSIRO will undertake formal bargaining to negotiate its next Agreement during 2014–15.

The CDSCC Enterprise Agreement covers non-managerial CSIRO staff employed at CDSCC, Tidbinbilla, Canberra and came into operation on 18 June 2014. It will reach its nominal expiry date in June 2017.

Guided by our values, we seek to lift our capacity for innovation – providing the environment, facilities and opportunities our people need to work collaboratively and creatively.

Learning and development

During 2013–14, our enterprise learning and development curriculum delivered 4855 development days, an increase of 18 per cent on the previous year. In addition to increasing demand for existing programs, six new face-to-face programs and four new eLearning programs have been introduced.

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. The formal program component provided by our Learning and Development function in 2013–14 represents 16 per cent of the development days our people are provided through the Enterprise Agreement, up from 13 per cent in 2012–13.

4855 development days delivered via our learning and development curriculum.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion has been an enterprise-wide focus during 2013–14 as implementation of our 2012–15 Diversity and Inclusion Plan continues. 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.

Some highlights during 2013–14 include:

  • continuation of the Chief Executive-led Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee and annual progress reporting on diversity and inclusion metrics
  • development of a comprehensive diversity and inclusion training curriculum targeting all staff levels. Roll-out of the first module has begun – unconscious bias training for leaders
  • establishment of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Network to provide support and social networking for our people who identify themselves in these groups
  • launch of a diversity and inclusion research project to inform and improve the internal capacity of leaders to effectively engage and create value from diversity across our Organisation.

Our Indigenous Engagement Strategy, which aims to achieve greater Indigenous participation in our research and development agenda and activities, continues to progress (more on measuring our performance).

Our Indigenous Employment Strategy aims to increase the employment of Indigenous peoples through implementing employment programs and targeted approaches. This includes Indigenous cadetship and traineeship programs for undergraduates and high school leavers that combine formal study with work-based training. As at 30 June 2014, we have 69 Indigenous employees within CSIRO. Our commitment to Indigenous employment is reflected in our CSIRO Enterprise Agreement.

Work undertaken in early 2014 to establish our new CSIRO operating model (effective 1 July 2014), included the appointment of nine new Flagship Directors. It is disappointing that no female staff were appointed to these senior leadership roles. This outcome is unacceptable to CSIRO and work is being undertaken to better understand what could have been done differently to achieve a better diversity outcome at this level. Targeted interventions have been put in place for our next layer of leaders to strengthen our merit based selection process by encouraging a wider pool of applicants, especially our target diversity groups – women, cultural and linguistically diverse staff, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and staff who are under 35.

Independent investigation

On 5 February 2013, the CSIRO Chief Executive, with support of the CSIRO Board, established an independent process to examine public speculation and Parliamentary scrutiny as to whether CSIRO had a ‘toxic culture of workplace bullying’. The Independent Investigator appointed was Emeritus Professor Pearce AO, a former Commonwealth Ombudsman. The scope of the investigation was broad and included ‘inappropriate behaviour’ (that is, breaches of the CSIRO Code of Conduct), in addition to ‘workplace bullying’.

The Independent Investigation ran from February 2013 to April 2014 and involved the Independent Investigator receiving submissions from former and current staff and affiliates. Professor Pearce, assisted by an investigation team from HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, provided his first General Findings Report to CSIRO on 31 July 2013. CSIRO accepted all its recommendations. Professor Pearce provided his final General Findings Report to CSIRO on 15 April 2014 and again we accepted all its recommendations. Both General Findings Reports, including their general recommendations, are public documents.

The overall outcome from the investigation was that no major or widespread issues with unreasonable behaviour or bullying was found in CSIRO. However, in some specific cases the management of concerns about conduct issues had not been fully satisfactory. The General Findings Reports provided a series of recommendations for policy and procedural changes which will move CSIRO’s policies and processes to being ‘state-of-the-art’ in this field.

We are committed to implementing all recommendations made in the General Findings Reports, noting that in some cases, implementation will require revised arrangements under our CSIRO Enterprise Agreement. We have been working through the streams of work to be pursued in order to respond to the recommendations and to improve the management of staff welfare issues.

In addition to these, we also implemented the CSIRO Innovation Roadmap under our 2011–15 CSIRO Strategy which provides an overarching context for the implementation of the recommendations and a key component of which relates to organisational culture.

Staff demographics

Our people are employed under Section 32 of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949. At 30 June 2014, CSIRO had a total of 5964 staff, which has a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 5423. Table 3.2 shows the number of staff employed in different functional areas and Figure 3.5 shows staff by state.

Overall, the total number of staff decreased by 7.9 per cent (513) over the last 12 months. Research Science staff decreased by 3.2 per cent (60). Voluntary staff turnover remained low at 4.6 per cent. The proportion of female staff stayed constant at 40 per cent and the proportion of female Research Science staff increased marginally from 24.4 to 25 per cent over the past 12 months.

Table 3.2: Staff numbers (headcount)
Functional Area 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 % Female for 2013–14
Total headcount 6680 6514 6492 6477 5964 40
FTE 5956 5780 5720 5751 5423 37
Research Scientists 1907 1865 1948 1858 1798 25
Research Project Staff 2241 2166 2094 2149 1874 43
Senior Specialists 15 12 11 25 17 41
Research Management 161 165 166 177 181 13
Research Consulting 34 40 42 47 47 17
Technical Services 630 643 613 623 569 12
Communication and Information Services 429 375 391 369 326 68
General Services 48 56 40 38 34 59
Administrative Support59 1075 1048 1057 1068 980 76
General Management 140 144 130 123 138 29

Figure 3.5: Staff numbers (headcount) by state

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