Sunday 28 November 2021
Select a region
News

One in four Infrastructure roles lying empty

One in four Infrastructure roles lying empty

Wednesday 13 October 2021

One in four Infrastructure roles lying empty


Up to a quarter of positions in the Infrastructure Department are not filled with staff, with senior officers pinning the blame on the cost of living in Jersey and salaries that are “barely competitive” with the private sector.

Andy Scate, Director General for Infrastructure, Housing and Environment (IHE), told the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel that his department was “struggling” to recruit yesterday.

The discussion arose after Tim Daniels, the Director of Jersey Property Holdings (JPH), said “manning resources” within his team and the Law Officers’ Department (LOD) had caused delays with implementing the foreshore encroachment policy

I think we’ve established that the requirement would be additional personnel in Jersey Property Holdings, perhaps two individuals, and additional individuals within the LOD - again, an additional body there,” he said.  

He went on to explain that he had attempted to recruit surveyors twice in the last 12 months but had struggled to do so, which he believes is due to a number of factors.

Andy_Scate.jpg

Pictured: Andy Scate, the Director General for Infrastructure, Housing and Environment (IHE).

“Part of the challenge, I believe, is that I’ve been recruiting to a team that has been in flux,” he told the Panel.

“The organisation model has been approved and funded but I am now getting to the point where I am trying to recruit to it and we’re finding that there is not a flood of volunteers to come forward, part of that maybe to do with a perception of the directorate being one in flux. 

“Part of it is also the fact is that the salaries we are offering are sort of barely competitive with the private sector so the recruitment itself is a challenge.

“…Overall, recruiting is an issue and the local availability of professionals that can do the sort of work I want them to do is limited."

He said his team was looking at how to attract students and graduates but explained that this also posed difficulties, as no one was available to mentor them.

Mr Scate explained that JPH was not the only area of the Infrastructure department affected by those issues, saying there were “recruitment tensions” across all professional areas, including property, regulation, and engineering. 

Overall, he said the department was currently “holding vacancies of sort of 20 to 25%”, with that percentage being higher in JPH. 

“There’s a number of reasons I think for that, trying to attract staff from off island is difficult because of cost of living issues and availability, and just the lack of availability of staff on island is also affecting us,” he explained. 

“We are in the revolving process of recruitment, we are trying to attract people, we are looking at our offer, we are looking at what we are paying, obviously we need to live within the wider States pay bands but we’re struggling I think, that’s just a very honest answer.”

jobapplicationCVrecruitment.jpg

Pictured: There are currently between 20 and 25% of vacancies in IHE.

The Director General went on to say that the department was not receiving as many applications from local candidates as they would hope and that their only solution in the long term would be to grow attract and train more school leavers." 

“We’re not seeing the level of applicants we’ve seen in the past certainly from off-islanders,” he said. “It is a tension for us, it is a potential problem for us as well.”

Mr Scate said the department was “trying everything in its armoury” to recruit more people, such as holding targeted recruitment campaigns, including one for engineers currently underway, as well as targeted approaches in regulation and property. 

Meanwhile, the Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Kevin Lewis, told the Panel that the cost of living in the island had led "some key personnel" to move to the UK, "where housing is much cheaper and obviously cost of living in certain areas is cheaper".

He said at least two employees had left because of this in the last three months. 

Staffing shortages have also been causing issues in other departments.

Express revealed yesterday that non-urgent procedures have had to be rescheduled at the hospital, while one wing of the prison is being ‘locked down’ each day in order to cope with short-staffing and budget pressures.

Meanwhile, labour shortages have contributed to a further delay in the opening of the new mental health centre at Clinique Pinel.

In the private sector, hospitality was believed to be 1,500 staff short over summer and is continuing to struggle as it approaches the Christmas season.

Sign up to newsletter

 

Comments

Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by Robert Gabriel on
Housing and rental costs in Jersey are now so unaffordable that even those who possess professional qualifications don’t see any future working here. Unfortunately, as successive governments have failed to address that issue the only recourse available will rely on offering large financial inducements to potential employees to come and work here. As always though it’ll be the taxpayer who’ll foot that bill!
Posted by IanSmith97 on
And here was I reading, listening and watching over the past 40 odd years that public employees were overpaid, lazy, skiving non productive members of society. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. See how you all get along without them. Maybe some of the more economically right wing nutters will give it a rest.
Posted by nigel pearce on
Jersey has an enormous number of public service workers yet is supposed to be understaffed. Is our government taking on too much unnecessary work that should be left to the private sector or sub-contracted out (not off-island please)?
Posted by Keith Marsh on
WHY have we so many Civil Servants, ex health ? In UK the ratio is approx. 1:145 {Civil Servant to Population} ~ using the same system we should have a total of approx. 738.
There needs to be a total rethink and slim down in Directors, Managers and Staff Numbers and the services that are offered.
Posted by IanSmith97 on
Nigel, what are you going to contract out? Teachers, nurses, police, fire service, the courts, the prison, the ambulances, the hospital, schools, just what?
To place a comment please login

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?