Mark Hammer

The federal agency I work for also provides numbers like that, in a user-configurable data cube, with regular quarterly updates. So, for instance, I can do a query regarding how many individualsin a given occupational group were hired from outside, by agency, by region, by quarter, and it spits out an Excel table. I’d direct you to it, but I think the site only has internal access for Canadian federal employees, and even there I think it is restricted to folks in HR and those working in our agency (although we have a crew busy providing tailored reports every day for folks who don’t have direct access).

It is always an eye opener to see how big…or small, various organizations actually are, as well as where the hiring and increases in capacity are, in terms of job families and functional communities.

One of the areas where our own system comes up a little short, and yours may too, is in the area of contingent workforce. Typically, the numbers shown on data cubes such as ours are for those identifiable individuals on the ongoing payroll. Consultants and casual employees don’t show up in our tables, sometimes making it harder to know when a seemingly steady number of FTEs has been supplemented by hiring a lot of temp help.

In our (Canadian) particular instance, senior managers were asked a year and a half ago to aim for something in the neighbourhood of a 7-8% reduction in staff across the board. Of course, the work still needs to get done, so in a great many instances, temp help – whether consultants, or short-term casual contracts, students, or people hired through temp agencies – gets hired to take up some of the slack in order to get that work done. Under those circumstances, it can be difficult to ascertain whether the overall salary costs have actually come down. I’m not implying anything untoward, just noting that the tabulation grows in complexity when you have a lot of hastily-requested comings and goings. At the very least, it introduces some lag in the numbers to be reported while all that stuff gets collated. I suspect this is a challenge for all such HR tracking systems.