Lifting the Public Servant Cap and Its Effects on Wellington Contractors

Lifting the Cap on Public Servants

As introduced in 2009, the recruitment and employment of core administration employees across government agencies abides by an imposed limit of just over 36,500. With the seat of government in Wellington, it is expected that a chunk of this employment is based in the capital. 

Over the last few years, statistics have noted a significant increase in consulting and contractor spend; doubling from $278 million in 2009 to $550m in 2017 alone

A review of the cap on employment has found negative consequences and risks, including a decrease in institutional knowledge, difficulty meeting increased demand for services, restriction of the ability of agencies to improve services through transformational change, and impacted recruitment of new graduates. 

As a result, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins, in May this year, proposed and later announced the reversal of the cap on employment of public servants; with a view of supporting an approach to “build your own, rather than buy external expertise, to ensure there is the ability to deliver long-term value to New Zealanders.”

How This Will Affect Wellington Contractors

Contractors in Wellington have begun to ask questions as to how this change will affect their opportunities - and rightly so. 

Now, there is talk about the present Government being a “one-term government”, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stating, "if you end up being a one-term Government as a consequence of changes you've made, you probably haven't brought people on that journey.” While this statement may have been cast over New Zealand's prison population, it certainly does include any and all other policies implemented over the Government’s term; begging the question - How will this affect Wellington Contractors? 

The Way We See It

According to The Johnson Group’s Associate Director and Contracting Specialist Heather Haines, it is unlikely that we will see any immediate change in the contracting market. 

Regardless of the implementation of new policies, Ministries and Government Agencies are under immediate pressure to deliver on projects and varying programmes of work. 
In any case, it remains important for Contractors to continue strengthening their kits and sharpening their tools. 

If the employment market in Wellington turns to favouring permanent and fixed term hires, contractors and permanent candidates alike must look at the skills they have and how they can continue to better themselves. 

In a market where technical skills are aplenty, candidates must be able to standout with highly developed soft skills, including relationship and stakeholder management. 

How The Johnson Group Can Help You

As New Zealand’s specialist public sector recruitment agency, our consultants keep on top of what is happening in our Government’s employment market. We are a specialist recruitment agency, which means our strong industry knowledge help bring you a step ahead of the rest. 

If you are interested in having a chat, feel free to contact one any one of our team on (04) 473-6699 or email them directly

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