Feds apparently not aware of impending IT skills shortage in government

Among the recommendations that task force has come up with (see story p.6) is that the Ontario Public Service review the pay of IT people to increase recruiting and retention of said people. If the province takes that advice, it will be in stark contrast to what’s happening to their colleagues in the federal government. The Computer Systems Group of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada at press time were taking a strike vote in response to their employer’s — the Treasury Board — efforts to do away with the two to four per cent retention allowance they have been receiving since about 2000 until their latest contract expired. The government’s perspective seems to be that it no longer needs to offer incentives to IT workers to keep them, since the grass is now greener on the public sector side of the fence post-Y2K.One wonders, in view of the fact that several federal departments invested last year in SAS software to help deal with the skills shortage predicted by Statistics Canada over the next decade, if this is the wisest move. A more logical approach might be to retain the incentive and apply some of the Ontario task force’s recommendations in order to save the equivalent of that pay on better-managed IT projects. That way, everyone wins.

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