Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 23:19 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 23:19 | SYDNEY

APS recruitment: Literacy optional


Sam Roggeveen


30 July 2009 20:09

The Government is recruiting internationally for the senior ranks of the public service, with this advertisement running in the latest issue of The Economist. But given the quality of the ad copy, you have to wonder what calibre of candidates the Government will attract. Here's the opening paragraph, featuring that always popular redundancy, 'actively'.

The Departments of Prime Minister & Cabinet, Treasury, Finance & Deregulation, together with a number of key Agencies at the centre of the Government reform agenda are actively building the capability of their executive teams.

Pray, how would one passively build the capability of executive teams? There's also a missing comma* after 'agenda', but let's continue:

In these challenging economic times private investment has slowed - government has stepped in - with the biggest infrastructure investment in Australia’s history. The government has embarked on the largest ever nation building strategy of our times.

Well, someone at the recruitment agency has been reading Rudd's speeches about the GFC. But those dashes make no grammatical sense at all. And what about the historical claim in the next sentence? Largest ever and largest of our times?

A little further down:

Now is the time for the best and the brightest to exercise excellent leadership skills in roles which will deliver on these key initiatives.

This is what happens when you Google Kennedy and Churchill quotes, then add a dollop of management jargon. Wouldn't 'exercise leadership' have done?

Last, a (presumably inadvertent) kick in the teeth to every existing senior public servant (my emphasis):

You will have proven your ability to provide strategic advice, to influence and manage outcomes in environments as diverse as management consulting, law, economics, financial markets, investment banking, infrastructure, transport, project management, academia, resources in functional or key business unit management or similar leadership roles. Or you could already be in a senior role in the public sector.

Read on if you want to know more about these 'senior roles', which will emerge as 'opportunities' in the 'process', and which require 'competencies' to deal with 'stakeholders'. Oh, and Don Watson: call your agent. Time for a new edition of Death Sentence.

* Spelling of 'comma' now fixed! Thanks Nick.