Employing ICT workers, such as software developers, network engineers and IT managers, makes up the single largest category of spending on contingent labour by the New South Wales government.
Contingent labour refers to people employed by a recruitment agency and hired by agencies in order to fill a skills gap.
The state government in 2015-16 spent $1.1 billion on contingent labour, up from $503 million in 2011-12, according to a new report from the state’s auditor-general.
Last year, the largest number of contingent workers was in the administration category, according to the auditor-general’s report. However, ICT contingent labour was responsible for around half of the total spend during 2016.
In 2016, around 2.3 per cent of the total public sector workforce in NSW was contingent labour (equivalent to about 7571 full-time employees).
The report includes an in-depth assessment of the use of contingent labour at the Department of Education, Transport for NSW, and the Department of Industry.
The auditor-general’s report concluded that none of the agencies “were able to demonstrate that contingent labour is the best resourcing strategy to meet their agency’s business needs”.
Of the three agencies, only the Department of Education had timely and accurate data on its contingent workforce, the report states.At the time of the audit, the Department of Education was the only one of the three to have implemented Contractor Central — which comprises a vendor management system and a recruitment agency broker (the Department of Industry introduced the program after the audit).