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Case Study – Bureau of Meteorology – Job Family Model

By focusing on workplace planning and data mining, the Bureau of Meteorology implemented a job family model to profile and classify their workforce. Through this process they found a correlation between the length of service and type of job role. This has informed the way they manage their talent pipeline. Now the Bureau pairs older workers with those just starting out in their career. Not only does this demonstrate how the Bureau values knowledge and experience, it also encourages knowledge transfer to younger workers who are mastering their job and their science.

The Bureau of Meteorology is Australia’s national weather, climate, water and environment agency. Through regular forecasts, warnings, monitoring and advice spanning the Australian region and Antarctic territory, the Bureau provides one of the most fundamental and widely used services of government.

The Bureau’s work is important, with every Australian counting on their accurate predictions and forecasts— it’s a science, and a passion for Bureau workers. For many, their science is a career for life, and as a result the organisation has the second oldest workforce in terms of median age in the Australian Public Service.

It’s fair to say Bureau workers stay on because they are specialists and they love what they do. Length of service highlights this, as does the willingness of many alumni  to volunteer their experience and share their knowledge in ‘emeritus’ roles, or return temporarily in a short-term capacity to perform specialist job roles, fill a vacancy, or relieve those working in more remote locations.

Data mining – insights into a changing workforce

As people move through their careers, the Bureau has started to analyse employee intentions, roles and career pathways to better inform strategic workforce planning.

It is through data mining and understanding the profile of their workforce that the Bureau has not only identified risks but found solutions to their existing and future workforce challenges. The Bureau now uses this data to plan for the future workforce —their ‘talent pipeline’.

By analysing data to understand the intentions of their older, highly skilled workforce, and using this insight to match people to positions or employees to each other, the Bureau promotes knowledge transfer, coaching and mentoring, and the love of the science continues to the next generation.

Talent pipeline – managing a multigenerational workforce

The Bureau’s approach started with classifying all filled jobs using the Australian Public Service Commission’s Job Family model. This was an effective way to classify 30 per cent of their workforce. They expanded and tailored this model to include other job families unique to the Bureau including weather forecasting, climate science and other specialist roles.

What they learned both challenged and confirmed anecdotal feedback and assumptions about different occupations and the average length of service for each role. The Bureau is now actively implementing tailored strategies to address the talent pipeline to better on-board new staff, and provide older workers with the opportunity to share their knowledge through buddy and mentor relationships, well before retirement. By facilitating these connections through workforce planning, Bureau employees feel more valued individually and collectively.

For more information—Investing in Experience

Investing in Experience: Working for Today and Tomorrow snapshot (PDF, 2.0 MB) offers more advice about workforce demographics and how to turn identified risks into opportunities.

About the Bureau of Meteorology

The Bureau of Meteorology is Australia's national weather, climate, water and environment agency. Its expertise and services assist Australians in dealing with the harsh realities of their natural environment, including drought, floods, fires, storms, tsunami and tropical cyclones. Through regular forecasts, warnings, monitoring and advice spanning the Australian region and Antarctic territory, the Bureau provides one of the most fundamental and widely used services of government.

The Bureau contributes to national social, economic, cultural and environmental goals by providing observational, meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic services and by undertaking research into science and environment related issues in support of its operations and services.

Comcare is working with organisations to share better practice. Comcare thanks the Bureau of Meteorology for sharing their experience and for highlighting the importance of workforce planning and data mining to manage the talent pipeline.

Last updated: 31 Mar 2020
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