Tax Office special entry recruitment scheme targets refugees, veterans and primary caregivers

By Stephen Easton

Thursday March 30, 2017

The Australian Taxation Office has established a special-entry recruitment program targeted at military veterans, refugees and people who want to work part-time.

The ATO has already hired 20 new staff members under the Opening Doors program, since it commenced in November last year, according to a statement released yesterday:

The ‘Opening Doors’ program is unique to the ATO and a first of its kind for public service recruitment. By targeting specific, under-represented groups, the ATO is seeking to raise the profile of these employees in the workforce and promote increasingly flexible work opportunities. …

Each initiative in Opening Doors has a unique focus. The ATO seeks to fill roles across a variety of disciplines including – but not limited to – law, accounting, economics, design, information technology, customer service, human resources, marketing and communications.

The move follows the establishment of two special-entry programs in New South Wales that respectively aim to recruit refugees and military veterans to public sector jobs.

The ATO is going one step further in trying to attract recruits from groups that are currently under-represented in its workforce by offering “part-time opportunities for high calibre professionals looking for flexible working hours and conditions” — however, it says this offer is particularly aimed at those who are a primary caregiver at home.

Some employees might want to work part-time for other reasons — perhaps they like to paint, and don’t feel they need a full-time salary, or maybe they just don’t want to discuss their family arrangements — and some research suggests it may be more trouble than it’s worth to ask employees to justify their requests.

“If not, why not?” is the popular flexibility mantra that has been endorsed by the Prime Minister, taken up recently by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and championed by the head of the APS, Martin Parkinson, since his time as Treasury secretary a few years ago.

But once senior executives have announced that the option to vary one’s work hours or location is now the default, it’s not always easy for the mid-level executives further down the line to deal with specific requests from staff.

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