Publicjobs.ie is the online portal of The Public Appointments Service. It hires for all areas of the Civil Service in Ireland today. With a remit as broad as that, Publicjobs.ie has taken a number of steps to increase the work that they are doing in Diversity and Inclusion and make the Civil Service more representative of The Republic of Ireland as a nation today. Initiatives such as working with Inclusio saw that of the employees that shared their data with (76% of all PAS staff) 12.6% self-identified as e LGBTQI+, 14.4% describe themselves as neurodiverse, 2.9% of the organisation describe themselves as an immigrant and 3.4% describe themselves as disabled, (of this, 1.7% requested reasonable accommodations in the workplace). I interviewed their ED&I team to find out more:
- To someone who may not be aware, what is publicjobs.ie?
The Public Appointments Service (PAS), through publicjobs.ie, is the centralised provider of recruitment services to the civil service, key public sector organisations like HSE and An Garda Síochána as well as to over 150 public bodies in Ireland. We believe that a thriving, inclusive public service is energised by employees from all sectors of society. PAS has a key role in supporting our clients to build public service workspaces that embrace inclusion and reflect the growing diversity in wider Irish society. This diversity leads to greater innovation, more productive workplaces and responsive and inclusive policies, programmes, and services for all of Ireland’s communities.
- What are publicjobs.ie strategic priorities for ED&I?
Our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) strategy was developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders and three areas were identified as priorities:
- Greater knowledge and understanding of diversity in the recruitment market and the Irish public sector.
- Recruitment and selection processes encourage and enable access to candidates from diverse backgrounds.
- Ensure our culture models best practice in ED&I and we support our clients in building inclusive workplaces.
- What organisations in Ireland are publicjobs.ie working with to achieve those goals?
At publicjobs.ie, we work with many different organisations in order to achieve our Diversity and Inclusion goals. Some examples of other organisations that we collaborate with are AHEAD, KARE, WALK, National Disability Authority (NDA), Exchange House Ireland, National Travellers Service, Involve, Kerry Traveller’s Womens Group, Irish Traveller Movement, Open Doors Initiative, ESRI, IPA – Institute of Public Administration, Dublin LGBTQ Pride and AkiDwa.
Recently we have been working with Employers for Change who delivered disability training on inclusive recruitment and inclusive communications to a cross-section of internal units and teams at PAS; we have worked with Open Doors to review current citizenship eligibility criteria and with the ESRI on our equality monitoring data review.
- In terms of the graduate positions within publicjobs.ie, what role will Diversity and Inclusion play in hiring of new roles?
Publicjobs aims to ensure that each and every candidate has an equitable opportunity to success as they go through our recruitment processes. We are conscious that we need to proactively attract a variety of candidates with different lived experiences to help drive innovation and productivity across the service. Our Publicjobs.ie website is increasingly accessible as we work towards meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2. Our advertisements are placed in national, local and community media, in different languages if necessary and in gender neutral and culturally sensitive language. Our application form is web based and accessible. Our assessments are constantly reviewed to ensure they are equitable and fair. Should a candidate with a disability require reasonable accommodations during assessment or interview stage, PAS is well equipped to meet their requirements at any stage in our process. Our interviews are competency based, our interview board members are trained in disability awareness and unconscious bias, and in competency-based interviewing to reduce any bias that may unfairly impact on a candidate.
- What success have you had in hiring for underrepresented groups?
The Public Appointments Service (PAS) recently used the Inclusio platform to gather equality monitoring data in PAS, to better understand our own workforce.
Of those that shared their data with us (76% of all PAS staff) 12.6% self-identified as e LGBTQI+, 14.4% describe themselves as neurodiverse, 2.9% of the organisation describe themselves as an immigrant and 3.4% describe themselves as disabled, (of this, 1.7% requested reasonable accommodations in the workplace).
Over the years PAS has also employed underrepresented groups from particular programmes such as Ahead’s Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) programme for graduates with disabilities and the Oireachtas Work Learning (OWL) programme, a supported-work model for candidates with intellectual disabilities. [AG2]
- Publicjobs.ie do use psychometric testing as part of its recruitment policy, what reasonable accommodations do you implement, so that underrepresented groups in the workplace can succeed in these tests?
At publicjobs.ie we endeavour to provide reasonable accommodations to all candidates that need this support at all stages of the selection process such as psychometric testing, presentation, written exercises, role play scenarios and interviews. Some of the reasonable accommodations offered include extra time or flexible time where appropriate, scribe, reader, alternate formats (such as coloured paper/screen etc), sign interpreter, screen readers such as JAWS, braille, closed captioning, briefings for interview board members and permitting candidates to take notes into interview, amongst others.
- What advice would you give to someone who is applying to the Irish Civil Service, who is from an underrepresented group in the workforce?
As the leading recruiter for the civil and public service, we promote and support the development and employment of people with disabilities and promote diversity and inclusion throughout the civil and public sector. We strive to make our services, on-site premises, and website as accessible as possible and welcome people from diverse backgrounds to use our services.
Please see below links for advice for each stage of our recruitment process.
Application Advice – Application Advice | Public/Civil Service Jobs | publicjobs.ie
Test Advice – Test Advice for Public Jobs | publicjobs.ie
Interview Advice – Interview Advice | Advice for Public Service Jobs | publicjobs.ie
Accessibility –Accessibility | publicjobs.ie
- What have been some of the highlights for the organisation in recent years in terms of Diversity and Inclusion?
One of the main highlights was our ED&I strategy which, in more recent months, has brought some great accomplishments. In 2022, we had the introduction of the Traveller and Roma Internship and the WAM programme now has a route to permanent employment for participants first time in eighteen years. In addition, the OWL programme, the first of its kind in any national parliament, won the Workplace and Organisation of the Future at the Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Award, and as an organisation we recently hosted the You Count – Building a more Diverse & Inclusive Public Service conference which focused on the power of data to drive change in the workplace our and Head of ED&I recently won Diversity Champion at the CIPD Ireland HR Awards 2023 which celebrates her actions to improve the working experience, representation and engagement of underrepresented groups.. In an effort to support increased diversity we are also working expand of the current immigration eligibility criteria required to access jobs in the civil service.
Lastly our Public Jobs Schools Resource Initiative, [SM3] is an educational programme for post-primary students aimed at sparking interest in the wide variety of career opportunities that are available across the public sector. It comprises of the publicjobs.ie Schools Resource Kit and The Pitch – The publicjobs.ie Schools Advertising Challenge. The initiative is designed for classrooms and self-directed learning which includes a wealth of teachable moments for TY, LCA and LCVP classes. The objective of the initiative is to help demystify the public sector and its career opportunities in a fun, convenient and engaging way. A major component of the initiative are employee video testimonials featuring from real life employees from diverse and varied backgrounds speaking about their career path from school to where they are now. Once students have learned everything, they need to know about the public sector they can put those new skills into action by entering The Pitch – The publicjobs.ie Schools Advertising Challenge. To enter, students are challenges to create a 30 second video advertisement pitching the public sector as an attractive career pathway for their fellow students for the opportunity to win prizes such as the opportunity to interview the Taoiseach, an action-packed visit to the Defence Forces at Curragh Camp or a behind the scenes all access studio tour of TG4.
- How did the pandemic affect the Diversity and Inclusion initiatives the company runs? Are there any positives you can take out of this time?
In terms of our Diversity and Inclusion initiatives the pandemic came with some positives as well as many challenges. For instance, our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) strategy, Traveller and Roma and the Oireachtas Work Learning (OWL) programmes were all delayed. However, there was a major positive that came of the pandemic, and this was a change in mindset.
As a result of the pandemic people became much more aware of equality, diversity, and inclusion, what it was and why it is important. They became sensitive to other people’s situations but also more understanding and tolerant of other individuals’ situations. At the end of 2020 there was a perceptible shift and the engagement in ED&I issues massively increased.
Around this time, we also looked at our reasonable accommodations data, and how we can get an overall picture of the types of reasonable accommodations that are required. We ask people before testing and interview and before assignment if they want to disclose a disability or if they require any reasonable accommodations.
Gathering this reasonable accommodation data across PAS was more easily achieved during the pandemic as we were now looking at the organisation as a whole rather than by each department or unit with respect to this data. This, more complete picture of the types and volumes of reasonable accommodation requirements, will help us support disabled candidates in future campaigns.
During 2022, we were working on several projects such as an ED&I diagnostic review of our processes and as an employer and as an external recruiter, we engaged Inclusio to drive ED&I awareness and help collect data, and we had started our research on equality monitoring data with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) [AG4] . In December 2021 publicjobs.ie commissioned the ESRI the to review publicjobs.ie’s equality monitoring data. This involved conducting a data ‘health check’ to assess the robustness of the data held, and then a deep dive analysis of 192,200 applications received for 1,109 campaigns advertised and completed during the 2019-2021 period that resulted in 10,162 assignments made. Using the data, the review concentrated specifically on three characteristics: gender, ethnicity, and disability in the period selected. These three characteristics were explored among candidates who applied to examine whether there is an impact of these characteristics at the assignment stage.
Throughout these projects you could feel people tuning into equality, diversity and inclusion and there was more movement and thought around the topic. Everyone was more open to the reality of diversity and understanding that everyone has a different perspective.
- Outside of those already mentioned, are there any other organisations in Diversity and Inclusion in Ireland that publicjobs.ie are big fans of?
Other organisations in diversity and inclusion in Ireland that publicjobs.ie are interested in are NCBI, Employers for Change, IHREC – Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Irish Centre for Diversity, Migrants Rights Council Ireland, MASI, Earth Access, Tilting the Lens, UN Women, The National Women’s Council of Ireland