Chapter Four - Outcome Performance > Outcome Two: Navy Capabilities > page 2 of 12
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Outcome Two: Navy Capabilities

Mitigation of key risks


The Navy's full-time workforce fell from 13,459 in 2003-04 to 13,102 during 2004-05 as a result of increased separations and reduced recruiting achievement1. Navy recruited 1,237 new members in 2004-05, 277 less than in 2003-04. Significant recruiting shortfalls in technical trades outweighed improvements with pilots, seaman officers and combat system operators. Under-achievement in technical trade categories is a reflection of the competition between Defence and other organisations for this diminishing labour force. Of particular concern are electronics technicians, doctors, and marine and electrical engineering officers.

Overall separation rates increased during the year to 12.3 per cent. While the officer separation of 8.6 per cent is consistent with the five-year average, the sailor separation rate is now 13.4 per cent, above the five-year average of 11.85 per cent.

Recognising the critical importance of recruiting and retaining high quality people to meet future objectives, the Navy has introduced the 'Sea Change' program encompassing a wide range of personnel management initiatives aimed at improving personnel conditions of employment and retention. Specific initiatives include:

  • Five-year career plans for every sailor. An agreed plan between the sailor and their career manager that identifies realistic career progression milestones, geographic location, sea/shore commitments, education aspirations and desired career goals.
  • Improved access to career and posting management will occur via the decentralisation of career management functions and the provision of local career advice face-to-face and online. Local career management centres have been established at fleet bases in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with Queensland and New South Wales to follow in 2006.
  • Alternative crewing arrangements in major fleet units to improve personnel management. These arrangements are aimed at improving our capacity to better meet the modern day lifestyle needs of the individual sailor, including improvement to home-life stability, the ability to get respite and the ability to undertake required training. The multiple crewing concept, currently used on the Leeuwin-class hydrographic ships, will be implemented on all the new Armidale-class patrol boats and a flexi-crewing trial has commenced on two Anzac-class frigates.

Initiatives put in place during 2003-04 to target workforce segments experiencing recruitment difficulties were refined during 2004-05 and continue. These include:

  • The critical category management program, which places particular emphasis on recruitment, training and retention of sailors and officers in critical categories.
  • A rolling program of officer and sailor category reviews using a human resource decision support system which allows comparable estimates of compensation packages that might be used to improve retention.
  • Improved data analysis of the pilot and observer training pipeline. The result is a more rapid identification of likely training choke points and solutions in this resource intensive activity.
  • Trainee throughput, training content and delivery methods are progressively being reviewed resulting in a significant decline in training failure rates in most categories during 2004-05.

  1. The Navy's workforce data represents actual total paid strength, including Reservists undertaking continuous full-time service. This is a different measure to that used in Chapter Three - People. [ back ]


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