VOX POP: What do you think should be the priorities for a workforce development strategy in our sector?

Carly Bairstow, General Manager, People Culture and Communications@ Housing Choices Australia

“Sustainable growth and greater impact in our sector requires us to be flexible, opportunistic and agile in our approach given the rate of demographic , economic, environmental and social change. Ultimately, the means to achieve this is to create a sector that can integrate effectively with organisations that are readily responsive and people that are supported and capable of making progress on adaptive challenges.”

“To make progress, we need to find ways for the sector to network effectively, as well as collaborate and share specialist expertise so as to enable better practice to be scaled to a wider level.”

“Organisations should be supported to promote a workforce culture that views learning as a continuous process that goes beyond programs aligned to capability frameworks. Great skills don’t happen by chance; they are designed and continue to be refined as we adapt and evolve – our workforce should be encouraged to view their talents and abilities not as fixed but ones that can be developed through growth-mindset practices, such as collaborating, seeking feedback and learning from mistakes.”

“To enhance capacity of individuals  and the wider workforce to deal with increased complexity, we should also place more value on supportive practices which seek to reduce the impact of compassion fatigue , including debriefing and reflective practice.”


Suellen McCaffrey, General Manager, People and Group Services @ SGCH

“I think the priorities for our workforce strategy need to support the growing and changing nature of our sector. While there needs to be a continued focus to increase commercial, governance and corporate knowledge and capacity, the emphasis needs to be on building a workforce that is:

  • truly customer centric and where there is a mix of customer service and social work experience
  • resilient, agile and change ready – open to learning and working to purpose with increasing complexity and changing environments
  • focussed on personal and organisational leadership that is adaptive, reflective

and whole person centred – this type of leadership is needed to effectively navigate and lead our CHPs successfully through growth and transformation in service to our customers and communities.”


Greg Budworth, Group Manager @ Compass Housing Services

“It is sometimes thought that the greatest challenges to the work of our organisations comes from impacts of globalisation and technology. However, I believe that commercialisation and the social outcome expectations of the third sector should be also be considered significant.”

“Workforce planning will need to take into account an increase in  competition  for scarcer resources in the current housing sector, or  possibly  increased  competition from outside the sector. However, if resources are increased with a degree of certainty, we might see predictable returns. These issues will highlight the need to pursue of efficiency and effectiveness along with the need to be strategically attuned to the operating environment of organisations. There is often a trade off in searching for the sweet spot between those two drivers. As a result there is a basic need for executive officers and financial executives to pay greater attention to governance issues, strategic positioning, stakeholder management and developing financial acumen.”

“Technology dependence and the competitive advantages arising from the use of technology will tend to lead to greater and greater expenditure and reliance on information and communications techologies. This in turn will lead to the need to have greater access to a range of information and communications technology related skills and disciplines with some of these preferably provided in-house.”

“Social outcomes are increasingly expected of our organisations, outcomes that are appropriate and quantifiable and that lead to the overall effectiveness of our charitable purpose or our expected public policy outcomes. I believe that in the future there could be a greater role for the social sciences in developing and producing appropriate outcomes and programs.”

“I also think that with the increasing specialisation of the workforce, there will be a greater reliance on human resource management as well as ongoing training, to support the new skills that will need to be acquired in response to constant change.”