Department staff numbers falling despite recruitment drive

Department of Agriculture staff numbers continue to fall despite a current recruitment drive which promised 200 new jobs at the beginning of the year.

Sinn Fein Deputy David Cullinane asked Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed to comment on the level of public sector staff hired in his department compared to the numbers which had retired or left the service between January 2011 and June of this year.

According to the Minister, 735 staff left the Department between 2011 and 2016 while 171 were hired in the same period.

Allowances must be made for the employment embargo which was lifted earlier this year, hence why 2016 has the greatest proportion of staff hired.

Even though this year has seen the highest number of staff being hired by the Department it is still out numbered by the amount of staff exits which accounts for 87, a margin of 15 jobs.

Year Staff Hired: Staff Exits:
2011 11 120
2012 7 207
2013 21 56
2014 14 134
2015 46 131
2016 (To end June) 72 87

Minister Creed responded by saying that his Department undertakes continuous assessments of their business needs with particular emphasis on examining their work practices with the objective increasing their efficiency.

“With efficiencies arising across the Department particularly from investment in enhanced IT systems and new work areas coming on stream, my Department avails of Workforce Planning processes to forecast current and future staffing needs.

“As set out in the following table, 171 new staff were hired by my Department between 2011 and to date in 2016 and further recruitment is taking place to meet our on-going resource needs within the parameters of our payroll threshold,” said the Minister.

The current recruitment drive by the Department will see job opportunities cover a wide range of areas and provide opportunities to new graduates and to more experienced professionals.

Roles include technical officers, agricultural inspectors, administrative posts, food and microbiology laboratory scientists, marine engineers, vets, molecular biologists and ICT roles including applications development, GIS specialists and IT infrastructure development experts.