Non-locals tend to have more experience
Local top jobs for local people?
By Claire Peters
Deputy Roy Le Hérissier is calling for Jersey civil servants to be given the opportunity for experience off the island so they can stand a better chance of getting the very top jobs.
From time to time you’ll here people mutter that the government should do more to ensure there are local jobs for local people.
If you’re a regular listener to the BBC Radio Jersey Phone-in that time to time is more likely to be on a weekly basis.
In particular some people complain that the island’s top consultants and civil servants are rarely local.
To address that perceived imbalance, politicians have produced a report which could ensure Jersey executives get a better chance of climbing to the top of the career ladder.
The Waterfront was designed by a UK consultant
Locals lack experience
Often the very top civil service jobs are given to candidates from outside the island because they have more, and a greater breadth, of ‘real world’ experience.
It’s not surprising, nor their fault, that Jersey employees can lack in the variety of experience compared to those who have worked in much larger communities and organisations.
Deputy Roy Le Hérissier, the States member leading the new initiative, is hoping the States can provide local candidates with the experience that top positions require.
“Why can’t we provide the breadth of experience to our own civil servants?” he asked.
“Of course they’ll have to realise this may well involve periods off the island – but not necessarily long periods.”
Qualifications aren't everything
More than qualifications
The deputy explained that in some cases candidates who look the best on paper aren’t necessarily the best people for the job:
“Often when people come from outside they have obviously by far the best experience and the best qualifications, and in a straight competition with a local person they’re generally going to beat them.
“But that isn’t the whole issue,” Deputy Le Hérissier told BBC Jersey.
“The issue is – can the local person be provided with the right range of experience? And is it a job where the ability to fit in with the local environment and with the department is absolutely important?
“All the qualifications in the world will not compensate for an ability to work in this particular environment,” he said.
Candidates need qualifications and experience
He stated that there had already been a few examples where non-islanders have struggled to fit into their role within Jersey:
“There’s been this issue with people who have come over and for various issues they haven’t adjusted very well and we’ve been faced with a very expensive recruitment process.
“Sometimes, for one or two positions, we’ve been faced with a fair amount of turnover.”
Wider experience is available off the island
The deputy hopes that the outcome of the report will guarantee talent within civil service is nurtured to the highest level:
“We expect managers and directors to show a lot more initiative, and to have proper plans in place, so that staff are being challenged about their development and they’re being encouraged to develop themselves.
“There can be no excuse so that people who have got talent can really be developed.”
The report also recommends that States departments should provide justification to politicians if they recruit from outside the island.
Have your say
Share your thoughts on Deputy Le Hérissier’s suggestions.
Do you think Jersey’s civil servants should be given extra experience to improve their chances of getting a top job?
Perhaps you think preparing existing civil servants for top positions will give them an unfair advantage over external candidates?
Would you like to see more islanders at the top or do you think it’s better to recruit off-island?
last updated: 13/02/2008 at 16:20
Have Your Say