University to cut HR numbers
Canterbury University's human resources department is still overstaffed and plans are under way to cut numbers further.
The size of the department has been widely criticised, especially as the university looks to cut 150 jobs over the next three years in an attempt to save money as it haemorrhages $100,000 each business day.
The earthquakes have put the university under pressure because fulltime-equivalent student numbers have fallen by 2200, insurance costs have jumped and staff costs continue to rise.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers report in November 2010 said the department was ''overly complex, expensive to operate'' and should be reduced in size.
At the time of the report, the university had one HR staff member for 67 fulltime-equivalent staff.
The report recommended that the university move closer to a ratio of 1:100, which was the norm for large organisations.
At the time of the report, a survey of five New Zealand universities and 41 in Australia and South Africa found Canterbury had the highest ratio of HR staff to total headcount of all the universities.
Since that review, Canterbury had made changes to its HR department and had reduced staff numbers from 49 fulltime-equivalent staff to 40.3, giving it a ratio of 1:80, university HR director Paul O'Flaherty said.
In 2009, the university had 58.8 fulltime-equivalent HR staff.
''Being the large, complex organisation it is, there will always be a need for a HR function that supports the employment of so many people,'' O'Flaherty said.
He said salary costs for HR staff has dropped from $4.2 million in 2010 to $3m this year.
The university had been working on ways to decrease HR staff numbers. It was reducing people's reliance on HR support and simplifying and clarifying HR processes so other staff could use them independently, O'Flaherty said.
The department's operating budget had fallen by $352,000 to $2.6m.
He said the university wanted to maximise its investment in teaching and research activities and was committed to finding more savings in the HR area, but it did not have a dollar figure in mind.
Tertiary Education Union organiser Gabrielle Moore said the if the report had recommended a ratio of 1:100, then that should be done, given what vice-chancellor Rod Carr has said about the need to save money.
''I would presume they are still working towards achieving that target,'' she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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