Govt e-Job site goes live
To ease the archaic manner in which to apply for public sector jobs, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has introduced a Web-based solution to its recruitment processes.
Dubbed e-Job, the DPSA's new recruitment Web site means applicants are now able to fill out a digital Z83 form as well as upload all relevant employment documentation online.
South African residents are required to complete and submit a Z83 form, together with certified qualification documents, when applying for government posts. Until now, the process has been manual and oftentimes expensive, as candidates are required to travel from wherever they reside to drop off applications at the different departments where they seek employment.
Even though the DPSA has introduced an online option for job applications, paper-based submissions will still be accepted to accommodate those who do not have access to the Internet, according to minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
Speaking at the launch event yesterday, Dlodlo said the e-recruitment system is part of a wide government process to make it simpler and easier for people, especially the youth, to apply for jobs.
The process will also include a review of regulations for all entry-level posts in the public service to allow the recruitment of new entrants without prior experience into entry-level jobs, she stated.
"The e-recruitment system is the beginning of a process to introduce a paperless administration across the public service. Last month, I directed the Department of Public Service and Administration to introduce a digital Z83 application form as an additional platform for job seekers in the public service.
"For job seekers, the new e-recruitment system will be beneficial, because it is Web-based and accessible from different locations...This will enable the applicants to post their CVs and supporting documents once, and the process will save them the cost of making multiple copies for applications."
Another benefit, according to Dlodlo, is the system allows government departments to advertise posts electronically, which reduces the cost of current methods of advertising in newspapers.
The public service and administration department collaborated with Gauteng Department of e-Government and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) in order to make the e-recruitment project a reality.
The Gauteng Department of e-Government provides the required resources to operate the system, while SITA is partnering on the provision of technical and infrastructure development skills, the DPSA stated.
Mfana Khoza, project manager at the e-government department, said the manual way of applying for state jobs was a cumbersome process, which would eventually lead to people not applying for the jobs because of inaccessibility issues. This, he said, informed the need to develop a solution to address the challenge.
"The e-recruitment system was developed internally by the Gauteng Department of e-Government. As our infrastructure partner, SITA will host the site in partnership with the e-government department. There is a memorandum of understanding in terms of the processes and systems they provide."
The site is live and has been usable since its launch yesterday, added Khoza.
As a result of the scope of government departments and its entities, the system is being rolled out in a phased approach. This means the e-recruitment process will kick-off with the national departments of labour, higher education and training, office of the public service commission, DPSA, National School of Government, as well as the Centre for Public Service Innovation.
The DPSA expects roll-out of the system to the rest of the public service departments from 1 April 2019.
"We are phasing the implementation because government is quite broad," Khoza pointed out. "Gradually, we will be moving to incorporate all entities. It is a phased approach for management purposes and all other departments will come on board as we progress."
He continued: "Anyone from any province can apply. There is also no need to install anything on your device and it is accessible across multiple interfaces. The other advantage is that, on the citizen side, there is no requirement for any software licensing."
21st century moves
ICT policy and regulatory expert Charley Lewis called the decision to have an e-jobs site a 21st century move.
"Of course it's a positive move, albeit one long overdue," said Lewis. "E-recruitment has been an established platform in the private sector for many years now, so it's good to see government finally coming to the party.
"The devil, of course, will be in the detail, in the functionalities and features of the planned portal. One certainly hopes it goes far beyond simply digitising the existing Z83 application form (already available electronically via many government or other Web sites) to include features like pro-forma screening of applicants, skills profiling, the upload of qualifications, CVs, letters of motivation, the ability to sign up for SMS and e-mail alerts, and more.
"And, of course, any job application front-end is only as good as the processes and procedures on the back-end, those that specify the skills, qualifications, experience and job description requirements in each case, along with those that screen and evaluate the flood of applications in each case. Without effective back-end management, any portal, no matter its functionalities, is a waste of time."
Lewis, however, warned the portal cannot address the key problems with the public sector: "Its already bloated staffing levels, the lack of requisite skills and capabilities in so many of its staff, its failure sufficiently to train and upskill those already on the payroll, its failure to hold under-performing or corrupt staff to account, the lack of work ethic and public servant mentality, its poor commitment to service delivery."
The Public Servants Association (PSA) has welcomed the department's digital recruitment system.
"In a country where unemployment is high, the youth are not only struggling to find employment, but are challenged by application processes; this initiative will ease the application process," said PSA GM Ivan Fredericks.
"The PSA also welcomes the notion that, through advertising electronically on the system, costs for advertising vacancies by means of current methods will be cut. Any cost-saving mechanism in the administration of the public service that still guarantees the best services for people is commended. Skills development and training are, however, vital to ensure that employees can adapt to the new method of working and embrace the era of technology brought about in the face of the fourth industrial revolution."