KPU’s labour force has been structured in much the same way for the past 20 years while the institution has changed from a community college with 8,500 students and 923 employees in 1994 to a polytechnic university in 2013/14 with almost 18,000 students and almost 1300 “regular” employees augmented by another 500 on casual service contracts.
The notion of “support staff” was very different in 1994, when most were clerical, than it is now when KPU is looking for advanced database and computing skills, researchers, data analysts, planners, people skilled in “green” building technologies, professional accountants, employees with legal and paralegal training, health and safety, emergency planning knowledge and skills etc.
Human Resources Challenges facing KPU:
- Expanding role “industry experts” in the organization; e.g., now we need emergency management specialists, building control system specialists, data base managers. What is the appropriate “place” for paraprofessionals and knowledge workers in a polytechnic university?
- Compensation levels that reflect the skills required in positions and the marketplace
- Raising the level of technological competency across the university
- Impact of technology familiarity on students’ expectations of KPU
- Providing enough training and professional development to maintain employee currency
- Concerns about being able to hire and retain appropriately skilled personnel are common
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