News / Calgary

City of Calgary saved $20M by reducing workforce: Report

Employee satisfaction remains high, according to a recent staff survey

This graph shows overall employee satisfaction at the City of Calgary, with 2005 as the base year and base number of 100. The jump circled shows when current city manager Jeff Fielding took over.

Courtesy / City of Calgary

This graph shows overall employee satisfaction at the City of Calgary, with 2005 as the base year and base number of 100. The jump circled shows when current city manager Jeff Fielding took over.

The City of Calgary has drastically cut back the number of employees it's hired since the economic downturn hit, and councilors got to see a snapshot of those numbers on Tuesday.

City solicitor Glenda Cole said the city's total employee head count has decreased by 420 between October 2016 and October 2017.

"Savings of $20 million have been achieved by backing out growth that was no longer required," said Cole.

Hiring of temporary employees has dropped as well. The city had reduced that number by 29 per cent in October of this year when compared with the same time last year.

Instead of posting jobs, Cole said they're looking to fill positions from within. They've reduced summer student programs, delayed hiring in various positions, and delayed filling vacancies.

She said administration took a serious look at every position in the city.

"Every business unit was required to work with HR and finance to conduct an assessment of the work each employee was doing," she said.

In September, a hiring freeze was initiated at the city, with only a few exceptions, and they plan to continue that freeze for the foreseeable future.

The city's total headcount in October of this year was 15,056 – which put it around 2015 staffing levels.

Cole also presented employee satisfaction survey results, which showed only a slight decrease of employee satisfaction after years of increases.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said those results reflect a good news story for city employees.

"We've gone through this pretty wrenching change, and at the same time we've done so in a very humane way, said the mayor.

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