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In developing our Workforce Strategy 2022–27, it was important to focus on the potential challenges ahead.

This included consideration for any drivers that would directly influence the Council and our approach to delivering a Workforce Strategy. Consideration was given for internal and external driver including:

  • Economic Recovery
  • Financial Sustainability
  • Digital Strategy
  • Climate Change/Net Zero
  • Community Wealth Building
  • Caring for East Ayrshire
  • Ayrshire Economic Strategy

We have also considered legislative and political drivers, namely the impact of the National Care Service, Scottish Government Spending Review and Education reform.

Our engagement with key stakeholders was also important, not only to obtain valuable feedback that would help to inform the development of actions associated with our Workforce Action Plan, but it was also important to identify the emerging local, national and international influences that will continue to challenge the Council in the years ahead.

As a result of the work that has been done so far and taking account of the workforce challenges we have already faced when delivering the Workforce Plan 2019–22 (PDF 862Kb), we identified that our key challenges will be how we recruit and retain employees, develop employees, manage employee absence and ensure we remain an employer of choice.

Key challenges


Recruitment challenges have been felt across the country particularly in the past two years with local authorities and businesses having shortages of skilled people. Areas such as Health & Social Care, HGV Drivers, Teaching, Accountancy, Regulatory and engineering posts have been particularly difficult to fill.

In response to these challenges we will develop new ways to attract and retain a skilled workforce for the future, across all sectors of the Council. Our Workforce and Future Skills team, which will co-ordinate and expand not only our current apprenticeship programme, but will look to grow the pathways into employment and develop future career pathways for existing staff.

Services as part of their service review will look at a range of options to 'grow their own' including looking at the potential for career grade options for certain hard to fill professional roles. We will look to develop our own training academies within our services, a process which has already started within Early Years, Education and Employability, Social Care and Ayrshire Roads Alliance.


As we implement our Digital Strategy this will lead to different delivery models being created across services and as a result employees must be equipped with the right tools and technology to deliver smarter services. Areas of work will change with the introduction of new technologies and some areas may no longer be required as a result of becoming a digital workplace. An example of this is the expansion of our self-service arrangements meaning there’s less reliance on administrative processes.

In response to the changes that are taking place, we will support employees to learn new skills, take up new career opportunities, or to move to other services or employment where appropriate, particularly where services are contracting or changing their ways of delivery. We will gain a better understanding of our workforce and ensure Career Conversations are taking place as part of FACE Time and that we have clear succession planning for critical roles across services that are clearly linked to how services require to change in the future.

The further development of Project Management, Digital, Leadership and Communication Skills will also be key to moving forward ensuring we can continue to deliver services in the future. 


We identified a concerning level of absence for our workforce during the first quarter of the new financial year 2022/23 and if this level of absence was to continue this would equate to 12.72 days lost due to absence over the full year. This projected a worsening trend so far on our rate of 11.04 days per annum for 2021/22. We identified the top reason for absence across all Council services was personal stress, with an excess of 1000 days lost each month for this reason.

Employee absence continues to be monitored in a range of ways, including monthly reports which are disseminated to senior managers for review and action. Quarterly absence monitoring meetings are also in place to identify trends and discuss potential long term solutions that can implemented to support the reasons for absence.

Taking account that the top reasons for absence are the same as reported in previous years, a continued focus on the wellbeing of our employees will be given priority over the duration of the Workforce Strategy.

Strategies and plans

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