Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Human Resources - Central Unit
Date Approved
01/01/2007 Revised 17/01/2014
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Career Mobility

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

The purpose of this policy is to provide career development opportunities for Professional and General Staff and to assist managers to fill short term vacancies with experienced University staff.

Policy statement:

The University of Western Australia is committed to providing career development opportunities for staff through the Career Mobility Program.

A co-ordinated approach to mobility has the dual benefit of enabling staff to develop their skills and abilities and assisting managers to fill short term vacancies with experienced University staff.

Providing career development opportunities supports the University's goal of attracting, developing and retaining high quality staff.

This policy will apply in conjunction with the University's Human Resource policies.

1 Overview

1.1 The Career Mobility Program provides an opportunity for staff to register their interest in taking up a fixed term transfer to another work area for a period (normally between 3 and 12 months) to broaden their skills and experience.

1.2 Managers with temporary vacancies in their area can provide details of the vacancy and request referrals from the Mobility Register by contacting the HR Mobility Officer.

1.3 Objectives of the program

1.4 The objectives of the program are to:

  • facilitate internal and external mobility opportunities for staff;
  • enhance career development opportunities for staff;
  • create a more mobile and flexible workforce to enable the best use of skills and resources; and
  • enhance the University's prospects of retaining high-quality staff.

2 Eligibility

2.1 The mobility program is for full-time and part-time general staff of all levels who:

  • are committed to their own career development;
  • are able to assume new or different responsibilities;
  • wish to take the initiative to show that they are ready to learn new skills and broaden existing skills and experience.

2.2 Applicants for mobility would normally have completed twelve months in their current position.

2.3 Fixed-term contract staff are eligible to apply for the program, although the mobility placement will not extend beyond the term of their current contract.

2.4 A change in employment conditions may not occur as a result of a mobility placement. Fixed-term or temporary staff will not obtain permanency without undergoing a competitive selection process.

2.5 If a staff member is undergoing a formal process for unsatisfactory performance or subject to disciplinary proceedings, they will not be eligible to apply for the program until the issue has been resolved.

3 How to apply

Staff who are eligible to apply for the Career Mobility Program must discuss the opportunity with their manager and obtain their approval. This may be done before or after an initial discussion with the HR Mobility Officer. The discussion should cover:

  • their desire to participate in the program;
  • their availability for release;
  • what they hope to gain by participating in the program; and
  • what the benefits are for the individual, their section and the University.


Nominations may occur at any time during the year. Often discussion with a manager occurs as part of the Professional Development Review process.

There should be a joint discussion (manager and staff member) and agreement with a clear idea of the type of role the staff member is interested in moving to and what skills and experience they hope to gain and bring back to the workplace.

The next stage is to complete an Application Form for the Career Mobility Program.

The application form, endorsed by the manager and accompanied by a current resume, is sent by email to the HR Mobility Officer.

While every effort will be made to find a suitable placement for all applicants, a placement cannot be guaranteed.

4 Approvals

4.1 Staff will require approval from their manager to participate in the program.

4.2 If a manager does not support a mobility request, without good reason, the staff member may seek resolution from the next level of management.

4.3 Staff will remain registered for one year or until a placement has been made (whichever is the lesser period). If a staff member has not been placed within a year, they should reconfirm support from their manager and inform the HR Mobility Officer of their continued interest in being registered for the program.

5 How selections for short to medium term vacancies are made

5.1 The HR Mobility Officer will advise mobility participants when placement opportunities become available and refer suitable applicants for the placement opportunity.

5.2 Referrals for placement opportunities will be made by matching a person's skills and development interests with positions that arise.

5.3 The manager of the vacancy interviews suitable applicants, conducts referee checks and makes a selection where there is an appropriate participant.

5.4 It should be noted that the Career Mobility Program does not replace the Recruitment and Selection process. It is generally intended to provide short to medium term development opportunities for staff.

6 Length of placements

6.1 The length of a placement may vary between 3 and 12 months depending on the requirements of the position.

6.2 Should the placement extend beyond 12 months it should meet the guidelines of fixed-term appointments. Any extensions must be negotiated with all parties involved and approved by the releasing manager.

7 Level of placement

7.1 Generally placements will be made at the staff member's substantive level. However this does not preclude placements at a higher level. Any placements made at the higher level will be paid in accordance with the Higher Duties Allowance policy.

7.2 If a higher level position becomes available as an ongoing opportunity, the position must be advertised in accordance with the University's recruitment and selection policies.

7.3 Where there is a distinct advantage (from a developmental perspective) for an individual to take up a lower level position in another area, the releasing manager may agree to maintain the individual's salary at their substantive level. If the manager agrees to the release but does not approve the maintenance of salary, the staff member may agree to a reduction in level for the term of the placement.

8 Entitlements

8.1 Receiving areas are generally expected to honour any commitments previously agreed and negotiated on behalf of the staff member. This includes booked leave, salary progression, flexible work arrangements or enrolment in training courses.

8.2 Prior to commencing a placement, all entitlements must be clearly outlined with the receiving area, to ensure that they will fit with the operational requirements of that area. A checklist of items for discussion is included in the Managers Information Pack.

9 Leave entitlements

9.1 Pro rata leave accrued during a placement is to be paid for by the receiving area. Pro rata leave accrued during a placement can be taken at an agreed time during or directly after the placement. If this is not convenient, then funds are to be transferred to the releasing area on the staff member's return to the substantive position to allow for this leave to be taken at a later date.

10 Release times

10.1 Release times are negotiated between the releasing and receiving areas. A graduated release may be negotiated to allow for adequate handover for each position.

10.2 Managers will need to be mindful when recruiting resources through the Career Mobility Program to allow sufficient time for handover and to allow the releasing area to make appropriate back fill arrangements.

11 Induction

11.1 An induction should take place at the commencement of the position. The induction should be accompanied by a Commencing Professional Development Review (CPDR) to discuss the position, performance expectations and to identify any training requirements.

12 Training

12.1 Generally training will take place on the job. This should be supplemented by support and coaching from the supervisor and/or team members as appropriate.

12.2 Where a need is identified to develop additional skills, a manager may nominate a staff member to attend a specific training course.

13 End of the placement

13.1 At the end of the mobility placement the staff member returns to their substantive position.

13.2 Managers and staff will be asked to complete a short questionnaire to identify what has been gained from the placement and provide any suggestions to improve the program.

13.3 Mobility placements will not normally be extended.

Related forms:

Mobility Application

Staff internal transfer form (fixed term appointment)

Higher duties allowance form

Checklist of issues for discussion prior to placement

Mobility program information for managers

Induction checklist for supervisors and managers

Induction checklist for administrative staff

Performance expectations template

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Employee Relations and Management Services - Human Resources

Related Policies or legislation:

Roles and responsibilities

Benefits of the program

Transfers and Secondments (including Staff Exchanges)

Acting arrangements

Higher Duties Allowances

New staff induction

Welcoming a new staff member to your area

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