The Public Policy Forum released a report outlining the challenges faced and skills required by incumbents in 10 of the Federal public service’s most demanding positions. Ten Tough Jobs 2010 is an update of a publication first done in 2002 that explores the changing nature of leadership within the Government of Canada.

Selecting the Ten Tough Jobs:
The Public Policy Forum surveyed over 170 leaders and experts. For the purpose of this study we focused on jobs at the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) level (EX4 and EX5). Similar to vice presidents in the private sector, these positions generally report to the head of their department or agency. In selecting from the list of nominations, we consulted a senior group of individuals in a more focused manner.

We strove for a list of positions that was representative of the range of challenges and experiences faced by senior public servants. We also emphasized jobs with significant impact – those we see as essential to the well-being of our country. For each of the selected jobs, we interviewed the current incumbent, their deputy head, the incumbent’s predecessor, and a partner with whom they work in or outside government. We recorded and transcribed each interview and synthesized the results. We believe that many of the findings from the profiles of these ten jobs can be generalized to other senior level public service positions. The jobs, listed alphabetically by department or agency, are:

Jobs profiled:

  • Regional Director General, Maritimes, Fisheries and Oceans
  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Consular Services and Emergency Management, Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Assistant Deputy Minister, First Nations & Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada
  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources Services Branch, Human Resources and Skills Development
  • Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Strategic Direction, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Spectrum, Information, Technologies and Telecommunications, Industry Canada
  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Finance and Corporate Services, National Defense
  • Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Communications and Consultations Secretariat, Privy Council Office
  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Diseases and Emergency Preparedness, Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management, Treasury Board Secretariat
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