Employment by gender

Last updated: 26 Sep 2017

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Infographic Women in the APSInfographic: Women in the APS

Women make up 59% of the APS and are in the majority in all classification levels below EL2. Men occupy the majority of senior level positions, however there is a consistent long term trend towards parity in numbers.

  • Women occupy the majority of positions in the APS (59%) and a majority of positions below the EL2 level, particularly at the APS4 classification which accounts for 20% of public service numbers and where women occupy almost 70% of positions.
  • In the executive levels these proportions are reversed where the number of men is higher than women with the exception of the EL1 level.
  • At the SES band 2 and 3 levels around 60% of the workforce are male, however the proportion of women in the SES ranks has increased from 36% to 43% since 2008.

Distribution of men and women across the APS

Women have occupied the majority of positions in the APS since 1999. This majority has increased gradually year by year and women now represent 59% of the workforce. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has the largest proportion of women (89.7%) and the Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Transport and Safety Bureau have the smallest (31.4% each) (Table 2c).

APSED captures data based on gender in accordance with the Australian Government guidelines on the recognition of sex and gender. This includes provision for a category (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified). Data for employees who identify as gender X are excluded from analyses in this chapter and associated tables to ensure confidentiality due to their low numbers.

Figure 5.1: Headcount and distribution of men and women in the APS, June 1998 to June 2017

Line graph showing the number of men and women in the APS for the last 20 years with supporting table underneath showing the percentage of women

Source: APS Statistical Bulletin 2016-17 – data tables, Table 1a and APSED 1998, 1999.

Distribution of men and women across APS levels

Women occupy the majority of positions in every level below EL2 with the exception of trainees. From the EL2 level upwards men occupy the majority of positions. The APS level with the highest proportion of women is the APS 4 level (69.3%) and the level with the highest proportion of men is the SES 2 level (61.6%).

Figure 5.2: Distribution of men and women across APS levels as at 30 June 2017

Series of stacked bar graphs showing the percentage of women and men in each classification level

Source: APS Statistical Bulletin 2016-17 – data tables, Table 5

Employment of women in senior levels

Over the last ten years there has been a consistent narrowing of the gap between women and men at all senior levels. This has resulted in women outnumbering men at the EL1 level and a proportional increase of around 7 percentage points in women at the EL2 and SES levels.

Figure 5.3: Headcount and distribution of men and women across Executive levels—EL1

Line graph showing the number of women and men at the EL1 level for the last 10 years with a supporting table underneath showing the percentage of women

Source: APS Statistical Bulletin 2016-17 – data tables, Table 5

Figure 5.4: Headcount and distribution of men and women across Executive levels—EL2

Line graph showing the number of women and men at the EL2 level for the last 10 years with a supporting table underneath showing the percentage of women

Source: APS Statistical Bulletin 2016-17 – data tables, Table 5

Figure 5.5: Headcount and distribution of men and women across Executive levels—SES

Line graph showing the number of women and men at the SES level for the last 10 years with a supporting table underneath showing the percentage of women

Source: APS Statistical Bulletin 2016-17 – data tables, Table 5

Part-time hours by gender

The proportion of employees working part-time hours (excluding casual workers) has increased substantially compared to 2007 for both men and women (Table 1b). The proportion of men working part time is significantly lower than women (4.7% compared with 23.7% for women). Men also represent less than 13% of all employees working part time.

Figure 5.6: Part time hours by gender—men as at 30 June 2017

Figure 5.7: Part time hours by gender —women as at 30 June 2017

Doughnut graph showing the proportion of women in the APS working part time hours

Infographic showing the split of employees working part time hours by gender

Figure 5.8: Proportion of women and men working part time hours as at 30 June 2017

Changes to gender reporting

As per the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, collection of data on gender X (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified) commenced on 1 July 2016.

The gender graphs in previous pages and associated tables in this snapshot are only broken down by males and females due to the small number of employees whoidentified as gender X. The tables for 'total number of employees' include gender 'X', which explains why the total numbers are often higher than the male and female figures combined.

The table below shows the full gender breakdown as at 30 June 2017.

Table 5.1: Headcount of APS employees by gender as at 30 June 2016 compared to 30 June 2017
Gender20162017
Men 63,738 62,380
Women 91,870 89,701
X 16 14
Total 155,624 152,095