Go to top of page

2012 Australian Public Service Remuneration Report: summary of results

About the report

The APS Remuneration Report is an annual snapshot of remuneration as at 31 December, conducted by the Australian Public Service Commission.

The 2012 APS Remuneration Report captured remuneration data from all APS agencies covering 153,622 employees.

Each agency receives two separate reports:

  • The 2012 APS Remuneration Report; and
  • a confidential Individual Agency Report that compares their agency's specific remuneration findings with APS-wide data.

The 2012 APS Remuneration Report is available on the APSC website. It provides both the SES and non-SES information into a single report.

Data in the reports is provided for the following key remuneration components:

  • Base Salary;
  • Total Remuneration Package (TRP), including base salary plus superannuation; motor vehicles; and other benefits (including Fringe Benefits Tax where applicable); and
  • Total Reward (TR), including TRP plus performance bonuses; retention bonuses; and other bonuses.

Key findings

Changes in the APS workforce mobility and profile trends have been the key influences on the median movements in 2012. The overall median Base Salary movement for all APS employees, which takes into account both incremental advancement and general salary increases, from 2011 to 2012 was 5.8%.

A summary for the 2011 Report is detailed below. Key findings include:

  • Median Base Salary increased by 5.9% for non-SES and 4.7% for SES
  • Median TRP increased by 6.2% for non-SES and 5.2% for SES
  • Median TR increased by 6.5% for non-SES and 4.9% for SES

The median is calculated as the remuneration level at which half of employees in that classification at the end of any year earn more while half earn less. The median movement is the percentage change in these values from 2011 to 2012 for each classification.

The key factor influencing the median movement in 2012 has been a change in workforce mobility, with fewer positions being filled, fewer promotions, and a smaller number of non-ongoing employees. The slowdown in employee mobility has resulted in more non-SES APS employees remaining in their current position for longer and moving up within the pay scale of their current classification rather than, for instance, being promoted to a higher classification. Together with fewer new promotees joining the cohort at the bottom of the pay scale, this has resulted in a general trend of a shift of median Base Salary to higher up within the pay scales.

The following example, based on a current APS enterprise agreement, illustrates how APS 6 employees may move through a salary scale over time. The employee circled in red commencing at $70,644 will move ‘across and up’ as both general pay increases and increment advancement apply to that employee. The employee circled in blue commencing at $76,694 is already at the top increment point for their classification and receives only the general pay increases.

To illustrate the effect of increment movement of a substantial number of employees on the median outcomes, below is a hypothetical example of median movement between 2011 and 2012 for the APS 6 classification using the pay rates above. In this example, during 2012 two employees receiving a Base Salary at the top of the pay scale are assumed to be promoted to another classification. During the same period two employees are assumed to be promoted to the classification (commencing on the bottom pay point) and 10 employees already at that classification moved up to the next increment point. The effect is that the median Base Salary at this classification would be calculated to have increased by 7.4% as the median pay value moved from the second pay point to the top pay point, even though the salary rates increased only 3%.


$78,995 (5 employees)

$75,761 (10 employees)

$72,763 (5 employees

Median Base Salary $75,761


$81,365 (13 employees)

$78,034 (5 employees)

$74,946 (2 employees

Median Base Salary $81,365

The APS Bargaining Framework 2011 recommended that general pay increases in APS enterprise agreements not exceed a maximum of 3% per annum averaged over the life of an agreement. Movement between increments are not counted when assessing compliance of an enterprise agreement with the 3% policy. Readers may also wish to note that the 16% of APS employees who did not receive a general pay increase in 2011 due to bargaining did so in 2012.

So the median figures for 2012 reflect a shift of where the median rests within salary spans, in addition to general wage increases, as provided for in enterprise agreements.

Historical data

Median Base Salary Movement
  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Non-SES 4.6% 6.4% 3.7% 2.4% 5.9%
SES 5.2% 6.2% 5.6% 4.1% 4.7%
Median Total Remuneration Package (TRP) movement:
  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Non-SES 4.8% 6.4% 3.7% 2.8% 6.2%
SES 6.2% 3.0% 3.4% 3.3% 5.2%
Median Total Reward (TR) movement:
  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Non-SES 5.0% 5.0% 3.7% 3.0% 6.5%
SES 4.2% 2.6% 2.2% 3.1% 4.9%

Please note that the APSC has used population weightings by classification to calculate the above figures which is a different methodology to previous years. As a result some of the figures will differ slightly from pre-2011 remuneration reports.


Base salary median movements for Non-SES
Band Median Base Salary
2011 2012 % Movement  
  • The median movement reflects employee movement within the salary span for their classification in addition to the general wage increases provided for in enterprise agreements.
  • APS 1 saw the greatest increase in Base Salary compared with all other classification levels. Note in 2011 the APS 1 classification experienced a median Base Salary of -0.2% due to over 50% of this workforce commencing working in the APS in 2011 and hence starting at the bottom of the salary range.
  • The Graduate classification reported the lowest median movement of 3.2%. Graduate employees are generally classified as Graduates for only a year and hence tend not have incremental advancement built into their salary structure.
  • 99.5% or 150,191 of non-SES employees had their terms and conditions set out under an enterprise agreement. The remaining non-SES employees were covered by either an AWA (90), a Public Service Act Determination (447) or a common law arrangement (167).
Graduate $55,162 $56,944 3.2  
APS 1 $41,068 $43,944 6.8  
APS 2 $50,471 $52,988 5.0  
APS 3 $56,215 $59,677 6.2  
APS 4 $63,243 $66,923 5.8  
APS 5 $68,092 $72,487 6.5  
APS 6 $79,555 $84,478 6.2  
EL 1 $99,378 $104,825 5.5  
EL 2 $124,140 $130,460 5.1  


Base salary median movements for SES
Band Median Base Salary
2011 2012 % Movement  
  • The use of performance bonuses at the SES classifications has remained consistent in 2012 from 2011.
  • There has been a reduction in the use of motor vehicle allowances. Both the median and average amounts paid increases across all three classifications, but by small values.
  • While only 5.6% of the APS are members of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme, they represent a significant proportion of the SES workforce: 26% at the SES 1 level, 35% at the SES 2 level and 43% of the SES 3 level.
  • The majority of SES have their remuneration set under a Public Service Act 24(1) determination. Approximately 7% of SES still have their terms and conditions set by an AWA.
SES 1 $164,500 $172,000 4.5  
SES 2 $209,318 $221,266 5.7  
SES 3 $273,383 $282,931 3.5  


Australian Public Service Commission
June 2013

Last reviewed: 
31 May 2018