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3. Features of key remuneration concepts

3.1 Comparison of key remuneration components by classification

Tables in Section 3.1

Table 3.1: Composition of median Total Reward by classification

The comparison of the different components of the Total Reward (TR) provides an understanding of the proportion that each component contributes to the whole TR.

Table 3.1 provides data on the components of TR across all classifications. It shows the proportion that Base Salary, benefits and bonuses contribute to the TR.

For all classifications, the largest component of TR, apart from Base Salary, is generally the employer superannuation contribution.

Across the non-SES classifications, Base Salary makes up between 83.6% and 86.1% of the TR received by employees. The benefits component makes up between 13.4% and 15.6%, most of which is the employer superannuation contribution.

At the SES levels, the benefits component provides a greater contribution to the TR than it does for the non-SES classifications. This varies from 20.4% at the SES 3 classification to 24.0% at the SES 1 classification. The benefits component is primarily composed of the employer superannuation contribution and motor vehicle arrangements.

Bonus payments continue to make up only a minor part of the TR. The use of performance bonus arrangements across all classifications has decreased from 17.6% of employees receiving a performance bonus in 2015 to 13.8% in 2016. At the SES classifications the use of performance bonuses has decreased from 7.0% in 2015 to 5.3% in 2016. Bonuses contribute 0.2% of the TR received in the SES classifications and up to 1.1% for the non-SES classifications.

Further information on the breakdown of Base Salary, TRP, and TR can be found in Section 7: Remuneration Findings by Classification.

3.2 Motor vehicle allowances

Tables in Section 3.2

Table 3.2: Motor vehicle allowance by classification

Motor vehicle cost is the annualised cost of a motor vehicle that an employee is able to use for private use. This includes the provision of a motor vehicle, running costs, insurance, repairs, maintenance and any fringe benefits tax payable. Cash-in-lieu of a vehicle is the total paid to an employee where they opt for cash instead of a motor vehicle. Table 3.2 combines these allowances by classification.

Consistent with previous years, the use of motor vehicle allowances was low in the non-SES classifications. The highest use of motor vehicle allowances at these classifications was at the EL 2 classification with 4.1% of employees receiving a benefit.

There was a reduction in the proportion of SES employees who received a motor vehicle related allowance from 67.8% in 2015 to 67.5% in 2016.

There was no change in the median amounts paid for motor vehicle benefits for SES employees.

Figure 3.1: Proportion of SES employees who received a motor vehicle allowance, 2012 to 2016


Source: Remuneration Survey data, 2012 to 2016

3.3 Performance bonus

Tables in Section 3.3

Table 3.3: Performance bonus by classification

Performance bonuses may be available to APS employees through an enterprise agreement or other employment instrument. The availability, eligibility and amounts vary across agencies. While performance is also recognised through other mechanisms such as salary or incremental advancement (which is reflected in Base Salary movement) this section reports only on performance bonus payments.

There were 19,147 employees, or 13.9% of the non-SES workforce, and 135 employees, or 5.3% of the SES workforce who received a performance bonus in 2016.

The proportion of employees who received performance bonuses varied across the non-SES classification levels from 0.1% at the Graduate level to 25.9% at the APS 2 classification.

As few enterprise agreements contain provisions for performance bonuses, the figures and the non-SES classifications have been dominated by an agency which has a high proportion of their workforce at the top of their classification salary ranges. The enterprise agreement covering this agency provide for a bonus payment, in lieu of salary advancement, linked to satisfactory performance.

Figure 3.2 shows that the proportion of SES employees that received a performance bonus in the past five years. The proportion of SES employees that received a bonus in 2016 is significantly lower than in 2012.

The median performance bonus values increased at the SES 1 and SES 3 classifications, by 14.4% and 11.0% respectively. The median performance bonus decreased at the SES 2 classification by 0.6%.

Figure 3.2: Proportion of SES employees who received a performance bonus, 2012 to 2016

Source: Remuneration Survey data, 2012 to 2016

3.4 Superannuation

Tables in Section 3.4

Table 3.4: Employees by classification and superannuation fund

Table 3.5: Employees by superannuation fund and age group

Table 3.6: Employer superannuation contribution as a proportion of Base Salary by classification

Table 3.7: Employer superannuation contribution by classification

The median employer superannuation contribution for the non-SES classifications in 2016 was between 15.4% and 18.8% of the employee's super salary, dependent on the superannuation scheme that individual employees participated in.

APS employee superannuation fund membership has been reported by four categories:

  • The Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS);
  • The Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS);
  • The Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan (PSSap); and
  • Other.

As the CSS and PSS closed to new members in 1990 and 2005 respectively, there were no APS employees in the CSS under 40 years of age, and no employees under 25 years of age in the PSS.

There were 61,018 APS employees, or 43.6% of the APS workforce, in the PSS and 62,826 employees, or 44.9% of the workforce, in the PSSap. There has been a slight reduction since last year in the proportion of employees in the CSS and PSS with a corresponding increase in proportion of employees in the PSSap.

Figure 3.3 provides information on the proportional distribution of superannuation scheme membership by classification. As a general trend, the PSSap membership decreases as the classification increases, reflecting this as the default fund in the APS since 2005. Conversely, the proportion of employees in the CSS are higher at higher classifications, reflecting employees who have been in the service for longer.

Only 3.0% of employees were members of the CSS, down from 3.6% in 2015 with approximately 38.2% of them aged 55 years or over. These members represent a notable proportion of the SES workforce: 14.4% at the SES 1 level, 22.1% at the SES 2 level and 33.9% of the SES 3 level.

A high employer superannuation contribution (compared to super salary) can be the result of several things: an employee performing an eligible period of higher duties when their superannuation was calculated; and annualising superannuation paid fortnightly, based on ordinary time earnings for a fortnight with a large amount of shift work or overtime. Employer superannuation contributions are shown in Tables 3.6 and 3.7.

Figure 3.3: Employee superannuation fund by classification


Source: Table 3.4

Last reviewed: 
16 July 2019