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The APS employment database (APSED) records diversity information in relation to gender, Indigenous status, disability status and employees from a non-English speaking background.

The APS employee census, which is an anonymous survey, tracks similar diversity information as the APSED, as well as LGBTI+ status.

APS employment data suggests that the APS continues to improve its employee diversity.

At December 2018, 5,135 (3.5%) of the APS identified as Indigenous. This is the highest proportion of Indigenous employees ever recorded for the APS. Indigenous representation has been increasing steadily from 2.6% in 2013.

The proportion of employees with a disability was 3.7% at 31 December 2018. This figure marginally increased from a low of 3.2% in 2012 to 3.7% in 2015, where it has remained.

Non-English speaking background (NESB) is split into two components: NESB 1 refers to people born overseas who arrived in Australia after the age of five and whose first language was not English; NESB 2 refers to children of migrants.The combined proportion of employees from non-English speaking backgrounds (i.e. NESB 1 & NESB 2) has increased from 13.1% in December 2008 to 14.3% in December 2018.  At December 2018, 22% of the APS were born overseas compared to 26% for the Australian population as a whole (ABS 2016 Census: Multicultural, 2017). 

Figure 5: Diversity proportion of employees at 31 December 2008, 2013 and 2018

Source:  APSED December 2018 Table 69

It is not mandatory for employees to provide diversity information.  This means that diversity rates may be underestimated in some cases. The reporting of disability rates based on APS employee census data was explored in more detail in the annual State of the Service Report. Of the census respondents in 2018, 8.7 per cent of employees reported having an ongoing disability.

The overall proportion of women in the APS was 59.5% at 31 December 2018. This is a 0.5% increase since June 2018. 

The proportion of women at each classification is either equal to or more than men at all levels, up to and including EL1. The proportion of women is twice as much as men at the APS 4 classification.

There was a lower proportion of women at the senior levels (EL 2 and SES) than men at 31 December 2018. Numbers of women at the EL 2 level continue to increase, now representing 46.8% of employees at that level, up from 28.2% in 2000. Over the same period, the proportion of female SES has increased substantially to 45.6% in 2018 from 25.9% in 2000.  During 2018, 55.5% of employees joining the SES were women.  Additionally, separations of women at SES level (39.5%) were lower than men. This may help to balance the number of women and men at the senior executive level over the next few years, (APSED December 2018 Tables 11 and 43).

Figure 6: Proportion of APS employees by classification and gender, 31 December 2018

Source:  APSED December 2018 Table 9

Last reviewed: 
1 April 2019