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The demographic distribution of the APS

This section examines the demographic profile of the APS by geographical location.

As discussed earlier, the ASGS boundaries and postcode data have been used to compile these profiles. The section first examines the demographics of the APS workforce by state and territory. It then drills into GCCSA boundaries and examines capital city and regional area distributions.

Classification7

Table 7.3 shows the classification profile for APS employees by state and territory. As can be seen, the Senior Executive Service (SES) makes up less than 1% of APS workforces outside of the ACT. Excluding the ACT, SA had the highest proportion of Executive Level (EL) employees, followed by Vic. APS 1–6 employees comprised more than 85% of APS workforces across Tas, NT and WA.

Table 7.3 APS classification profile by state and territory, 2013

Table 7.3 APS classification profile by state and territory, 2013
State/territory APS 1–6

(% of employees)
EL

(% of employees)
SES

(% of employees)
Source: APSED
ACT 54.7 40.6 3.3
NSW 84.6 14.4 0.5
Vic 80.1 18.6 0.7
QLD 84.4 14.6 0.4
SA 79.4 19.5 0.4
WA 85.5 13.5 0.4
Tas 88.9 10.7 0.2
NT 85.6 12.3 0.6

Examining this data by capital cities and regional areas (GCCSA boundaries) demonstrates, with the exception of Canberra, APS 1–6 employees comprise more than three-quarters of the workforces across the capital cities. Similarly, APS 1–6 employees comprised more than 90% of all regional workforces. Table 7.4 shows that while the proportion of the workforce at EL and SES is much smaller outside of Canberra, this is particularly true for regional workforces, where less than 10% of APS employees were employed at a higher classification than APS 6.

Table 7.4 APS classification profile by capital city and regional area, 2013
City/region APS 1–6 (%) EL (%) SES (%)
Source: APSED
Canberra 54.5 40.7 3.3
Sydney 81.6 17.2 0.7
Regional NSW 91.2 8.1 0.1
Melbourne 77.8 20.7 0.8
Regional Vic 94.5 5.1 <0.1
Brisbane 80.6 18.0 0.5
Regional QLD 92.1 7.3 0.1
Adelaide 78.6 20.2 0.4
Regional SA 97.6 2.4 0
Perth 84.2 14.9 0.4
Regional WA 93.1 5.8 <0.1
Hobart 88.2 11.3 0.3
Regional Tas 93.2 6.6 0
Darwin 83.7 13.9 0.6
Regional NT 93.7 5.4 0.2

Employment category

APS employees are engaged under Section 22 (2) of the Public Service Act 1999 as ongoing

or non-ongoing employees. Nationally, the proportion of the APS workforce employed as ongoing at June 2013 was 91.0%.

Figure 7.3 shows that at state and territory level, Tas had the lowest proportion of ongoing employees, along with NSW and the NT, while the ACT had the highest proportion.

Figure 7.3 Employment category by state and territory, 2013

Source: APSED

Figure 7.4 shows that when looking across capital cities and regional areas, regional areas have the highest proportion of non-ongoing employees. The exception to this was Hobart, the only capital city with more non-ongoing employees (proportionally) than its wider regional area.

Figure 7.4 Employment category by capital city and regional area, 2013

Source: APSED

Length of service

An analysis of the length of service of employees in the APS workforce across capital cities and regional areas shows that employees' length of service varies greatly. For example:

  • regional NT had the highest proportion of employees with the shortest length of service—almost half (47.8%) had less than five years of service and 28.9% had less than two years of service
  • a relatively large proportion of Darwin's APS employees had less than five years of service (35.4%)
  • regional Vic and regional Tas had the highest proportions of employees with the longest periods of service (32.0% and 32.4% of employees with more than 15 years of service respectively)
  • a relatively large proportion of APS employees in Melbourne had 20 or more years of service (24.8%), followed by Adelaide (23.7%).

Age

Table 7.5 shows age groups for APS employees by state and territory. As can be seen, Tas and the NT have the highest proportion of employees under 25 years of age, while just over 50%

of WA employees were 45 years and over. More than half of the APS employees in the ACT and the NT were between 25 and 44 years of age.

Table 7.5 Age groups by state and territory, 2013
State/territory Under 25 years (% of employees) 25 to 44 years (% of employees) 45 years and over (% of employees)
Source: APSED
ACT 5.7 56.1 38.3
NSW 4.4 46.8 48.9
Vic 3.4 49.0 47.6
QLD 3.6 48.5 47.9
SA 3.7 47.4 48.9
WA 4.2 45.1 50.7
Tas 8.3 49.6 42.1
NT 6.8 53.0 40.2

Figure 7.5 shows the highest proportion of Canberra's APS population was between 25 and

44 years of age. This was also the case for Hobart and Darwin. Interestingly, more than half

of Canberra and Darwin APS employees were in this age group. While Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide had relatively even proportions of APS employees between 25 and 44 years of age and those 45 years and over, most of Perth's employees were 45 years

and over.

Figure 7.5 Age groups by capital city, 2013

Source: APSED

As can be seen from Figure 7.6, there is some variability in age across regional areas. Regional NT had the highest proportion of employees under 25 years of age, while regional SA had the highest proportion of employees 45 years and over. Unlike its capital city, most of regional WA's APS population was in the 25 to 44 year age group.

Figure 7.6 Age groups by regional area, 2013

Source: APSED

The Australian Bureau of Statistics: Future organisational sustainability program

The ABS has a long history of having a presence in all states and territories due to a strong commitment to working closely with state and territory governments. In late 2010, the ABS established the ABS Future Organisational Sustainability program as part of a longer-term strategy in building overall ABS long-term sustainability. The program aimed to better position the ABS to respond to the challenges of a constantly changing and evolving external environment and ensure the ABS remains successful and sustainable into the future. The program focused on reviewing the way the ABS is structurally organised.

One important driver for the ABS was changing labour dynamics, which posed an increasing challenge in recruiting and retaining employees in Canberra, particularly those from other states and territories.

The presence of the ABS in each state and territory provides an opportunity to better leverage all labour markets across Australia and, in doing so, enhance the capability of the ABS, maximise employee recruitment and retention and provide enhanced career pathways in each of its capital city offices.

The ABS Future Organisational Sustainability program resulted in a decision to more evenly distribute the ABS work program across Australia, with each regional office holding key corporate and statistical program functions. This move also shored up the viability of each ABS office.

Over a two-year period, approximately 300 positions (ongoing and non-ongoing) were successfully moved out of Canberra into the regions as part of the restructure. Canberra employees were offered the option of moving to a regional office, with demand outstripping supply in some cases. Many employees took the opportunity for lifestyle changes, taking their capability and expertise to new locations.

The success of the program was due to a number of factors. These factors included sound governance, including the development of a set of guiding principles in the allocation of work across the ABS, and HR principles and business rules, in consultation with employees. Additional factors contributing to the success of the program included the strong level of mutual support between transitioning areas in moving work programs and, more importantly, assisting employees through the change.


Footnotes

7 Data in this section may not add to 100% due to the exclusion from tables and graphs of overseas APS employees and trainees and graduates.