Go to top of page

Employee attitudes and opinions

This section examines APS employee attitudes and opinions across three broad categories:

job attraction and recruitment; employment experience; and intentions to leave or longer-term career intentions.

Attraction and recruitment

Data from the 2013 APS employee census (employee census) indicates that while 52% of employees reported they not applied for another job in the 12 months before the census, 10% had applied for a position outside of the APS, 30% for another position within their current agency, and 17% to another APS agency.8 Overall, 43% of employees who had applied for a job outside of the APS applied for a position in the private sector.

When examined by state and territory the following key points can be determined9:

  • employees from WA (15%) and the NT (13%) were more likely than employees from other states and the ACT to indicate they had applied for a job outside of the APS
  • similar proportions of employees from all states and territories had applied for another position within their current agency, although employees from WA were slightly less likely to indicate this (26%) than those from the ACT (33%) and QLD (32%)
  • employees from the ACT (23%) were more likely than other employees to indicate they had applied for a position with another APS agency.

In terms of what was attracting employees to their current position, the top five factors identified through the employee census were:

  • type of work (for example, interesting, challenging, different) (77%)
  • job security and stability (67%)
  • employment conditions (for example, work-life balance, flexible work) (63%)
  • job-skills match (for example, using current skills) (61%)
  • the nature of the agency's work (58%).

When examined by state and territory it can be seen that employees from the ACT and, to a lesser extent the NT, differ from their counterparts across most attraction factors.

For example:

  • employees from the NT (82%) and ACT (81%) were the most likely to indicate that type of work was an important factor in attracting them to their current position, while employees from NSW (72%) and Tas (71%) were the least likely
  • employees from QLD were the most likely to indicate job security and stability was an important attraction factor (73%), while employees from the ACT were the least likely (62%)
  • employees from QLD (68%) and NSW (68%) were the most likely to indicate employment conditions were an important factor attracting them to their current position, while ACT employees were the least likely (58%)
  • employees from the ACT (64%) and the NT (62%) were the most likely to indicate that a job-skills match was an important attraction factor, while Tas (56%) and NSW (58%) employees were the least likely
  • while relatively similar across the majority of states and territories, employees from the NT were more likely to indicate that the nature of their agency's work was an important factor in attracting them to their current position (69%), while employees from Tas were less likely (53%).

The employment experience

Figure 7.8 shows that employee engagement across states and territories is relatively similar. ACT APS employees demonstrated the highest levels of employee engagement across the four components (job, team, supervisor and agency), while WA employees demonstrated the lowest (with the exception of team, where NSW and Vic recorded the lowest scores). Employees from the NT also demonstrated high engagement levels, particularly related to job and agency.

This result is consistent with previous results showing the type of work and the nature of the work undertaken by the agency are important attraction factors for NT employees.

Figure 7.8 Employee engagement by state and territory, 2013

Source: Employee census

Examining employee attitude and opinions of their employment experience across states and territories demonstrates the following key points:

  • similar proportions of employees from all states and territories agreed they had a good immediate supervisor (between 77% and 79%)
  • 35% of employees overall indicated they were satisfied with the opportunities for career progression in their agency; ACT and NT employees were the most likely to be satisfied (both 40%) and employees from SA the least likely (29%)
  • employees from the ACT (75%) and the NT (74%) were the most likely to agree they were given opportunities to use their skills, while employees from Tas (66%) and NSW (67%) were the least likely.

Figure 7.9 shows ACT employees were more likely to report they had worked more than 80 hours in the fortnight before the employee census. The highest proportion of employees in NSW, QLD and Tas worked less than 75 hours in the fortnight before the employee census, while the highest proportion of employees in the other states and the NT worked between

75 and 80 hours.

Figure 7.9 Hours worked by state and territory, 2013

Source: Employee census

Overall, APS employees were generally satisfied with their ability to balance their work and personal lives (70%). Employees from SA were the most likely to be satisfied (73%), while employees from WA (68%) were the least.

There were marginal differences in APS employees' experiences of bullying in the workplace

by state and territory:

  • employees from the NT (18%) were the most likely to report they felt they had been subjected to harassment and bullying in the 12 months before the employee census, while employees from SA (15%) were the least likely
  • employees from the NT (53%) were the most likely to indicate they had reported the perceived behaviour and employees from Vic the least likely (41%)
  • employees from the NT (24%) were the most likely to report they had witnessed someone else being bullied in the 12 months before the employee census, while Vic (19%) employees were the least likely
  • of the employees who reported they had witnessed bullying, those in the NT (45%), NSW, WA and QLD (all 36%) were more likely to report the behaviour, while employees in Vic (33%) and SA (34%) were the least likely.

Intention to leave and separations

Employees responding to the employee census were asked to indicate their current thoughts about working for their agency. Figure 7.10 shows that the highest proportion of employees across all states and territories indicated they intended to stay with their current agency for three or more years. Employees from the ACT and WA were more likely than employees in other states and the NT to indicate they intended to leave their agency in the shorter term.

Figure 7.10 Employee career intentions by state and territory, 2013

Source: Employee census

Of the employees who indicated they intended to leave their agency as soon as possible, the highest proportion indicated they intended to work for another APS agency (41%). Another 13% indicated they intended to work for another Commonwealth agency and 13% indicated they intended to work in the private sector. When examined by state and territory, ACT employees (49%) were the most likely to indicate they intended to work for another APS agency, while employees from WA were the least likely (27%). Employees from the ACT (16%) were also the most likely to report they intended to be working for another Commonwealth agency, while WA employees (19%) were the most likely to report they intended to work in the private sector.

Employees who indicated they intended to leave their agency were asked what influenced their decision. The following differences were observed across states and territories:

  • the highest proportion of employees across all states and territories indicated a lack of future career prospects as a factor influencing their decision to leave their agency
  • poor quality of senior leadership was the second most common factor reported as influencing employees' decisions to leave their agencies for all states and territories with the exception of the ACT
  • more than 10% of employees from all states and territories reported a perceived experience of bullying and harassment had influenced their decision to leave their agency, with employees from WA (10%) the least likely to indicate this factor and employees from Tas (14%) the most likely.

Footnotes

8 Data does not add to 100% as the question asked respondents to ‘please select all that apply’.

9 Data from the census cannot be disaggregated below the level of state or territory.