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Key findings

The APS Diversity Council was established in 2012 by the Secretaries Board to reinforce and reinvigorate the APS commitment to workforce diversity. This year, the Diversity Council undertook a review of agencies' technical processes related to the employment of Indigenous Australians and people with disability and explored ways to build agency culture to better support workplace diversity and inclusion. The low rate of employee disclosure in relation to diversity status continues to be an issue for the APS. To improve the collection of diversity data from employees, amendments to the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions from 1 July 2013 require agencies to ask all employees for diversity information while providing a ‘choose not to give this information' option. These amendments are expected to improve the quality of diversity data across the APS.

In 2013, the proportion of women in the APS workforce increased slightly, the proportion of Indigenous employees and employees from a non-English speaking background stayed the same, while the proportion of employees with disability declined. A new iteration of the APS Indigenous Employment Strategy was launched in 2012, including Pathways to Employment programs, which provide a whole-of-APS approach to entry-level recruitment and are designed to complement agencies' own Indigenous recruitment activities.

The As One—APS Disability Employment Strategy was launched in 2012. A number of initiatives from this strategy were implemented in the past year, including a pilot recruitment pathway for people with disability, establishment of an APS Disability Working Group and the launch of the My Career, My APS online career tool for people with disability. Given that the APS workforce continues to age and disability prevalence increases with age, the development and promotion of better disability employment outcomes will continue to be a priority for the APS.

The majority of the APS workforce is female although this representation decreases as classification level increases. As at June 2013, women comprised 39.5% of the SES. This is in stark and positive contrast to the 16.4% of women on ASX 200 boards (as at September 2013). The representation of women in senior roles across the APS and the ASX 200 boards is the highest it has ever been and demonstrates notable progress in the proportion of women in senior leadership positions. There is, however, variability across agencies and further work is required to ensure the issue of women's representation in leadership remains an ongoing focus for the APS.