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Section 1: All employees

This section provides data about ongoing and non-ongoing employees. It shows the population of the APS over the past 15 years, and a profile of the June 2016 population.  Definitions for both 'ongoing' and 'non-ongoing' employees are provided in Appendix 1.

Classification structures

To allow comparisons over time, this analysis has used substantive or base classification, excluding employees on temporary assignment at a classification different to their base classification. Temporary assignment is discussed in detail in Section 3: Ongoing employees.

Table B compares all employee numbers by base classification at June 2002, 2015 and 2016. The classifications with a decrease from 2015 to 2016 were: APS 1, with a decrease of 416 employees, or 9.6%, EL 1 with a decrease of 366 employees, or 1.4%, and EL 2 with a decrease of 38 employees, or 0.3%. The classification with the greatest percentage increase from 2015 to 2016 was Trainee, with an increase of 140.4%, representing 299 employees. The agencies with the largest increase in Trainee employees were Immigration and Border Protection and Human Services.

Table B: All employees: Base classification, June 2002, 2015 and 2016
Classification 2002 2015 2016 % change 2002 to 2016 % change 2015 to 2016
N % N % N %
Source: APSED
Trainee 494 0.4 213 0.1 512 0.3 3.6 140.4
Graduate 788 0.6 1,197 0.8 1,267 0.8 60.8 5.8
APS 1 4,156 3.4 4,346 2.9 3,930 2.5 -5.4 -9.6
APS 2 10,096 8.2 4,686 3.1 5,122 3.3 -49.3 9.3
APS 3 16,807 13.6 19,411 12.7 21,037 13.5 25.2 8.4
APS 4 30,372 24.6 30,634 20.1 30,679 19.7 1.0 0.1
APS 5 13,894 11.3 20,677 13.6 20,936 13.4 50.7 1.3
APS 6 22,775 18.5 31,211 20.5 32,648 21 43.4 4.6
EL 1 14,028 11.4 25,884 17 25,518 16.4 81.9 -1.4
EL 2 8,178 6.6 11,518 7.6 11,480 7.4 40.4 -0.3
SES 1 1,241 1 1,828 1.2 1,972 1.3 58.9 7.9
SES 2 365 0.3 528 0.3 541 0.3 48.2 2.5
SES 3 94 0.1 120 0.1 129 0.1 37.2 7.5
Total 123,288 100 152,253 100 155,771 100 26.3 2.3

Over the past 15 years, the classification profile of the APS has seen a consistent and strong shift. There has been a decline in the proportion of employees at the APS 1–2 and the APS 3–4 classifications, by 5.8 and 5.1 percentage points respectively. There were increases in the proportion of employees at the APS 5–6 classifications, up by 4.7 percentage points, and the EL classifications, up by 5.8 percentage points. As a proportion of all employees, the SES increased from 1.4% at June 2002 to 1.7% at June 2016. These shifts in proportions are shown in Figure 2 below.

This trend towards a higher classification profile at least partly reflects the changing nature of APS employment, with a more skilled workforce undertaking increasingly more complex and difficult roles.

Employment of men and women

Women accounted for the majority of APS employees, with a representation of 58.4% of ongoing employees and 59.0% of all employees. This is an increase from the ongoing representation of 57.9%, and a total representation of 58.4% last year. The number of women in the APS increased by 3.3%, from 88,979 at June 2015 to 91,947 at June 2016, and the number of men increased by 0.9%, from 63,274 at June 2015 to 63,824 at June 2016.

The representation of men and women varies considerably amongst agencies. Of agencies with at least 1,000 employees, the agencies with the highest proportion of women were the National Disability Insurance Agency with 74.6%, followed by Human Services, with women representing 71.6% of ongoing employees. Large agencies with the highest proportion of men were the Bureau of Meteorology with 69.6%, and Defence, with men representing 58.9% of ongoing employees.

Over the past 15 years, the representation of women in the APS has increased from 52.8% to 59.0% of all employees. In general, more women are still employed at lower classifications than men. Figure 4 shows the highest concentration of women is at the APS 4 and the APS 6 classifications, with 23.1% and 20.0% of women at these classifications respectively. For men, the highest concentration is at the APS 6 and EL 1 classifications, with 22.4% and 19.7% of men at these classifications respectively. The proportion of women at the EL 2 classification is 5.5%, which is around half that of men with 10.1% at the EL 2 classification; this trend continues throughout the SES classifications.

APS workforce age profile

At June 2016 the largest age group was employees aged 50 to 54 years, representing 14.2% of all employees. This is a decrease from 14.7% at June 2015. The largest increase from June 2015 to June 2016 was the 20 to 24 age group, increasing from 3.4% to 3.8% of all employees. This was followed by an increase in the 55 to 59 and 60 years and over age groups—both groups increased by 0.3%. At June 2016, the mean age of all employees in the APS was 43.0 years. For men the mean age was 44.0 years and for women it was 42.4 years.

Figure 5 shows the mean age of all employees for selected classifications, by sex, at June 2016. In general, mean age increases with classification. The mean age for men is higher than that for women for most classifications, except at the APS 1 classification where the mean age of women is higher, and the APS 3 and APS 4 classifications where the mean age is equal.

Agency age profiles vary substantially. Of the agencies with at least 1,000 employees at June 2016, the Australian Electoral Commission and Veterans' Affairs had the oldest age profiles, with 68.5% and 58.7% aged 45 years and over, respectively. In contrast, the Attorney-General's Department and Treasury had the lowest proportion of employees 45 years of age and over, with 28.4% and 30.9%, respectively.

Representation of employees less than 25 years of age has increased this year after a consistent and steady downward trend. At June 2016, 4.2% of all employees were in this age group, up from 3.7% last year. This is the first increase that has occurred in this cohort since June 2007, where this age group accounted for 6.2% of all employees.

The proportion of employees 50 years of age and over has grown significantly over time, increasing from 20.8% of all employees at June 2002 to 31.8% at June 2016. This growth reflects the impact of government policies that encourage older employees to remain in the workforce or to return after taking early retirement. It also reflects the removal from the PS Act of compulsory age-65 retirement in 1999. These initiatives have facilitated increased recruitment of older employees and reduced their separation rates.

Figure 6 shows the shifting age profile of the APS, with an increased representation of older employees coinciding with a decrease in younger employees. This figure shows that the 55-59 years age group has increased by 4.7 percentage points, and the 60 years and over age group has increased by 5.2 percentage points since June 2002. In this same period the 25 to 29 years age group decreased by 2.8 percentage points.

Figure 7 shows the APS has a more middle-aged age profile than the Australian labour force.

Location

At June 2016 the location with the highest proportion of APS employees was the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), with 37.2% of all employees. Generally, the proportion of employees located in the ACT increases at higher classifications. For example, at June 2016, 59.9% of all EL employees and 72.9% of all SES employees were in the ACT, compared with 16.7% of APS 1–2 employees and 15.7% of APS 3–4 employees. The majority of the APS is located outside the ACT.

There is considerable variation amongst agencies in the proportion of employment inside and outside of the ACT. At June 2016, 21 out of 97 agencies had all of their employees located in the ACT, 14 agencies had no ACT employees and 27 agencies had less than one-third of their employees located in the ACT.

The large agencies with less than one-third of their employees in the ACT were:

  • Veterans' Affairs–32.2%  
  • Australian Electoral Commission–16.5%
  • Human Services–13.2%
  • Australian Taxation Office–12.1%
  • National Disability Insurance Agency–10.0%
  • Bureau of Meteorology–5.5%
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission–0.7%.
Table C: All employees: Proportion by base classification and location, June 2016
Classification  ACT % NSW % Vic % Qld % SA % WA % Tas % NT % O/S %
Source: Table 5
Trainee & Graduate 64.0 7.5 10.7 7.2 3.8 3.4 0.8 2.4 0.1
APS 1-2 16.7 33.9 17.4 12.8 6.7 5.9 3.6 3.1 .
APS 3-4 15.7 26.6 21.6 16.1 7.2 7.1 4.0 1.7 0.1
APS 5-6 43.0 16.1 16.0 10.1 6.3 4.2 2.0 1.4 0.9
EL 59.9 11.1 12.3 6.0 4.5 2.3 1.1 0.7 2.1
SES 72.9 7.6 7.9 2.6 1.3 1.4 0.3 0.5 5.4
Total 37.2 19.2 16.9 11.1 6.1 4.7 2.5 1.4 0.9

Tables in Section 1: All employees