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Section 3: Ongoing employees

This section provides data and information about ongoing APS employees. Ongoing employees are those engaged under s22(2)(a) of the PS Act. Diversity information for ongoing employees is provided in Section 5: Diversity. At June 2016, there were 137,848 ongoing employees in the APS, an increase of 1,324 or 1.0% from the previous year.

Classification profile

Figure 10 shows that the classification profile of ongoing employees is shifting towards higher classification levels. At June 2002, 21.8% of ongoing employees were at the
APS 1-3 classifications, compared to 13.3% at June 2016. The proportion of employees at the EL classifications increased from 19.1% at June 2002 to 25.9% at June 2016.

One measure of a shifting classification profile is change over time in the ratio of EL 2 employees to employees at lower classifications. Over the past 15 years, the ratio decreased from 13:1 employees at lower classifications for each EL 2 to 11:1 employees.

Temporary assignment

At June 2016, 13.0% of all ongoing employees were on temporary assignment, usually at a higher classification level. Of this group, APS 6 represented the highest proportion with 26.9% of employees on temporary assignment at this classification, followed by EL 1 with 24.1% and APS 5 with 23.8%.

Most employees on temporary assignment are performing duties at a higher classification. Including temporary assignment in any analysis of classification would skew the profile slightly away from lower classifications and towards higher classifications. For example, using base classification, 43,284 employees were at the APS 3–4 classifications, representing 31.4% of all ongoing employees, but this declined to 37,897, or 27.5% of all ongoing employees when temporary assignment was included. Similarly, the size of the SES increased from 2,544, representing 1.8% of all ongoing employees, to 3,021, or 2.2% of all ongoing employees when temporary assignment was included.

Educational qualifications

As of 1 July 2013, a new clause in the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013 requires agency heads to ensure measures are put in place to collect certain personal information from each employee and provide this information to the Commissioner. This requirement includes educational qualifications and diversity information for employees. As at June 2016, educational qualification data has been completed for 54.0% of ongoing employees, down from 56.3% at June 2015.

The following data is expressed as a proportion of employees whose qualifications are known. Over time, the proportion of APS employees with graduate qualifications has steadily increased. At June 2016, 61.3% of ongoing employees had graduate qualifications, up from 61.0% last year. At June 2007, the proportion of ongoing employees with graduate qualifications was 54.8%.

Length of service

At June 2016, the median length of service for ongoing employees was 10.4 years, up from 9.8 years at June 2015.

Figure 11 shows that the proportion of ongoing employees with fewer than five years of service at June 2016 was 18.2%, the same as June 2015. This follows a steady decline from June 2009. The proportion with 30 or more years of service was 5.1% at June 2016, an increase from 4.4% at June 2002.

Length at level

At June 2016, the median length at level for all ongoing employees was 6.3 years, the same as June 2015. At June 2012, the median was 4.4 years for all ongoing employees.

Figure 12 shows that, with the exception of SES, the median length at level has been steadily increasing for the past few years. For the APS 3–4 classifications, the median length at level was 7.4 years at June 2016, up from 7.1 years in 2015. SES employees showed the only decrease, with the median length at level of 5.4 years at June 2016, down from 5.8 years in 2015.


Tables in Section 3: Ongoing employees