Chapter

NSW public sector at a glance

The NSW public sector delivers a wide range of services to the community, including those related to education, health, housing, family support, business advice, public transport, roads, water supply, agriculture, environment, fire and emergency response, police, prisons and courts.

These services are delivered by 326,765 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees3 working in a large number of departments and agencies across NSW. Note that the total headcount is 394,194 though FTE is primarily used throughout this report. This chapter includes a snapshot of the demographics and distribution of the public sector workforce. Further details are included in the annual NSW Workforce Profile report, available on the PSC website: www.psc.nsw.gov.au.

Share of the NSW economy

The NSW general government sector had a net worth of $174.4 billion in 2014–15.4 Employee-related costs accounted for 48.9% of general government expenditure5, an increase of 0.9% since 2013–14. Including infrastructure and public corporations, which are not reported as part of the general government sector, the total NSW state sector represented about 13.5% of the NSW economy in 2013–146.

Workforce size and composition

The NSW public sector is 1.7% smaller than in 2012 in terms of full-time equivalent employees, after continuing to shrink in 2014–15. This reverses the trend of continuous growth over the 10 years to June 2012. However, although the total workforce decreased, the key roles of nurses, teachers and police officers continued to increase over the same period (see The workforce).

Trends in public sector employment, 1999–2015

Line chart of 'Trends in public sector employment, 1999-2015'

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  • Annual FTE: Approximately 285,000 employees in 2002 to approximately 325,000 employees in 2015
  • Census FTE:: Approximately 272,000 employees in 1999 to approximately 328,000 employees in 2015
  • Census headcount: Approximately 330,000 employees in 2002 to approximately 395,000 employees in 2015

Source: NSW Workforce Profile; data not available where there are gaps

The smaller size of the public sector workforce contrasts with the overall growth in the total number of people employed in NSW. Indeed, 2015 marked the largest increase in total employment since 2008.

Growth in the NSW public sector compared to total NSW employment, 2010–15

Bar chart of 'Growth in the NSW public sector compared to total NSW employment, 2010–15'

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Year % growth (NSW public sector) % growth (All people employed in NSW)
2010 0.8 1.1
2011 2.2 1.4
2012 1.7 1.3
2013 -0.6 2.2
2014 -0.8 0.3
2015 -0.5 2.6

Source: NSW Workforce Profile and Australian Bureau of Statistics CAT 6202.0 – Labour Force

Chart of 'Structure of the public sector'

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Government Sector Employees (2015) % of total (2015)
Departments 43,188 13.2
Public Service Executive Agencies 17,308 5.3
Separate Public Service Agencies 3,319 1.0
Total Public Service 63,815 19.5
Teaching Service 63,949 19.6
Health Service 108,031 33.1
Police Force 19,781 6.1
Transport Service 13,001 4.0
Other Crown Services 39,866 12.2
Total Government Sector 308,443 94.4
State Owned Corporations 17,471 5.3
External to Government Sector 850 0.3
Total Public Sector (FTE) 326,765 100

Notes:

FTE describes the number of full-time employees required to account for all ordinary-time paid hours of work. For example, two employees working half weeks would be counted as one FTE employee. FTE has been rounded to the nearest whole number, so the total for the public sector may not equal the sum of the components

Other Crown Services: examples are Internal Audit Bureau, NSW Treasury Corporation, NSW Self Insurance Corporation, NSW Trains, Sydney Trains, Transport Cleaning Services, school administrative and support staff, TAFE Commission

State Owned Corporations: primarily energy and water corporations

External to Government Sector: examples are Independent Commission Against Corruption, Audit Office

Chart of 'The workforce'

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The workforce

Number of employees in NSW (FTE)
326,765
Increase in number of nurses, teachers and police officers from June 2014 (FTE)
2,199
Decrease in number of employees from June 2014 (FTE)
1,346
Public sector as a percentage of all NSW employed persons
10.6%
Employees aged 55 and over
24.4%
Median age of public sector employees
45 years
Proportion of employees who are women
63.3%
Median salary for 2015
$79,656
Median salary for women
$79,363
Median salary for men
$80,896
Median length of service in agency
9 years
Proportion of public sector employees working outside Sydney
38%
Proportion of part-time employees
27%
Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees
3%
Average sick leave taken annually (per FTE)
61.4 hours

Decrease in total employees: For the third year in a row there was a small decrease in the total number of employees over the previous 12 months. While nursing, teaching and police staff numbers increased by 2,199, all other employees decreased by 3,545, resulting in an overall decrease of 1,346 employees

Public sector as a percentage of all NSW employed persons: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force, Australia

Visual representation of 'The majority of employees work in essential services, primarily health and education'

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The majority of employees work in essential services, primarily health and education

Cluster Number Percentage
Health 108.847 33.3%
Education 85,850 26.3%
Justice 40,941 12.5%
Industry 32.392 9.9
Transport 25,329 7.8%
Family & Community Services 16,839 5.2%
Finance, Services & Innovation 7,202 2.2%
Planning & Environment 5,252 1.6%
Premier & Cabinet 2,045 0.6%
Treasury 1,217 0.4%
External to Government Sector 850 0.3%
Total 326,765*  

* FTE. Services are grouped in clusters. A cluster is an administrative arrangement that enables departments and agencies to coordinate related services

Chart of 'Age profile across the sector'

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Age profile across the sector

Under 35 years 99,230
35-54 years 198,722
55+ years 95,997
Median age 45
Largest single group 45-54
Boomers: 50-69 years 55+ years

In a workforce of almost 330,000 people, half are aged 35–54; the younger and older age groups together make up the remaining half. The largest single age group (26%) is made up of those aged 45–54.

The workforce is ageing. The past year saw a small increase in the oldest age group and a relatively larger decrease in the mid-range age group, while the number of younger employees remains stable. Baby boomers aged 50–69 make up 37% of the total workforce but these numbers are declining. The median age of 45 years has not changed in the last 12 months, but varies between clusters.

The overall reduction in numbers in 2015 is due to 5,316 retirements in addition to a restructuring of the public sector.

Bar chart of 'Age in clusters'

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Age in clusters

Cluster % Young employees (under 35) % Baby Boomers Median age
Education 27% 29% 45
Family & Community Services 4% 6% 48
Finance, Services & Innovation 2% 2% 44
Health 39% 33% 44
Industry 6% 11% 48
Justice 13% 9% 42
Planning & Environment 2% 1% 43
Premier & Cabinet 1% 0% 41
Transport 5% 8% 47
Treasury 0% 0% 41

Gender profile across the sector

Men and women are employed in different roles and levels throughout the sector, and the gender balance varies from cluster to cluster.7 Overall, women make up two-thirds of the public sector and hold one-third of executive positions. In most clusters, there is a clear pattern of the gender balance changing between lower and higher salary levels.

Key

Salaries & Grades8

Grade 1-8: $57,256 to <$97,883
Grade 9/10: $97,883 to <$113,212
Grade 11/12: $112,212 to <$146,499
SEB 1: $146,499 to <$242,801
SEB 2: $242,801 to <$305,401
SEB 3: $305,401 and above

Icon for women Women
Icon for men Men

Key
Salaries & Grades8
Grade 1-8 $57,256 to <$97,883
Grade 9/10 $97,883 to <$113,212
Grade 11/12 $113,212 to <$146,499
SEB 1 $146,499 to <$242,801
SEB 2 $242,801 to <$305,401
SEB 3 $305,401 and above

NSW Public Sector

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 65% 35%
$97,883 to <$113,212 59% 41%
$113,212 to <$146,499 47% 53%
$146,499 to <$242,801 34% 66%
$242,801 to <$305,401 32% 68%
$305,401 & above 23% 77%

Education

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 78% 22%
$97,883 to <$113,212 70% 30%
$113,212 to <$146,499 62% 38%
$146,499 to <$242,801 47% 53%
$242,801 to <$305,401 48% 52%
$305,401 & above 43% 57%

Family & Community Services

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 77% 23%
$97,883 to <$113,212 73% 27%
$113,212 to <$146,499 65% 35%
$146,499 to <$242,801 57% 43%
$242,801 to <$305,401 54% 46%
$305,401 & above 56% 44%

Health

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 79% 21%
$97,883 to <$113,212 70% 30%
$113,212 to <$146,499 60% 40%
$146,499 to <$242,801 40% 60%
$242,801 to <$305,401 39% 41%
$305,401 & above 38% 42%

Finance, Services & Innovation

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 62% 38%
$97,883 to <$113,212 44% 56%
$113,212 to <$146,499 38% 62%
$146,499 to <$242,801 37% 63%
$242,801 to <$305,401 23% 77%
$305,401 & above 17% 83%

Industry

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 39% 61%
$97,883 to <$113,212 36% 64%
$113,212 to <$146,499 29% 71%
$146,499 to <$242,801 22% 78%
$242,801 to <$305,401 33% 67%
$305,401 & above 15% 85%

Justice

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 40% 60%
$97,883 to <$113,212 38% 62%
$113,212 to <$146,499 41% 59%
$146,499 to <$242,801 23% 77%
$242,801 to <$305,401 37% 63%
$305,401 & above 24% 76%

Planning & Environment

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 49% 51%
$97,883 to <$113,212 43% 57%
$113,212 to <$146,499 37% 63%
$146,499 to <$242,801 36% 64%
$242,801 to <$305,401 22% 78%
$305,401 & above 40% 60%

Premier & Cabinet

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 62% 38%
$97,883 to <$113,212 61% 39%
$113,212 to <$146,499 54% 46%
$146,499 to <$242,801 52% 48%
$242,801 to <$305,401 47% 53%
$305,401 & above 19% 81%

Transport

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 25% 75%
$97,883 to <$113,212 27% 73%
$113,212 to <$146,499 26% 74%
$146,499 to <$242,801 22% 78%
$242,801 to <$305,401 10% 90%
$305,401 & above 13% 87%

Treasury

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Salary bracket % of the workforce (women) % of the workforce (men)
$57,256 to <$97,883 68% 32%
$97,883 to <$113,212 47% 53%
$113,212 to <$146,499 44% 56%
$146,499 to <$242,801 36% 64%
$242,801 to <$305,401 33% 67%
$305,401 & above 33% 67%

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Location of public sector employees in NSW

Location Number of employees Percentage
Sydney East 125,715 31.9%
Western Sydney 101,946 25.9%
Hunter Region 37,080 9.4%
Western NSW 36,369 9.2%
North Coast 29,624 7.5%
Southern NSW 23,732 6.0%
Illawarra 20,301 5.2%
Central Coast 15,625 4.0%
South Coast 3,366 0.9%

Most public sector employees are located in Sydney. Public sector employees make up 10.6% of all people employed in NSW.

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Profile of employee in key occupations

Occupations No. of employees (2015 FTE) Median age Median salary ($) Women (%) Part time (non-casual) (%) Average sick leave (hours per FTE) Median tenure (years in agency)
School teachers 63,274 43 93,138 75.5 26.3 58.5 13.7
Nurses 44,331 43 79,656 86.9 37.7 66.6 7.5
Clerical and administrative workers 42,270 48 65,764 75.2 21.0 64.7 7.9
Police officers 16,157 38 81,470 27.3 6.7 54.2 11.5
Labourers 11,812 51 43,934 49.0 30.3 73.6 9.3
Medical practitioners 10,607 36 112,725 45.7 23.4 26.8 3.3
Firefighters 3,967 43 79,897 5.8 0.6 70.9 13.9
Ambulance officers 3,846 42 67,159 33.7 4.6 85.8 9.9
Bus drivers 3,556 50 52,884 6.1 8.3 69.0 7.8
Prison officers 3,271 46 67,341 22.5 1.0 100.7 12.8
Residential care workers 3,134 49 59,819 63.0 51.8 87.8 8.1
Aged or disabled carers 2,569 52 42,969 89.0 86.2 65.1 7.8
Train drivers 1,840 45 70,960 6.9 0.7 75.7 11.4
Total all staff 326,765 45 79,656 63.3 26.9 61.4 9.0
  1. NSW Workforce Profile 2015
  2. 2015–16 Budget Paper No. 1 – Budget Statement, pB1–11
  3. 2015–16 Budget Paper No. 1 – Budget Statement, p19
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics CAT 5220.0 – Australian National Accounts: State Accounts 2013–2014. Table 2: Expenditure, income and industry components of gross state product, New South Wales, chain volume measures and current prices
  5. A cluster is an administrative arrangement that enables departments and agencies to coordinate services
  6. Grades relate to administration and clerical awards and the Government Sector Employment Act 2013