AppendixData sources, conventions & limitations

Data sources, conventions & limitations

About this report

This report contains analysis of NSW public sector workforce profile data, contingent labour data collected by the Department of Finance, Service and Innovation, and data from the I work for NSW e-recuritment system.
The Workforce Profile is a census of NSW public sector employees conducted by the Public Service Commission. Various data items used to inform workforce management & planning were collected, including the size, composition, location and demographics of the workforce.  Participation is mandatory for all NSW government sector agencies and State- Owned Corporations, and optional for NSW public sector agencies that are external to the government.

Data conventions

Numbers have been rounded to zero decimal places, and percentages to one decimal place.  Consequently, percentages less than .04% will be reported as 0.0% after rounding.  Rounding may also mean that individual items within a table do not tally to the corresponding total.

Census date

Census date was 29/06/2017. 

Data limitations         


  • Data accuracy may be affected by omissions, inaccuracies or miscoded data provided by contributing agencies.
  • Differences in totals in some tables, compared to summary figures, may occur due to rounding, missing, withdrawn or invalid data. Variations between the data in this document and that published by individual agencies may differ due to differences in timing, data definitions and methodologies employed.
  • All data represents a ‘snapshot’ at slightly different points in time and is subject to revision.  The Workforce Profile data included all data submitted and verified as at 03/11/2017, recruitment data (IworkforNSW data) was extracted on 25/10/2017, and contingent labour was that supplied by NSW Procurement for the financial year 2017.

Version changes         

Version 1.1: On 05/02/18 this report was updated to correct a typo in the Chapter 1: Executive Summary. The proportion of female senior leaders was reported as 37.5%, it has been corrected.

Version 1.2: On 13/04/18 this report was updated to include data that was submitted after 3/11/2017. This data has altered all headcount and FTE totals for the Public Sector, Government Sector and Public Service, as well as some diversity headcount data and unscheduled absence data. There have been minor data changes in some figures, in some tables and in the text. For a full list of changes, please contact the NSW Public Service Commission.


Regional Reference Table

The regions presented in this report (left hand column in the table below) were compiled from ABS SA4 regions.

Region ABS SA4 regions included
Capital Region Capital Region
Central Coast Central Coast
Central West Central West
Coffs Harbour – Grafton Coffs Harbour – Grafton
Far West & Orana Far West & Orana
Hunter Valley (exc Newcastle) Hunter Valley (exc Newcastle)
Illawarra Illawarra
Mid North Coast Mid North Coast
Murray Murray
New England & North West New England & North West
Newcastle & Lake Macquarie Newcastle & Lake Macquarie
Richmond – Tweed Richmond – Tweed
Riverina Riverina
Southern Highlands & Shoalhaven Southern Highlands & Shoalhaven
Sydney East Sydney – City & Inner South
Sydney – Eastern Suburbs
Sydney – Inner South West
Sydney – Inner West
Sydney – North Sydney & Hornsby
Sydney – Northern Beaches
Sydney – Ryde
Sydney – Sutherland
Sydney West Sydney – Baulkham Hills & Hawkesbury
Sydney – Blacktown
Sydney – Outer South West
Sydney – Outer West & Blue Mountains
Sydney – Parramatta
Sydney – South West


This section defines the terminology used in this report.

Term Business definition
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Employees Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employees are people of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identify as such and are accepted as such by the community in which they live.
Annual Reference Period The annual reference period starts on the day following the last pay date of the previous financial year and ends on the last pay day of the current financial year.
Annual Remuneration Remuneration reflects the annual salary/salary package that an employee would receive if they worked full-time hours. It excludes overtime, allowances or lump sum payments. Annual remuneration is different to actual earnings which are affected by factors such as part-time work, overtime, allowances or lump sum payments.
ANZSCO Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO ABS Cat No 1220.0). ANZSCO is a skill-based classification used to classify all occupations and jobs in the Australian and New Zealand labour markets.
The structure of ANZSCO has five hierarchical levels - major group, sub-major group, minor group, unit group and occupation. The categories at the most detailed level of the classification are termed 'occupations'. These are grouped together to form 'unit groups', which in turn are grouped into 'minor groups'. Minor groups are aggregated to form 'sub-major groups' which in turn are aggregated at the highest level to form 'major groups'.
ANZSCO Major group In ANZSCO, occupations are organised into progressively larger groups on the basis of their similarities in terms of both skill level and skill specialisation. The major group level will provide only a broad indication of skill level. 
Major groups are:
  • the broadest level of ANZSCO
  • formed using a combination of skill level and skill specialisation to create groups which are meaningful and useful for most (statistical and administrative) purposes.
ANZSCO Minor group ANZSCO Minor groups are:
  • subdivisions of the sub-major groups
  • distinguished from other minor groups in the same sub-major group mainly on the basis of a less broad application of skill specialisation.
Census Date Census date is the actual last pay day of the reference period.
Census Period The last pay fortnight of the reference period.
Completed applications The number of applications for 'open' or 'filled' I work for NSW requisitions where the latest application completion date is in the reference period.
 Diversity Workforce diversity initiatives in the government sector aim to build a workforce which reflects the diversity of the wider community. Under the GSE Act, diversity groups include Aboriginal people, women, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with disability. The Act also provides flexibility to encompass a broader spectrum of diversity, including mature workers, young people and carers.
Diversity Estimation Method Diversity estimates are calculated if agencies meet the response rate threshold of 65%. The estimate is calculated by dividing (a) the number of diversity group members counted by (b) the number of respondents and then multiplying by (c) the total number of employees.
Employment Arrangement A non-casual employee’s arrangement classified by full-time or part-time status.
Employment Category Groups Employment category reflects the nature of an employee’s employment contract with an agency. Categories include:
Ongoing: Employed on a continuing basis to perform ongoing functions;
Temporary: Non-casual employees who do not have ongoing conditions of employment, or individual employment contracts. Employed for a specific period of time;
Casual: Employees engaged to perform work on an ’as-required’ basis, and who are paid at an hourly rate equal to the relevant classification level of the position, with a loading;
Executive: Includes Public Service senior executives employed under pre-GSE contracts, senior executives employed under Division 4 of Part 4 of the Government Sector Employment (GSE) Act 2013 and other Public Sector senior executives under contract arrangements, including Health, Transport and Police executives. This group does not include Senior Officers, Senior Officer equivalents.
Contract: Employees (non-executive) who are employed on the basis of fixed term individual contract. This group does not include contractors and consultants engaged on a fee for service basis; and
Other: Relates to all other employment categories; i.e. cadet, trainees, apprentices, retained staff, sessional, seasonal and Statutory Appointees.
Full time Employees Full-time employees are employees who usually work 35 hours or more a week. See Australian Bureau of Statistics - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat no. 6120.0).
Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Workforce A standardised way of describing the size of the workforce based on the total number of ordinary time paid hours worked (excluding overtime and unpaid work). The FTE workforce describes the total number of full-time employees required to account for all ordinary time paid hours work. It is not a count of the number of employees. For example, two employees, both working half the standard number of full-time hours for their position, will together be counted as one FTE employee.
FTE workforce can be measured during a period, such as the last pay period during the financial year (census period).
Since the same method of counting can be applied to each agency, FTE staffing figures provide the most accurate indication of resource levels within the NSW Public Sector.
Gender pay gap The gender wage gap follows the OECD method and is defined as the difference between median salary of males and females relative to median salary of males. Employee salary is the full-time base remuneration or the role regardless of whether the employee is working part-time or full-time.
Headcount Total number of employees employed at a given time. 
Employees with multiple periods of employment in a single agency during the year are counted only once by most agencies. However, the payroll systems used by some agencies do not link employment periods and these agencies have reported each period of employment as a separate employee. Employees with periods of employment in different agencies during the year are counted as separate employees in each agency. In the Health sector, this also applies to employees working in more than one Area Health Service.
Headcount figures pick up all employees who have worked during the period, even if they only worked for one day. Both total employees (headcount) figures and FTE figures are reported because they provide different perspectives of the workforce. FTE translates the headcount figures into a proportion of the hours worked by an equivalent full-time staff member. For example, a person working one day per week would be counted as 1 under headcount and 0.2 under FTE (i.e.: they work 20 percent of the time that a full-time employee would work). Headcount figures therefore give a picture of how many people were employed during the period, whereas FTE is a more accurate indicator of resource levels.
Job advertisements The number of ‘open’ and ‘filled’ I work for NSW requisitions where the latest application completion date is in the reference period.
Language first spoken as a child The language the person first spoke as a child, as distinct from the preferred language or language usually spoken at home.
Median The median (the middle value of a distribution: half the values are above the median and half are below the median) is presented as it is less sensitive to extreme values than the mean.
Non-casual Employees All persons engaged to work and are paid through a NSW government agency payroll system, excluding employees working for an hourly rate (casual, sessional, seasonal and retained staff).
NSW Employed Persons Employed persons (defined by Australian Bureau of Statistics – ABS) include all persons aged 15 years and over who, during the reference week:
  • worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (comprising employees, employers and own account workers); or
  • worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or
  • were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
    • away from work for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week; or
    • away from work for more than four weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the reference week; or
    • away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement; or
    • on strike or locked out; or
    • on workers’ compensation and expected to return to their job; or
    • were employers or own account workers, who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.
Openings The number of available positions for ‘open’ and ‘filled’ I work for NSW requisitions where the latest application completion date is in the reference period, and the number of openings was less than 99. This calculation  excludes requisitions that were recorded as having unlimited openings.
Paid Unscheduled Absence Sum of hours of paid sick leave and paid carers leave hours taken during the reference period.  It includes employees with (a) valid sick leave entitlement and (b) annual FTE not missing.
Part-time Employees Part-time employees are employed persons who usually work less than 35 hours a week. (See Australian Bureau of Statistics - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods - cat no. 6120.0).
Ongoing Employees Ongoing employees are employed on a continuing basis to perform ongoing functions.
Person with disability A person who identifies as having a disability i.e. as having one or more of the following limitations or restrictions:
  • a long-term medical condition or ailment
  • speech difficulties in their native language
  • a disfigurement or deformity
  • a psychiatric condition
  • a head injury, stroke or any other brain damage
  • loss of sight or hearing
  • incomplete use of any part of their body
  • blackouts, fits or loss of consciousness
  • restriction in physical activities or physical work
  • slowness at learning or understanding
  • any other condition resulting in a restriction.
Public Sector Exit Rate Number of employees separated from the public sector during the year as a proportion of the average number of people employed during the year
NSW Regions Regions produced by Department of Premier and Cabinet. In NSW, there are 152 LGAs which are grouped into 9 Regions.  See
Senior executive cohort Includes Public Service Chief Executive Service, SES and award-based senior executives (Senior Officers and equivalents) and senior executives employed under Division 4 of Part 4 of the Government Sector Employment (GSE) Act 2013.
Separation rate Number of employees separated from the agency during the year as a proportion of the average number of people employed during the year.
Statistical Areas Level 4  (SA4) Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s) are the largest sub-State regions of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) geographic framework for release of data, the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).   They are designed for the output of Labour Force Survey data and reflect labour markets within each state and territory.
Successful applications The number of I work for NSW applications that have a hired date, for 'open' or 'filled' requisitions where the latest application completion date is in the reference period.
Temporary Employees Non-casual employees, who do not have ongoing conditions of employment, do not have individual employment contracts and who are employed for a specific period of time.
Tenure The length of employment of employees within an Agency.
Time to hire The average number of weeks from latest application completion date to hired date, for ‘open’ and  ‘filled’ requisitions with one opening and where the latest application completion date is in the reference period.
Trainees, Cadets and Apprentices Staff whose employment conditions require them to undergo a designated training program as part of their vocational development.
Weighted Headcount Prior to 2017 postcodes were the only location-related data items collected in the Workforce Profile. As postcode boundaries do not align with Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries, and one postcode can overlap across two or three LGAs, where data are presented by LGAs headcount is weighted across the relevant LGAs using ABS population concordance tables. In 2017 both postcode and suburb name data was collected, however due to a lack of historical data no analysis was undertaken using suburb name.