4 Types of work

Key Occupation Groups

  • School Teachers


  • Nurses


  • Clerical and Administrative Workers


  • School Support Staff


  • Police Officers


  • Medical Practitioners


  • Social and Welfare Professionals


  • Cleaners and Laundry workers


  • Labourers


  • Firefighters


  • Ambulance Officers


  • Bus drivers


  • Prison officers


  • Food preparation assistants


  • Train drivers


Employment category, annual FTE, 2018
  • Ongoing
    since 2017
  • Temporary
    since 2017
  • Casual
    since 2017
Part-time employees, census headcount, 2018
  • 2018

Changes in annual FTE – sector, services and key occupations

Annual FTE is the sum of all paid hours worked over the reference period. It provides the most accurate view of the human resources used to deliver government services to the people of NSW. While year-on-year change in the size of the sector is reported using census period FTE, annual FTE is a better measure when looking at the balance between ongoing, temporary and casual employment. This is because annual FTE considers seasonal variations in some parts of the sector, such as with the number of temporary teachers.

Table 4.1: Public sector employment categories comparison, annual FTE, 2017 and 2018

Employment category FTE in 2017 FTE in 2018 Change 2017–18 (%)
Ongoing 250,941 248,725 -0.9%
Temporary 47,281 49,869 5.5%
Casual 16,793 16,996 1.2%
Other 1 8,093 8,238 1.8%

More than three-quarters of public sector employees in 2018 were ongoing employees (76.8%) and 15.4% were temporary employees. These two categories account for more than nine in 10 public sector employees.


The proportion of ongoing employees in the public sector decreased in 2018 by 0.9 percentage points (2,216 FTE, see Table 4.1). This is in part due to a decrease of 2,636 FTE from the transfer of disability services to private providers under the NDIS. There was also a decrease of 3,521 FTE (36.7%) in State owned corporations due to the privatisation of Ausgrid (1,491 FTE), Endeavour Energy (1,494 FTE) and the Superannuation Administration Corporation (Pillar) (239 FTE) in 2017.

Despite the overall decrease, annual FTE for ongoing roles increased for the Health Service and the Teaching Service in 2018, with an increase of 2.0% (1,778 FTE) and 0.8% (331 FTE) respectively. The Health Service and Teaching Service together account for over half of ongoing FTE (54.7%), 67.9% of temporary FTE and 63.7% of casual FTE (see Table 4.2). These large cohorts can drive overall FTE change at sector level.

Table 4.2: Employment categories by service, annual FTE, 2018

Service Ongoing Temporary Casual Other 1
Public Service 48,534 7,054 2,386 3,778
NSW Health Service 92,496 16,533 6,325 256
NSW Police Force 19,098 156 1 36
Teaching Service 43,521 17,303 4,496 0
Transport Service 11,178 628 69 1,708
Other Crown services 27,344 7,741 3,631 853
Total government sector 242,169 49,416 16,908 6,630
State owned corporations 6,068 355 83 1,212
External to government sector 488 98 5 396
Total public sector 248,725 49,869 16,996 8,238

In contrast, the number of temporary employees grew, both in absolute terms (an increase of 2,588 FTE since 2017) and as a proportion of the total public sector (from 14.6% in 2017 to 15.4% in 2018). The largest contributor to the increase in FTE among temporary employees is the NSW Health Service (857 FTE, 5.5%) with an increase in medical practitioners and nurses across most local health districts. Other drivers of the increase include the Teaching Service, up by 797 (4.8%), predominantly due to an increase in temporary school teachers. Other Crown services have an additional 621 FTE temporary employees (up 8.7%) within school administrative and support staff, largely related to an increase in teachers’ aides.

The annual FTE for casual employment remained steady, increasing by 203 (1.2%) from 2017 to 2018. Proportionally, the representation of casual employees in the sector remained the same, at 5.2% in 2017 and 2018.

Employment arrangements

The proportion of non-casual part-time employees in the NSW public sector increased from 25.7% in 2008 to 27.8% in 2018. This represents an increase of 0.2 percentage points compared to 2017, when the figure was 27.6%.

Figure 4.3 shows other Crown services had the highest proportion of non-casual part-time employees in 2018, at 59.3% (21,847 employees). These employees were primarily in School Administrative and Support (11,022 Teachers’ Aides and 9,703 General Clerks). The NSW Health Service had the second highest proportion of parttime employees (32.1% or 42,185). The largest groups were Midwifery and Nursing Professionals (16,770), Medical Practitioners (3,726), Health and Welfare Support Workers (3,176) and Personal Carers and Assistants (2,121).

The highest proportions of full-time employees were in State owned corporations (95.5%), the Police Force (91.1%) and the external to government sector (88.1%) (see Figure 4.3).


In the NSW Police Force, 76.8% of employees were Police Officers. Most worked fulltime (92.2%), while 87.5% of other employees also worked full-time. In the Transport Service, Bus and Train Drivers made up 27.0% of the workforce and 98.1% of these roles were full-time.

Table 4.3: Employment arrangement by service, non-casual census headcount, 2018

Service Full-time Part-time Total headcount
Public Service 54,332 8,830 63,162
NSW Health Service 89,351 42,185 131,536
NSW Police Force 18,901 1,842 20,743
Teaching Service 51,986 19,796 71,782
Transport Service 13,047 1,796 14,843
Other Crown services 14,973 21,847 36,820
Total government sector 242,590 96,296 338,886
State owned corporations 7,352 348 7,700
External to government sector 927 125 1,052
Total public sector 250,869 96,769 347,638

The proportion of staff members working part-time varied considerably across salary bands (see Figure 4.4). In the lowest band ($8,000–$61,658) the proportion was highest, with 52.3% of employees working part-time. The non-linear distribution of part-time working arrangements as salary increased shows that the notion of parttime roles becoming less available as remuneration increases doesn’t hold, although this pattern was impacted by prominent roles. Medical Practitioners made up 90.9% of part-time employees in the salary ranges from 157,763 to 261,451.


The contingent workforce

Contingent labour forms part of the overall public sector workforce, with workers typically employed to meet a short-term need or to address a capability gap. Data on contingent labour use and spend is maintained by NSW Procurement. This is sourced both from Contractor Central, which is the NSW Government’s vendor management system, and from records held outside this system.

There were an estimated 7,003 FTE2 of contingent labour workers in 2017–18, and 76.8% of workers had contracts of less than 12 months duration.


Similar to 2016 and 2017, the largest proportion of contingent labour was in the administration category, accounting for 25.1% of the FTE (1,758 FTE). However, this category only accounts for 11.1% of reported expenditure. The highest area of spend was in the information and communication technology (ICT) categories. These account for 49.7% of the total reported costs and 34.9% of the FTE (2,445 FTE), reflecting the higher average remuneration of these roles. ICT expenditure collectively increased 2 percentage points compared to 2017 and accounted for three of the top five expenditure categories.

Table 4.4: Top five contingent labour roles by expenditure, 2018 4

Role Type Percentage of total expenditure (%)
Project coordinator/project manager/program manager 8.2%
ICT project manager 5.1%
ICT business analyst 4.2%
IT specialist/ICT consultant 3.3%
Clerical and administrative worker 2.9%


1 The ‘Other’ category includes employees whose employment category is Contract Executive, Contract Non-Executive, Statutory Appointee, Transport Senior Manager or Other
2 FTE is estimated by dividing the total hours worked by contract length and then converting to FTE. An entire year assumes a 35-hour week for 52 weeks. Due to the nature of the contingent labour data, this is an estimate only and not directly comparable to workforce profile data
3 Excludes records where contract length cannot be determined, due to incorrect or missing dates
4 Contingent labour data uses a different role classification taxonomy than the workforce profile