2 Size and composition

  • NSW employed persons

    9.8%

    of all NSW employed persons are NSW public sector employees

  • Annual full-time-equivalent employees

    Up by

    720

    or 0.2%

  • Census headcount

    Up by

    2,910

    or 0.7%

  • Growth in NSW employed persons

    3.9%
  • Growth in NSW public sector

    0.7%

Size of the NSW public sector workforce

The NSW public sector is the largest employer in the state. In 2018, the size of the workforce grew, with annual full-time equivalent (FTE) employees increasing 0.2% compared to 2017 (up 720 FTE). This increase followed a period of annual decreases since a peak in 2012.

 

 

Table 2.1: Public Sector census headcount, census period FTE and annual FTE, 2008–2018

Year Census headcount Change from previous year (%) Census period FTE Change from previous year (%) Annual FTE Change from previous year (%)
2008 378,645 1.8 316,400 1.3 310,527 2.3
2009 383,014 1.2 319,059 0.8 313,801 1.1
2010 386,185 0.8 322,452 1.1 317,314 1.1
2011 394,789 2.2 330,400 2.5 324,797 2.4
2012 401,703 1.8 332,555 0.7 325,524 0.2
2013 399,243 -0.6 329,336 -1.0 324,825 -0.2
2014 396,036 -0.8 328,111 -0.4 324,688 0.0
2015 394,194 -0.5 326,765 -0.4 324,135 -0.2
2016 393,442 -0.2 326,706 0.0 324,477 0.1
2017 393,333 0.0 325,917 -0.2 323,108 -0.4
2018 396,243 0.7 329,005 0.9 323,828 0.2

While the NSW public sector increased in size in 2018, the growth is notably lower than the rate experienced in the broader NSW workforce over the same period or anytime over the past four years.

 

Figure 2.2 highlights the year-on-year increases in the broader workforce since 2010, compared to the public sector workforce, which experienced decreases from 2012 to 2017. While the number of public sector employees increased 0.7% in 2018 compared to the previous year, the broader workforce experienced 3.9% growth over the same period. Consequently, the proportion of NSW employed persons who worked for the NSW public sector decreased to 9.8%, the lowest level since the launch of the Workforce Profile in 1999.

 

Composition of the NSW public sector

While headcount measures the number of employees and is comparable to broader workforce statistics, the census period FTE provides a better measure of the resource level of the public sector workforce at June each year.

Table 2.2: Composition of the public sector by service, census period FTE 2017–18

Service FTE at census 2017 FTE at census 2018 FTE change 2017-18 FTE change from 2017–18 (%)
NSW Health Service 114,407 116,967 2,560 2.2
NSW Police Force 19,759 19,859 100 0.5
Other Crown Services 41,070 41,385 315 0.8
Public Service 62,020 61,358 -662 -1.1
Teaching Service 66,381 67,181 800 1.2
Transport Service 13,404 13,651 247 1.8
Total government sector 317,041 320,402 3,361 1.1
External to government sector 1,164 998 -166 -14.3
State owned corporations 7,712 7,605 -106 -1.4
Total public sector 325,917 329,005 3,088 0.9

Table 2.2 and Figure 2.4 show that the majority of services experienced increases in FTE from 2017 to 2018. The largest proportional increases occurred in the health, transport and teaching services, with rises of 2.2%, 1.8% and 1.2% respectively compared to 2017.

The numbers of people employed in key frontline roles as nurses, teachers and police officers all increased compared to 2017. In 2018, there are an additional 1,035 FTE nurses (2.2% increase), 774 FTE teachers (1.2% increase) and 147 FTE police officers (0.9% increase). These three employee groups account for 63.3% of overall growth.

 

The increase in the NSW Health Service was spread across most local health districts and agencies. In addition to the extra 1,035 FTE nurses, the number of ambulance officers rose by 205 FTE (5.4% increase) and medical practitioners by 463 FTE (4.0% increase).

The 1.8% increase in Transport Service FTE was concentrated in the Sydney East region. It was spread across a range of roles, including construction project managers, accountants and engineers, aligning with the significant infrastructure investment in Sydney.

The largest proportional decrease was in agencies external to the government sector. This was due to the Treasury Corporation changing status to become a Crown service within Treasury, producing a corresponding increase in other Crown services and the Treasury cluster of 185 FTE.

The Public Service decreased 1.1% (662 FTE) compared to 2017. This was mainly due to the transfer of disability services in Family and Community Services to private providers under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which led to a decrease of more than 4,400 FTE. Another contributing factor is the privatisation of Titling and Registry Services from the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, which accounted for 335 FTE of the decrease. These decreases were offset to a large degree by increases across the Public Service, with 71.2% of Public Service agencies experiencing an increase in FTE.

Excluding the Family and Community Services cluster decrease, the rest of the Public Service increased by 7.0% (3,407) FTE. Increases in the Department of Education were a key contributor (increasing 1,150 FTE). This partly related to the creation of a new division (Schools Infrastructure NSW), but also to a reporting shift of more than 600 FTE automobile drivers from School Administrative and Support (within other Crown services) linked to improved occupation and salary award coding.

Table 2.3: Composition of the public sector by cluster, census period FTE, 2017–2018

Cluster 2017 FTE 2018 FTE Change 2017-18 Change 2017–18 (%)
Education 91,070 92,836 1,765 1.9
Family & Community Services 13,107 9,037 -4,069 -31.1
Finance, Services & Innovation 7,075 7,410 335 4.7
Health 115,325 117,957 2,631 2.3
Industry 16,495 17,220 725 4.4
Justice 40,360 41,287 928 2.3
Planning & Environment 13,441 13,773 332 2.5
Premier & Cabinet 1,198 1,436 237 19.8
Transport 25,526 25,574 47 0.2
Treasury 1,156 1,477 322 27.8
External to government sector 1,164 998 -166 -14.3
Total 325,917 329,005 3,088 0.9

The Planning and Environment cluster increased 332 FTE compared to the previous year. Increases occurred across a range of roles, with key contributors being a 98 FTE increase in Urban and Regional Planners, 98 FTE increase in Program or Project Administrators and a 79 FTE increase in Policy and Planning Managers.

Corrective Services in the Justice cluster contributed a 571 FTE increase in the Public Service. More than half of the increase occurred in the Far West and Orana and the Hunter Valley (excluding Newcastle) regions. Increases in Prison Officers, Commissioned Corrective Services Officers and Clerical and Administrative Workers account for almost half of the increase in these regions (144 FTE).

The increase of 725 FTE in the Industry cluster primarily relates to increases in the Department of Industry (110 FTE), Local Land Services (179 FTE) and the TAFE Commission (402 FTE). Increases occurred in a range of occupations across the cluster. The largest increase, of 288 FTE, occurred in Contract, Program and Project Administrators.

The Finance, Services and Innovation cluster increased by 335 FTE. Service NSW contributed 244 FTE to this increase, with an additional 11 service centres opening during 2017–18.


Notes

1Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, ‘Table 16. Labour force status by Labour market region (ASGS) and Sex’, cat. no. 6291.0.55.001, viewed 18 October 2018, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.001Sep%202018?OpenDocument