Chapter Four

Types of work

Key occupation groups

  • School Teachers

    66,716

  • Nurses

    48,889

  • Clerical and Administrative Workers

    44,936

  • School Support Staff

    23,091

  • Police Officers

    16,586

  • Medical Practitioners

    12,329

  • Social and Welfare Professionals

    7,531

  • Cleaners and Laundry workers

    5,091

  • Labourers

    4,266

  • Ambulance Officers

    4,218

  • Prison officers

    3,848

  • Firefighters

    3,794

  • Bus drivers

    2,723

  • Food preparation assistants

    2,023

  • Train drivers

    1,937

Employment category, annual FTE, 2019
  • Ongoing
    76.2%
    -0.6pp
    since 2018
  • Temporary
    17.1%
    +1.7pp
    since 2018
  • Casual
    4.0%
    -1.2pp
    since 2018
Part time employees, census headcount, 2019
  • 2019
    26.9%

Changes in FTE – sector, services and key occupations

At June 2019, the total public sector number of census period full-time equivalent (FTE) employees increased by 2.7% compared to 2018 (up 8,782 FTE). The largest contributors to the increase were Clerical and Administrative Workers (+1,989 FTE, 4.6%), School Support Staff (+1,241 FTE, 5.7%), and the key frontline roles of Police Officers, Nurses and Teachers (+1,548 FTE).

The large increase (47.4%) in the Clerical and Administrative Workers occupation group was driven by the increase in Contract, Program and Project Administrators (+944 FTE). These were primarily in the Health and Transport clusters which account for 46.9% of the increase.

Annual full-time equivalent (FTE) is used when looking at the balance between ongoing, temporary and casual employment as it accounts for any seasonal variations in casual employment, particularly in frontline service delivery roles. Annual FTE is the sum of all paid hours worked over the annual reference period.

Table 4.1: Employment categories by service, annual FTE, 2019
Service Ongoing Temporary Casual Other1
Public Service 49,109 8,293 2,260 3,822
NSW Health Service 94,371 17,076 6,492 268
NSW Police Force 19,058 164 1 63
Teaching Service 44,975 19,655 1,359 0
Transport Service 9,549 902 31 2,283
Other Crown services 27,487 9,926 3,059 824
Total government sector 244,549 56,016 13,201 7,261
State owned corporations 6,130 190 78 1,290
External to government sector 484 116 4 419
Total public sector 251,164 56,322 13,283 8,970

More than three-quarters of public sector employees in 2019 were ongoing employees (76.2%). Temporary employees accounted for 17.1% of the public sector workforce, up 1.7pp from the previous year. These two categories account for more than nine in 10 public sector employees.

In absolute terms, annual FTE for ongoing employees increased 2,438 across the sector in 2019. Key contributors to the increase were the Health Service and the Teaching Service, with an increase of 2.0% (1,876 FTE) and 3.3% (1,454 FTE) respectively. The Health Service and Teaching Service together account for 55.9% of all employment.

The proportion of ongoing employees in the public sector decreased in 2019 by 0.6pp. The drop was driven by the Transport Service, with a decrease of 14.6% or 1,628 FTE from 2018. This is largely due to State Transit Authority franchising Region 6, which accounted for almost 60% of the decrease.

Table 4.2: Public sector employment categories comparison, annual FTE, 2018–191
Employment category 2018 2019 Change (%)
Ongoing 248,725 251,164 1.0
Temporary 49,869 56,322 12.9
Casual 16,996 13,283 -21.8
Other 8,238 8,970 8.9

There was a shift in temporary and casual employees, with a 12.9% increase in temporary employees and 21.8% decrease in casual employees. The primary contributor to this change is the Education cluster. However, Education confirmed that this is largely due to changes to the categorisation of employees who worked both in temporary and casual employment, rather than actual change in the balance of employment arrangements. This occurred due to Education’s migration to a new payroll system. Outside Education, the Health cluster contributed an increase of 573 FTE in temporary employees in 2019, which largely related to an increase in Medical Practitioners (273 FTE).

Considered together, temporary and casual employees increased by 2,740 FTE or 4.1% from 2018, which is more in line with the increase in ongoing employees.

Employment arrangements

While the proportion of non-casual part-time employees in the NSW public sector increased over 10 years, from 24.9% in 2010 to 26.9% in 2019, there was a decrease of 0.9pp compared to 2018. This decrease primarily relates to Education, which confirmed that its method of recording usual hours worked for part-time employees changed in its migration to a new payroll system. For this reason it is unclear whether there is any real decrease in part-time employment.

Figure 4.1 shows other Crown services had the highest proportion of non-casual part-time employees in 2019, at 54.4% (24,622 employees). These employees were primarily in School Administrative and Support (12,737 Education Aides and 10,272 General Clerks). The NSW Health Service had the second highest proportion of part-time employees (36.5% or 49,592). The largest groups were Midwifery and Nursing Professionals (19,507), Medical Practitioners (4,198), Health and Welfare Support Workers (3,715) and Health Therapy Professionals (2,608).

The highest proportions of full-time employees were in State owned corporations (95.6%), the Police Force (91.4%) and agencies external to the government sector (88.0%) (see Figure 4.1).

 
Table 4.3: Employment arrangement by service, non-casual headcount at census date, 2019
Service Full time Part time Total
Public Service 57,990 9,282 67,272
NSW Health Service 86,359 49,592 135,951
NSW Police Force 19,273 1,807 21,080
Teaching Service 65,312 12,053 77,365
Transport Service 12,232 1,767 13,999
Other Crown services 20,661 24,622 45,283
Total government sector 261,827 99,123 360,950
State owned corporations 7,617 347 7,964
External to government sector 945 129 1,074
Total public sector 270,389 99,599 369,988

The proportion of employees working part time varied considerably across salary bands (see Figure 4.2). While the highest representation was in the lowest band ($8,000–$63,199), where 55.5% of employees worked part time, there was around 25% representation in some higher salary ranges. In the salary range between $187,900 and $268,001, 27.7% employees worked part time and 90.1% of these were in specialised roles such as Medical Practitioners.

 

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. NSW Procurement maintains data on contingent labour use and spend. This is sourced from Contractor Central, which is the NSW Government’s vendor management system, and from records held outside this system.

The contingent labour workforce was estimated at 8,851 FTE2 over the period of 2018–19, with most contracts (84.9%) being relatively short term (less than 12 months). This represents a 26.4% increase in FTE, and an 8.1% increase in shorter-term contracts from the previous year.

 

Contingent FTE in information and communication technology (ICT) increased collectively by 36.3% from 2018. Implementation, management and support of ICT represents the largest category of contingent labour in both FTE and spend, accounting for 22.6% of FTE and 30.0% of expenditure. This is 7.8% higher than the next highest spend category of Specialists. Administration accounted for 21.1% of contingent labour FTE in 2019 (a decrease of 4.0% from 2018) and 10.1% of total reported costs (a fall of 1.0% from 2018). ICT contributes to three of the top five expenditure categories, at 48.9% of total reported expenditure and 37.7% of overall FTE (3,333).

Table 4.4: Top five contingent labour roles by expenditure, 20194
Role type Total expenditure (%)
Project coordinator/project manager/program manager 6.5
ICT project manager 5.7
ICT business analyst 3.6
ICT specialist 3.1
Clerical and administrative worker 3.0

Notes

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.