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Public Service Commission


The NSW Government’s Workforce Profile marked its 22nd anniversary in 2020. The Workforce Profile Report is a result of collaboration between the Public Service Commission (PSC) and agencies across the NSW public sector, the largest employer in Australia. It is a companion report to the State of the NSW Public Sector Report, providing a powerful evidence base of workforce characteristics and trends.

The 2020 Workforce Profile Report highlights several important aspects of the public sector.

  • In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSW public sector has continued to grow, with a 1.4% increase in the past year.
  • The number of key frontline roles continued to increase, and the full-time equivalent (FTE) number of nurses, teachers and police increased by 2.7% in 2020. Firefighters’ annual FTE increased by 2.8%, driven mainly by retained firefighters working additional hours during the bushfire season of 2019–20.
  • The number of senior executives in the public sector increased by 2.5%, with most of this increase relating to resourcing for infrastructure projects. 
  • The public sector remains an important regional employer, accounting for up to 20% of employment in some regions. This year’s report continues to analyse the representation of the broader public sector in regional areas. The report also provides a focus on public servants and senior executives in regional areas, recognising the importance that these roles have in local decision making and regional career paths.
  • Overall diversity in the NSW public sector has remained unchanged from last year. However, the estimated proportion of employees identified as having a disability decreased by 0.1 percentage points (pp). 
  • There are challenges in meeting the Premier’s Priority targets for disability and for gender equity in senior leaders. Disability representation slightly decreased to 2.4%, which places it well below the Premier’s Priority target of 5.6%. Female senior leader representation increased to 41.1% in 2020. 6 in 10 appointments to senior leader roles will need to be women to meet the 50% target in 2025. However, the public sector is on track to exceed the Premier’s Priority target of doubling the number of Aboriginal senior leaders by 2025. 
  • The NSW Public sector gender pay gap remained at 2.2%. However, the gender pay gap for Public Service and aligned services’ senior executives (bands 1–3) increased by 0.2 pp to 2.4% in 2020. 
  • Recreation Leave taken decreased by 10.7 hours per FTE, likely reflecting the travel bans during the pandemic and the increased need for workers to help respond to the bushfire crisis and pandemic.

The PSC would like to thank the departments and agencies across the NSW Government for their continued support and commitment to providing their workforce data. Without this support, our analysis and reports would not be possible.

Kathrina Lo 

NSW Public Service Commissioner 

February 2021