Commencements and separations vary widely by age, and trend lower with increasing age, until the 50 to 54 age range and older (see Figure 7.6). Commencements include where employees move between public sector agencies, and separations include both moves to other agencies and exits from the sector, including retirements.
The rate of commencement in 2021 for those aged 50 or over was around a quarter of the level of commencements for those aged under 50 (3.5% compared to 11.9%). Overall, 35.3% of NSW public sector employees are over 50, and 4.4% are over 65. There has been a small increase in the commencement rate of employees aged 50 or over in the past five years, from 2.9% in 2017 to 3.5% in 2021.
Employees aged 50 to 54 had the lowest separation rate in 2021, at 5.3%, and comprise up to 12.0% of the NSW public sector. In contrast, employees aged 65 or over account for just 4.4% of the NSW public sector workforce and had the highest separation rate and lowest commencement rate, at 17.1% and 1.8%, respectively.
The top three key occupations with the highest commencement rate for people aged 50 or over were Clerical and Administrative Workers, Social and Welfare Professionals, and Bus Drivers. These occupations accounted for 18.1% of employees in this age group.