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Public Service Commission


Chapter 7

Non-casual median age in 2022


-1.0 years vs 2021

Non-casual employees under 35

28.0% in 2022

+3.5pp vs 2013

Non-casual employees 55 or over

22.5% in 2022

-0.9pp vs 2013

Non-casual average retirement age

65.0 in 2022 vs 62.0 in 2013

Note: ‘pp’ stands for percentage points.

The median age of NSW public sector non-casual employees reduced to 43 years in 2022, after remaining at 44 years since 2018. This was mainly due to the privatisation of the State Transit Authority, with a median age of 51 in 2021. The median age of women has been one year less than men since 2016 (44 for men and 43 for women in 2022). The median age of the NSW public sector non-casual workforce remained higher than the median age of the NSW working population.1  

In the NSW public sector workforce, 67.5% of employees were in the 35 to 64 age group in 2022, compared to 57.2% of the NSW working population (see Figure 7.1). In addition, fewer NSW public sector employees were aged under 35 or over 65. Those aged under 35 accounted for 28.0% of public sector employees, compared to 37.9% of the entire NSW workforce. Those aged 65 and over accounted for 4.4% of public sector employees and 4.9% of the total workforce in NSW.

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Table 7.1 shows that the median age ranged from 40 to 49 across NSW Government services in 2022. The NSW Police Force had the lowest median age in the sector, at 40 (unchanged from 2021). It also had the highest proportion of employees aged under 43, at 60.6% of total employees. Over 50% of employees in NSW Health, Teaching and Transport services were also under 43. 

In contrast, other Crown services had the highest median age (49) in the government sector at the census date. Within other Crown services, Clerical and Administrative Workers median age is 52 and Managers median age is 51. 

Having age diversity in the workforce provides a range of perspectives, experiences, talents and knowledge sharing. The proportion of public sector employees aged up to 43 grew from 46.6% in 2013 to 50.9% in 2022.

Table 7.1: Median age and proportion of non-casual employees aged over 43 by service, at census date, 2022

Service Median age Employees aged >43 years (%)
Public Service                 44                                               50.3
NSW Health Service                 42                                               46.3
NSW Police Force                 40                                               39.4
Teaching Service                 42                                               45.1
Transport Service                 43                                               46.8
Other Crown services                 49                                               64.8
Total government sector                 43                                               48.9
State owned corporations                 45                                               55.1
External to government sector                 50                                               62.7
Total public sector                 43                                               49.1

The non-casual age profile of the public sector workforce varied across services (see Figure 7.2). Within the government sector, other Crown Services had the highest proportion of employees aged 65 and over (6.2%). Employees of the NSW Police Force, Teaching Service and Transport Services had more than 50% of all their non-casual employees in the 25 to 44 age group (with 56.3%, 53.5% and 52.1%, respectively). Nearly half of employees of the NSW Health Service were in this age bracket, whereas 56.1% of all non-casual employees in other Crown services were aged between 45 and 64.

Retirement age

The average retirement age of public sector employees has steadily risen from 62.0 in 2013 to 65.0 in 2022. The proportion of employees retiring at age 65 or over has nearly doubled since 2013, from 28.2% (970 employees) in 2013 to 53.0% (2,223 employees) in 2022. In 2013, 24.5% of retirees were aged 60 (843 employees), and this decreased to 8.4% (352 employees) in 2022 (see Figure 7.3). In 2022 the most common retirement age was 66 (395 employees), while before 2021 it was 60.

Commencements and separations vary widely by age, and trend lower with increasing age until the 50 to 54 age range and older, where separations increase (see Figure 7.4). Commencements include where employees move between public sector agencies, and separations include moves to other agencies and exits from the sector, including retirements. 

The rate of commencement in 2022 for those aged 50 or over was around a third of the level of commencements for those aged under 50 (4.6% compared to 14.8%). Overall, 34.6% of NSW public sector employees are over 50, and 4.4% are 65 or over. There has been 1.4pp increase in the commencement rate of employees aged 50 or over in the past 5 years, from 3.2% (4,272 employees) in 2018 to 4.6% (6,524 employees) in 2022. 

Employees aged 50 to 54 had the lowest separation rate in 2022 (9.4%) and comprise up to 10.3% 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 24.0% and 2.1% respectively.

The top 5 key occupations with the highest commencement rate for people aged 50 or over were Clerical and Administrative Workers, Food Preparation Assistants, Cleaners and Laundry Workers, Social and Welfare Professionals, and Labourers. These occupations accounted for 21.3% of employees in this age group. 


1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2021a), ‘Age of population single year, labour force status’, [Census TableBuilder], New South Wales (STE) (State/Territory), accessed 13 October 2022.

2 Commencement and separation rates include movements across agencies as well as exits from the public sector. Totals exclude those whose age is unknown.