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Public Service Commission

Foreword from the Commissioner

Workforce Profile Report 2022

The first Workforce Profile collection was conducted in 1999, making this the 24th annual Workforce Profile Report. This companion report to the State of the NSW Public Sector Report 2022 provides details about the characteristics of, and trends within, the NSW public sector workforce, the largest workforce in Australia.

The Workforce Profile Report 2022 includes the following highlights:

  • The NSW public sector full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce increased by 1.0% in 2022. Growth in the public sector workforce was smaller than growth in the broader NSW workforce, with the census headcount increasing by 0.6% compared to 2.8% in the broader NSW workforce.
  • Machinery of government changes resulted in the creation of the new Enterprise, Investment and Trade cluster, mainly comprising of agencies that deliver services relating to investment and tourism, including cultural institutions such as the Sydney Opera House and the State Library of NSW.
  • There were more movements across the sector with commencements, separations and exits all increasing from 2021. 
  • The use of contingent workers increased in 2022. Contractor Central, the NSW Government’s vendor management system, recorded an average of 8,877 contingent workers active in the NSW public sector at any given time, a 27% increase on 2021.
  • Increased employee movements led to the lowest median employee tenure in a decade, dropping 0.7 years to 7.4 years in 2022. At the same time, the median age dropped from 44 years to 43 years.
  • There were mixed results in progress towards the Premier’s Priority targets for workforce diversity.
  • Representation of people with disability remained at 2.5%, well below the Premier’s Priority target of 5.6% by 2025.
  • The government sector further exceeded the Premier’s Priority target of doubling the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior leaders by 2025, with 154 senior leaders in 2022.
  • Female senior leader representation increased to 44.0% in 2022. Projections indicate the 2025 target of 50% will only be reached if 6 in 10 senior leader appointments are women.
  • The number of senior executives in the government sector increased by 10.3% in 2022.
  • The gender pay gap – the difference between the median remuneration of men and women in the NSW public sector – widened to 4.5%. This was mainly due to the privatisation of the State Transit Authority, and the subsequent exit of its large male workforce with lower remuneration. The gap for senior executives was lower than that of the broader workforce (2.3% in 2022 for Public Service and aligned services’ bands 1–3).
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and NSW flood emergency had notable impacts on leave patterns. Sick leave was 4.8 hours more per FTE than the average rate for the previous 10 years. Special leave was 4 times the level of the previous year, most likely because this leave could be used in certain circumstances relating to the pandemic and the NSW floods. Recreation leave was at the lowest level since 2013, and around a quarter of the workforce had a recreation leave balance of 30 days or more.

The NSW Public Service Commission would like to thank the departments and agencies across the NSW public sector for their continued contribution and commitment to the Workforce Profile collection. Analysis of sector-wide workforce trends would not be possible without this support.

Kathrina Lo
NSW Public Service Commissioner
December 2022