A NSW Government website
Public Service Commission

Types of work

Chapter 4

Key occupation groups

School Teachers




Clerical and Administrative Workers


School Support Staff


Police Officers


Medical Practitioners


Social and Welfare Professionals


Ambulance Officers


Cleaners and Laundry Workers






Prison Officers


Train Drivers


Food Preparation Assistants


Employment category, annual full-time equivalent, 2022


-0.5pp vs 2021


+0.3pp vs 2021


Same as 2021


+0.2pp vs 2021

Note: ‘pp’ stands for percentage points.

Part-time employees, census headcount, 2022


in 2022

Changes in full-time equivalent – sector, services and key occupations

The census period provides a snapshot in June each year that can be used to compare the size and composition of the sector. Census period full-time equivalent (FTE) employees increased by 1.0% (+3,427) in 2022, compared to 2021. 

The occupations that contributed the most to the increase were Clerical and Administrative Workers (+1,295 FTE, 2.7%), Medical Practitioners (+484 FTE, 3.7%), School Support Staff (+458 FTE, 1.8%), Nurses (+438 FTE, 0.9%) and Ambulance Officers (+419 FTE, 8.8%).

The FTE increase in Clerical and Administrative Workers is mainly due to increases in Call or Contact Centre Operators (+990), primarily in Customer Service (+415). This reflects Services NSW’s role in the government’s response to the pandemic and floods. In Education, the apparent increase in Call or Contact Centre Operators in TAFE (+502 FTE) was a result of a restructure and updates to occupation coding1 for some roles.

There were notable increases in occupations directly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FTE increase in Medical Practitioners is mainly due to increases in Specialist Physicians (General Medicine) (+122 FTE) and various practitioners across the Health cluster. Similarly, the number of FTE nurses increased (+438 FTE) and Ambulance Officers increased (+419 FTE).

The increase in School Support Staff is mainly for Teachers’ Aides (+486 FTE) and Youth Workers (+167 FTE). The increase in School Support staff is largely due to an increase in temporary School Learning Support Officers, including Student Health roles, Youth Workers and Business Managers, in line with service delivery needs for NSW schools. 

While bus drivers have been a key occupation in the public sector, with more than 2,600 FTE in 2021, the State Transit Authority was privatised in 2022, removing this cohort from the NSW Government workforce. 

Table 4.1: Employment categories by service, annual FTE, 2022

Service Ongoing  Temporary Casual Other2
Public Service 56,365 8,849 1,946 4,248
NSW Health Service 99,945 21,391 8,128 260
NSW Police Force 19,596 228 0 73
Teaching Service 46,499 20,354 2,975 0
Transport Services 10,344 1,146 290 2,769
Other Crown Services 30,528 10,605 3,969 1,122
Total government sector 263,277 62,573 17,309 8,472
State owned corporations 6,280 317 46 1,654
External to government sector 552 85 5 445
Total public sector 270,110 62,975 17,360 10,571


Annual FTE generally provides a better measure of the balance between ongoing, temporary and casual employees, due to seasonal variations in resourcing requirements. 

The largest proportion of public sector employees in 2022 were ongoing employees (74.8%). Temporary employees accounted for 17.4% of the public sector workforce, an increase of 0.3pp from the previous year. These 2 categories account for more than 9 in 10 public sector employees.

Annual FTE for ongoing employees increased by 5,429 across the public sector in 2022. The most significant growth was in the Public Service and NSW Health Service, with increases of 2,719 (5.1%) and 1,847 (1.9%), respectively.

Table 4.2: Comparison of public sector employment categories, annual FTE, 2021 to 2022

Employment category 2021 2022 Change Change (%)
Ongoing 264,681 270,110 5,428 2.1
Temporary 60,243 62,975 2,732 4.5
Casual 17,003 17,360 357 2.1
Other3 9,567 10,571 1,004 10.5


The annual FTE also increased for employees who were temporary (+2,732 FTE, 4.5%) and casual (+357 FTE, 2.1%) in 2022. 

The largest increases were in the Health Service, with the number of temporary employees rising by 1,568 FTE (7.9%), including 913 additional Nursing Professionals and Medical Practitioners. The increase in their casual employees (+735 FTE, 9.9%) was mainly among General Clerks (+190 FTE, 25.9.%), and Midwifery and Nursing Professionals (+113 FTE, 15.4%). 

Other contributors to the increase in temporary employment were an increase in temporary Education Aides in schools (+672 FTE, 94.1%) and an increase in temporary School Teachers (+257, 62.1%). 

Employment arrangements

The proportion of non-casual NSW public sector employees working part time decreased 0.6pp to 26.4% in 2022. 

Figure 4.1 shows other Crown services had the highest proportion of non-casual part-time employees in 2022, at 56.4% (27,843 employees). These employees were mainly School Administrative and Support Workers (including 15,715 Education Aides and 10,719 General Clerks). The NSW Health Service had the second-highest proportion of part-time employees (36.9% or 52,587 employees). The largest groups were Midwifery and Nursing Professionals (20,790), Medical Practitioners (5,070), Health and Welfare Support Workers (3,776) and Health Diagnostic and Promotion Professionals (2,615).

The highest proportions of full-time employees were in the Transport Service (96.1%), State owned corporations (96.0%) and the NSW Police Force (92.9%) (see Figure 4.1).

The contingent workforce

Contingent labour forms part of the overall public sector workforce, with workers typically employed to meet a short-term need or address a capability gap.

NSW Procurement maintains data on contingent labour use and spend. Around two-thirds of the 2022 data was recorded on Contractor Central, the NSW Government’s vendor management system. Records captured outside Contractor Central are not included in this analysis.

In 2022, Contractor Central recorded 20,531 contingent workers, a 36% increase from 2021. An average of 8,877 contingent workers were active at any given time4, an increase of 27% from 2021. Of these, 68% had a tenure of less than a year (see Figure 4.2).5


1 Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations.

2 The ‘Other’ category includes employees whose employment category is Contract Executive, Contract Non Executive, Statutory Appointee, Transport Senior Manager or Other.

3 Ibid.

4 NSW Procurement calculates contingent worker engagements using monthly timesheet data from Contractor Central. This analysis excludes all records captured outside the Contractor Central system.

5 NSW Procurement calculates tenure as the duration from the contingent worker’s earliest work order start date to the end date of the contingent worker’s latest submitted timesheet. It does not consider movement between agencies. NSW Procurement analysis indicates the tenure profile of records captured outside Contractor Central is broadly consistent with this profile.