A NSW Government website
Public Service Commission


Chapter 7

Median age

43 in 2023, same as 2022

Average retirement age

65 in 2023 vs 62 in 2014

Employees under 35

28.5% in 2023

+4.0pp vs 2014

Employees 55 and over

22.0% in 2023

−1.9pp vs 2014

Note: ‘pp’ stands for percentage points.

The median age of NSW public sector non-casual employees stayed at 43 years in 2023. Consistent with all years since 2016, the median age of women in the sector was one year less than for men (43 for men and 42 for women). 

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, 66.9% of employees were in the 35 to 64 age group in 2023, compared to 56% of the NSW working population (see Figure 7.1). In addition, fewer NSW public sector employees were aged under 35 or over 65. 

View data from different years

Having age diversity in the workforce provides a range of perspectives, experiences, and knowledge sharing. Table 7.1 shows that the median age ranged from 39 to 48 across NSW Government services in 2023. The NSW Police Force had the lowest median age in the sector, at 39 (-1 year from 2022). It also had the highest proportion of employees below the median age for the sector, at 61.1% of total employees. Over 50% of employees in the NSW Health Service, the Teaching Service, the Public Service, and the Transport Service were also under the median age for the sector. In contrast, other Crown services had the highest median age (48) in the government sector.

Table 7.1: Median age and proportion of non-casual employees aged over 43 by service, at census date, 2023

Service Median age Employees aged >43 years (%)

Public Service



NSW Health Service



NSW Police Force



Teaching Service



Transport Service



Other Crown services



Total government sector



State owned corporations



External to government sector



Total public sector



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 (6.3%), and 54.1% were aged between 45 and 64. Conversely, the NSW Police Force, the Teaching Service, the NSW Health Service and the Transport Service had more than 50% of all non-casual employees in the 25 to 44 age group (56.2%, 53.7%, 50.5% and 53.3%, respectively). 

Retirement age

The average retirement age of public sector employees has steadily risen from 62 in 2014 to 65 in 2023. The proportion of employees retiring at age 65 or over has risen in the past 10 years, from 33.9% (1,354 employees) in 2014 to 55.8% (2,199 employees) in 2023. In 2014, 20.4% of retirees were 60 years old (815 employees), and this decreased to 8.1% (316 employees) in 2023 (see Figure 7.3). In 2023 the most common retirement age was 67 (421 employees), compared to 60 in 2014.

Commencements and separations vary widely by age, and trend lower as age increases, 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 2023 for those aged 50 or over was around a third of the level of commencements for those aged under 50 (5.2% compared to 16.1%). There has been a 1.5pp increase in the commencement rate of employees aged 50 or over in the past 5 years, from 3.6% (4,928 employees) in 2019 to 5.2% (7,429 employees) in 2023.

Employees aged 50 to 54 had the lowest separation rate in 2023 (7.5%) and comprised 11.7% of the NSW public sector. In contrast, employees aged 65 or over accounted for just 4.9% of the NSW public sector workforce and had the highest separation rate and lowest commencement rate in 2023, at 19.2% and 2.5% respectively.


1Australian Bureau of Statistics (2021), 'New South Wales (STE) (state/territory), Age of population single year, labour force status’ [Census Table Builder], accessed 22 September 2023.

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