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Public Service Commission

Types of work

Chapter 4

Key occupation groups

census period FTE 2023

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 FTE, 2023


+0.2pp vs 2022


–0.2pp vs 2022


–0.2pp vs 2022


+0.2pp vs 2022

Note: ‘pp’ stands for percentage points.

Part-time employees, census headcount, 2023


in 2023

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 4.7% (+17,265) compared to 2022. Key occupations with notable increases in FTE were Clerical and Administrative Workers (+3,274 or 6.7%), School Support Staff (+2,324 or 8.9%), Nurses (+1,538 or 3.0%), School Teachers (+611 or 0.9%), Prison Officers (+553 or 13.9%), Ambulance Officers (+538 or 10.4%) and Medical Practitioners (+339 or 2.5%).

The increase in Clerical and Administrative Workers FTE mainly relates to increases in Program or Project Administrators (+1,596) across the public sector, largely in Environment and Planning (+378), Education (+231) and Regional NSW (+221).  

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

Table 4.1: Comparison of public sector employment categories, annual FTE, 2022 to 2023

Employment category 2022 2023 Change Change (%)
Ongoing 270,419 276,775 6,356 2.4
Temporary 63,019 63,509 490 0.8
Casual 17,360 17,110 −251 −1.4
Other1 10,584 11,570 986 9.3

The balance between these employment arrangements shifted in 2023, with ongoing employee FTE increasing 0.2pp to 75% while both temporary and casual employee FTE decreased 0.2pp to 17.2% and 4.6% respectively.  

Annual FTE for ongoing employees increased by 6,356 across the public sector in 2023 and temporary employees increased by 490. Together these two categories account for more than 9 in 10 public sector employees.

The most significant growth in ongoing employees was in the Public Service and NSW Health Service, with increases of 4,541 (8.0%) and 2,168 (2.2%), respectively, noting these increases were partly offset by decreases in some areas.

The shift in the balance between ongoing and temporary employees in 2023 was driven by changes in the balance of employment arrangements in the Teaching Service and the NSW Health Service. There was a combined increase of 1,434 FTE ongoing nurses and school teachers (+850 and +584 respectively) in 2023 while there was a combined decrease of 1,616 FTE temporary nurses and school teachers (−731 and −885 respectively).  

Annual FTE for casual employees decreased in 2023 (−251 FTE, ­−1.4%). The largest decrease in casual employees was in other Crown services (−617 FTE, −15.6%), mainly among Teachers' Aides (−464 FTE, −33.0%).

Table 4.2: Employment categories by service, annual FTE, 2023 


Service Ongoing  Temporary Casual Other2
Public Service 61,216  9,132 2,100 4,636
NSW Health Service 102,114  210,181 7,727 267
NSW Police Force 18,884  257 0 65
Teaching Service 47,225  19,517 3,565 0
Transport Service 9,576 1,638 300 3,103
Other Crown services 30,444 12,358 3,251 1,021
Total government sector 269,459 63,083 17,044 9,091
State owned corporations 6,723 328 60 1,995
External to government sector 593 98 6 484
Total public sector 276,775 63,509 17,110 11,570

Employment arrangements

The proportion of non-casual NSW public sector employees working part time increased 0.2pp to 26.7% in 2023.

Figure 4.1 shows the highest proportion of part-time employees were in other Crown services in 2023 (57.3%, 29,851 employees). These employees were mainly School Administrative and Support Workers, including 17,330 Education Aides and 11,050 General Clerks. The NSW Health Service had the second-highest proportion of part-time employees (36.8% or 54,521 employees). The largest groups were Midwifery and Nursing Professionals (21,773) and Medical Practitioners (5,411).

The services with the highest proportions of full-time employees were the Transport Service (96.2%), State owned corporations (96.2%) and the NSW Police Force (93.5%) (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 within NSW Treasury maintains data on contingent labour use and spend. Around two-thirds of the 2023 data was recorded on Contractor Central, the NSW Government’s vendor management system. Records from outside Contractor Central are not included in this analysis.

In 2023, Contractor Central recorded 17,477 contingent workers in the government sector, a 15% decrease from 2022. An average of 8,080 contingent workers were active at any given time3, a decrease of 7% from 2022. Of these, 58% had a tenure of less than a year (see Figure 4.2).4  


1The ‘Other’ category includes employees whose employment category is Contract Executive, Contract Non‑Executive, Statutory Appointee, Transport Senior Manager or Other.

2Ibid, 1.

3NSW Procurement calculates contingent worker engagements using monthly timesheet data from Contractor Central. This analysis excludes all records captured outside the Contractor Central system.

4NSW 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.