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APS Employment Data 31 December 2018 release: Introduction

This release of APS employment data presents a statistical overview of the APS workforce employed under the Public Service Act 1999 (the PS Act). It provides a broad overview of key workforce metrics as at 31 December 2018 and trends from 2000, with relevant data tables referenced throughout. 

This data release is a companion to the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s annual State of the Service Report (SOSR) that was tabled in November 2018. This report draws on a range of information sources, including annual APS agency and employee surveys to provide a detailed picture of the state of the APS.

This current APS employment data release covers 98 agencies. Any agencies without APS staff at 31 December 2018 are excluded from reporting.

The Australian Public Service Employment Database (APSED)

On 30 June and 31 December each year a ‘snapshot’ covering all APS employees is released by the APSC based on data provided by agencies.

APS employment data includes:

  • Demographic variables including age, gender and work location
  • Classification (level) of APS positions, from trainee to SES level
  • Diversity data including voluntary items self-reported by APS staff such as disability status, Indigenous status, and Non-English Speaking Background
  • Staff movements including engagements, separations and transfers between agencies.

The reported size of the APS workforce is a count of all people employed at the time of the ‘snapshot’. This figure does not adjust for hours worked and it includes any employees who are on extended leave (for 3 months or more), including those on maternity leave and leave without pay.

This figure is different to Average Staffing Level (ASL) data provided in the Federal Budget papers. The ASL counts active staff for the time they work. This figure calculates staffing by allocating individual working hours based on the proportion of full time hours worked. For example, a full time employee is counted as 1 employee, while a part time employee who works three full days per week contributes 0.6. The ASL averages staffing over an annual period. It is not a point in time test.

The Government places a cap on ASL. This is applied across the General Government Sector (which incorporates all of the APS and a range of other government agencies). ASL caps are published in the Federal Budget Papers each year (for 2018–19 and 2019-20 ASL estimates, see Federal Budget Paper Number 4, 2018).

Another measure of employee numbers used by both private and public sector organisations is Full Time Equivalent (FTE). This is a count of all active staff at a point in time.

For further details on APSED, including its scope, see APSC’s APSED page.

Interactive data—APSEDii

If you would like to access APS workforce data not covered by our data tables, please contact us at APSED [at] apsc.gov.au


The APSC is committed to providing readers with the information they require in the most useful format, and feedback is welcome. Please e-mail apsed [at] apsc.gov.au ( )if you would like to provide any comments.