State of the service

APS Non-ongoing workforce

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The right workforce composition is a key attribute of high performing organisations. Good workforce planning practices help ensure an agency has the right mix of non-ongoing employees, contractors, labour hires, part-time and casual employees at any given time.

  • “Women represent over 63% of non-ongoing APS employees”

At June 2015 there were 15,932 non-ongoing employees in the APS. This represents over 10% of all APS employees. Over the past 10 years the number of non-ongoing employees has steadily increased. This is a healthy sign and reflects the change in the nature of public sector work. It is consistent with the goal of achieving more agile and responsive workforces that align with government priorities and workforce management models.

There are three categories of non-ongoing employment in the APS: specified term, specified task and irregular/intermittent. Between 2014 and 2015 the proportion of specified term employees increased while the proportion of irregular/intermittent employees decreased. This represents a departure from the longer term trend since 2001 of an increase in the use of this employment category.

Figure 1.

Non-ongoing employees: Employment type, June 2001 to June 2015

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Per cent

June

Figure 1. is a line chart showing the change in proportions of non-ongoing employment types from June 2001 to June 2015. It shows the proportion of specified task employees has remained consistently low, from 2.3% in 2001 to 4.0% in 2015. The proportion of specified task employees decreased from 89.7% in 2001, to 33.4% in 2014, and then rose to 42.0% in 2015. The proportion of irregular or intermittent employees increased from 8.0% in 2001, to 61.2% in 2014, and then dropped to 54.0% in 2015.

The representation of non-ongoing employees is generally concentrated at lower classification levels. The proportion of non-ongoing employees decreases as classification level increases. At 30 June 2015, over 84% of non-ongoing employees were at the APS 1 classification level. Only 3.6% of EL and SES employees were employed on a non-ongoing basis.

In the private sector it is common to find a more even spread of ongoing and non-ongoing workers across all levels of an organisation. These practices ensure companies have the flexibility to refresh workforces in line with evolving business needs. There is a risk in the public service where employment is, by default, ongoing that capability will fall over time as the impetus for creativity is muted. More generally, a balanced use of different employment models, combined with good talent and mobility practices is likely to benefit both agencies and individual employees.

Figure 2.

Non-ongoing employees: Employment type by classification level 30 June 2015

Paper icon representing the learn more page Learn more about this chart: view data and full question set for Figure 2.

Per cent


Non-ongoing employees: Employment type by classification level 30 June 2015

Figure 2 is a stacked bar chart that shows the proportion of ongoing and non-ongoing employees at each classification group level. It shows that non-ongoing employees have a higher proportion at lower classification levels. 84.2% of the APS 1, 40.8% of APS 2 and 25.5% of APS employees are non-ongoing. APS 4 to 6, EL and SES classifications have much lower proportions of non-ongoing employees with a range of 6% to 3.6%.

Over the past 15 years the proportion of women employed on a non-ongoing basis has been consistently greater than the proportion of non-ongoing men. Women represented over 63% of non-ongoing employees at 30 June 2015. With the exception of the APS 2 classification, men represent a larger proportion of non-ongoing employees in the higher classification levels of APS 6 to SES.

Figure 3.

Non-ongoing employees: Men and Women by classification level 30 June 2015

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Per cent

Non-ongoing employees: Men and Women by classification level 30 June 2015
Figure 3. is a bar chart showing non-ongoing employees: proportion of women compared to the proportion of men at each classification. It shows that there are higher proportions of women at the APS 1 and 3 classifications, with the largest difference being at the APS 3 classification where the proportion of women is higher at 34.1% compared to the proportion of men 26%. There are higher proportions of men at the APS 2, APS 4, APS 6, EL and SES classifications, with the largest difference being at the SES classification where the proportion of men is 1.1% compared to and women at 0.2%.

Non-ongoing employees are typically younger than ongoing employees. At 30 June 2015, over 35% of all non-ongoing employees were aged 29 years or younger. This compares to around 10% of all ongoing employees. The only other age group where non-ongoing employees had a higher representation was in the 60 years and over age group. They make up over 10% of the non-ongoing workforce compared to around 7% of the ongoing workforce.

Figure 4.

Non-ongoing employees: Employment category by age group 30 June 2015

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Per cent

Non-ongoing employees: Employment category by age group 30 June 2015
Figure 4. is a bar chart showing that the age profile of the ongoing APS employees compared to non-ongoing APS employees. It shows that non-ongoing employees had a higher proportion of employees in the under 30 groups and the 60 and over age group. The ongoing employees had higher proportions than the non-ongoing employees in the 30 to under 60 age groups.

The largest agencies have the lowest representation of non-ongoing staff. Small and medium agencies are much more likely to rely on the use of non-ongoing employees to achieve outcomes.

Figure 5.

Non-ongoing employees: Proportion by agency size 30 June 2015

Paper icon representing the learn more page Learn more about this chart: view data and full question set for Figure 5.

Per cent

Non-ongoing employees: Proportion by agency size 30 June 2015

Agency size

Figure 5. is a bar chart showing the proportion of non-ongoing employees by agency size: Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. Representation of non-ongoing employees tend to increase as agency size increases, with Small agencies tending to have smaller proportions of non-ongoing staff and Extra Large agencies tend to have the highest.

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Read the State of the Service Report 2014–15 on the APSC website.