State of the service

Inter-agency mobility

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A mobile and agile public sector workforce makes good business sense. Employees also benefit from gaining cross-agency perspectives. It increases their awareness and understanding of whole of government priorities. Mobility can also assist in building and strengthening relationships between agencies. This is important because many of the issues the Australian Public Service (APS) must address do not fall neatly within a single agency’s boundaries. Collaboration is required.

  • “Over 80% of APS level employees have only worked in one agency”

APS employees can move from one APS agency to another and maintain employment continuity. Mobility occurs through transfers and promotions. Transfers at level are the most common way of moving between agencies and are consistently higher than the number of promotions each year.

Over the past 15 years mobility rates have fluctuated between 1.1% and 3.1% of the APS workforce. Mobility rates declined markedly between 2012 and 2014 as a consequence of interim recruitment arrangements. During this period the advertising and filling of roles in the APS was tightly controlled. The total workforce reduced through this period. Mobility increased during 2015 when recruitment arrangements were streamlined.

Figure 1.

Ongoing employees: Transfer, promotion and mobility rates between agencies, 2000–01 to 2014–15

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Per cent

Per cent

Year ending June

Figure 1 is a line chart showing the mobility, transfers and promotion rates of ongoing APS employees over the past 15 years. The mobility rate has fluctuated between 1.1% and 3.1%. Transfers (range 0.8% to 2%) and promotion (range 0.2% to 1.1%) rates are lower but show a similar trend.

This year 2,294 employees moved between APS agencies. 1,701 of these movements were the result of APS employees moving to new roles in policy and larger operational agencies.

Figure 2.

Agencies employees moved to in 2015

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Number of employees


Figure 2 is a bar chart showing the movement of APS employees to the various APS agency functional clusters. Policy agencies had the greatest number of movements at 999, lager operational had 702, smaller operational 282, specialist 169, and regulatory had the least with 142 movements.

Mobility increases with classification. Over 80% of all employees at each classification from APS 1 to APS 4 have worked in only one agency. At the other end of the scale, most of the Senior Executive Service (SES) have worked in at least two to three agencies, with over a third of those at the SES band 3 classification having worked in four or more agencies. Senior leaders benefit from exposure to a range of experiences and operating environments.

Figure 3.

Ongoing employees by classification and number of agencies worked in, 30 June 2015

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Per cent

Ongoing employees by classification and number of agencies worked in, 30 June 2015

Classification

Figure 3 is a bar chart showing the proportion of ongoing APS employees who have worked in: one, two-or-three, or four-or-more agencies at each classification. Overall inter-agency experience tends to increases with classification level. Over 80% of all employees at each classification from APS 1 to APS 4 have worked in only one agency. The majority of SES employees have worked in more than one agency (41% to 43.8%), and many have worked in four or more agencies (19.3% to 34.3%).

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