Facts, figures and visuals on public sector employee numbers

How to read this page

Unless stated otherwise, this workforce data shows you numbers as at June 2020.

For most visuals, we give you a break down in 3 ways:

  • Victorian Public Service (VPS): the 8 departments and 43 authorities and offices defined to be public service employers under the Public Administration Act 2004
  • Public entities: all other public sector bodies outside the VPS that have a public function
  • Overall public sector workforce: public entities and VPS combined

At the end of this page, find Excel datasets for June 2015 to June 2020.

Read more about how we define the public sector or see the full list of public sector agencies.

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Key facts

Workforce figures

  • 322,605 people employed or 266,272 in full-time equivalent terms at June 2020
  • 9% of the Victorian labour force
  • 1,820 employers
  • 2.2% (5,779 in full-time equivalent terms) is how much total employment went up between June 2019 and June 2020

Major changes in employment

Rises in employment

  • 4.1% rise (3,632 in full-time equivalent terms) in public health care
  • 2.6% rise (1,682 in full-time equivalent terms) in the teaching service
  • 4.3% rise (1,200 in full-time equivalent terms) in police and emergency services
  • 5.3% rise (370 in full-time equivalent terms) in TAFE institutes
  • 0.3% rise (148 in full-time equivalent terms) in the Victorian Public Service

Falls in employment

  • 35.3% fall (1,106 in full-time equivalent terms) in school councils
  • 26% fall (921 in full-time equivalent terms) due to COVID-impacts at 6 events, 3 sports and recreation and 4 alpine resort agencies

Due to COVID-19:

  • functions or services were reduced or businesses closed
  • roles usually performed by regular casual employees weren’t needed

Affected casual employees, who had been working with their employer on a regular and systematic basis prior to COVID-19, were provided with financial support payments through their employer.

They aren’t included in our employee numbers, as they weren’t working in the last pay period of June 2020.

The last pay period is when the public sector collects data on its workforce.

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Employee numbers

Victorian Public Service (16% of public sector employees)


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Changes in numbers

There was a net rise of 0.3% or 148 in full-time equivalent terms (FTE)

This included rises:

  • 539 FTE rise at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, due to bushfire recovery, regional initiatives and the creation of Solar Victoria and the Office of the Conservation Regulator
  • 490 FTE rise at the Major Transport and Infrastructure Authority and Suburban Rail Loop Authority for infrastructure project delivery
  • 259 FTE rise at the Department of Jobs, Precinct and Regions, due to delivery of agriculture programs and regional and suburban development initiatives
  • 164 FTE rise at Court Services Victoria, due to implementing Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations, specialist court programs, County Court infrastructure development and the redevelopment of the Bendigo Law Courts and expansion of its criminal division
  • 130 FTE rise at the Department of Education and Training, due to implementation of school building and other Education State programs
  • 115 FTE rise at the Environment Protection Authority, due to its functions expanding under the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2019

This included falls:

  • 1,980 FTE fall at the Department of Health and Human Services, due to the transfer of direct care staff to National Disability Insurance Scheme providers

Impact of COVID-19

To meet service needs during COVID-19, some employees temporarily transferred from one department or agency to another.

For this data, employees are counted as part of their home department or agency, not the one they’ve temporarily transferred to.

Public entities by all industry groups (84% of public sector employees)


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We’ve adjusted the total count of employers (1820) to not double count 10 organisations that have both Victorian Public Service and non-Victorian Public Service employees.

Public health care (38% of public sector employees)

Up 4.1% or 3,632 in full-time equivalent terms (FTE) including:

  • 1,436 FTE nurses
  • 687 FTE doctors
  • 608 FTE medical and ancillary support employees
  • 430 FTE administration employees
  • 247 FTE hotel and allied services employees


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Government schools (26% of public sector employees)

Up 0.9% or 575 in full time equivalent terms (FTE) overall.

The breakdown of this is:

Teaching service rises

Up 2.6% or 1,682 in FTE terms for the teaching service including:

  • 900 FTE teachers
  • 673 FTE education support employees

School council falls

There was a fall of 35.3% or 1,106 FTE for school council employees.

Due to COVID-19 shutdowns or reduced services, employers needed fewer casuals and seasonal fixed-term employees.


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Police and emergency services (9% of public sector employees)

Up 4.3% or 1,200 in full-time equivalent terms (FTE) including:

  • 586 FTE sworn police
  • 345 FTE Ambulance Victoria employees
  • 160 FTE Metropolitan Fire Brigade employees


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Creative industries, finance, transport and other (5% of public sector employees)

Down 1.9% or 259 in full-time equivalent terms including:

  • 278 FTE fall (14%) in creative industry agencies
  • 481 FTE fall (65%) at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust
  • 83 FTE fall (4%) in sport and recreation agencies
  • 186 FTE rise (16%) at the Victorian Workcover Authority
  • 151 FTE rise (17%) at VicRoads
  • 90 FTE rise (4%) at V/Line Corporation


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TAFE and other education (3% of public sector employees)

Up 3.9% or 298 in full-time equivalent (FTE) terms overall.

The breakdown of this is:

TAFE institutes

Up 5.3% or 370 in FTE terms to meet the need for more training services including:

  • 217 FTE rise in teaching staff
  • 141 FTE rise in professional and ancillary support staff

Employment numbers fell in TAFEs by 2.4% or 235 in headcount terms, due to a shift from casual and fixed-term to ongoing employment.


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Water and land management (3% of public sector employees)

Up 2.1% or 185 in full-time equivalent terms including:

  • 156 FTE rise (13%) at Parks Victoria
  • 123 FTE rise (2%) in water corporations
  • 82 FTE fall (24.4%) in alpine resorts


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Employee numbers over time

By headcount


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By full-time equivalent


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Corrections to 2019 data

We have adjusted employee headcount from 2019 as follows:

  • 50,416 to 50,474 rise (47,193 to 47,247 in full-time equivalent terms) in Victorian Public Service figures, due to machinery of government transfers
  • 13,526 to 11,380 drop (6,394 to 3,136 in full-time equivalent terms) in school council headcount figures, due to the Department of Education review of how it reports on data from its new payroll system and improvements in reporting accuracy
  • 323,220 to 321,132 drop (263,696 to 260,492 in full-time equivalent terms) in overall public sector workforce headcount figures

Notes on time-series data

Due to the transfer of direct care staff from the Department of Health and Human Services to national Disability Insurance Scheme providers, there was a fall of:

  • 2,887 employees (2,306 in full-time equivalent terms) as at June 2019 compared to June 2018
  • 2,518 employees (1,980 in full-time equivalent terms) as at June 2020 compared to June 2019

At June 2019, 2,709 employees (2,628 in full-time equivalent terms) had transferred:

  • from the public entities of VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria
  • to the Victorian Public Service’s Department of Transport and Major Transport Infrastructure Authority

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Employee numbers by Victorian Public Service grade


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Employee numbers by occupation

Victorian Public Service occupation


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Public entity occupation


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Data set

This data set covers June 2015 to June 2020.

We source this data from our annual workforce and executive data collections that cover over 1800 Victorian public sector employers.

Employee numbers over time

This file has employment numbers in headcount and full-time equivalent terms for:

  • the Victorian public sector by industry group, gender and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander identity
  • major occupations in public entities by gender
  • Victorian Public Service grade and occupation-specific classifications by gender

Download employment numbers over time data (XLS, 77KB)

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