Facts, figures and visuals on public sector employee numbers

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Key facts

Workforce figures

  • 345,866 people employed or 284,819 FTE at June 2021  
  • 10% of the Victorian labour force 
  • 1,840 employers 
  • 7.1% (18,774 FTE) rise in total employment between June 2020 and June 2021.

Major changes in employment

Changes in employment are primarily due to:

  • increased investment in infrastructure projects
  • the COVID-19 response
  • Machinery of Government changes.

Fixed-term employment rose by 9,645 FTE, representing 51% of the rise in public sector employment and 75% of the rise in the Victorian Public Service.

The rise in fixed-term employment was to meet temporary peak demand.

Rises in employment

  • 17.6% rise (8,340 FTE) in the Victorian Public Service
  • 6.3% rise (5,750 FTE) in public healthcare
  • 4.6% rise (3,038 FTE) in the teaching service
  • 7.5% rise (984 FTE) in creative industries, finance transport and other
  • 3% rise (681 FTE) in Ambulance Victoria and police
  • 6.4% rise (201 FTE) in the water corporations servicing Greater Melbourne.

Fall in employment

  • 21.4% fall (434 FTE) in school council employees

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Employee numbers

Victorian Public Service (17% of public sector employees)

Number of employees in the Victorian Public Service (VPS)
Column one shows the name of the employer type. Column two shows the number of employers in this type. Column three shows the headcount of employees for this year. Column four shows the full-time equivalent number of employees for this year. The final row is a total for this industry.
Responses for Employers Headcount Full-time equivalent
Departments 9 40,899 38,825
Other Victorian Public Service employers including Victoria Police 29 10,679 10,165
Administrative offices 17 6,874 6,745
Total 55 58,452 55,735

Changes in numbers

There was a net rise of 17.6% or 8,340 FTE

  • Ongoing employment rose 5.4% or 2,024 FTE
  • Fixed-term employment rose 67.7% or 6,266 FTE, representing 75% of the total Victorian Public Service rise.

This included:

  • 3,062 FTE associated with the establishment of COVID Quarantine Victoria
  • 2,008 FTE rise at the Department of Health and the Department of Families Fairness and Housing (these 2 departments formed when the Department of Health and Human Services split in February 2021)
  • 626 FTE rise at the Department of Justice and Community Services
  • 649 FTE rise at the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
  • 391 FTE rise at the Department of Transport
  • 352 FTE rise at the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning
  • 380 FTE rise at the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority and the Suburban Rail Loop Authority combined
  • 260 FTE rise at the Department of Education and Training
  • 211 FTE rise at Court Services Victoria.

Machinery of Government changes, 2020 to 2021

Unless otherwise noted, these changes occurred between 30 June 2020 and 30 June 2021.

Changes that occurred as of 1 July are for information purposes only and aren’t reflected in this workforce data release.

Changes in Victorian Public Service departments

The Department of Health and Human Services was split into:

  • Department of Health
  • Department of Families Fairness and Housing.

The Department of Health now includes:

  • the Administrative office, Victorian Agency for Health Information
  • the Administrative office, Mental Health Reform, as of 1 July 2021.

Fairer Victoria and Prevention of Family Violence Coordination:

  • left the Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • joined the Department of Families Fairness and Housing.

Local Government Victoria:

  • left the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • joined the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

Other changes include:

  • Western Region Water joined City West Water
  • Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority joined the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee
  • Djerriwarrh Health Service joined Western Health, as of 1 July 2021
  • Paid firefighters from Country Fire Authority moved to Fire Rescue Victoria (formerly known as Metropolitan Fire Brigade).
New Victorian Public Service employers

Administrative offices:

  • COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria: 153 FTE employees moved from the Department of Health and Human Services
  • Invest Victoria: 64.6 FTE employees moved from the Department of Treasury and Finance
  • the Victorian Skills Authority, as of 1 July 2021.

Victorian Public Service offices:

  • Cladding Safety Victoria: 63 FTE employees moved from the Victorian Building Authority
  • Wage Inspectorate Victoria, as of 1 July 2021.
New Public sector employer
  • Mildura Base Public Hospital (previously a private-sector employer).

Impact of COVID-19

To meet service needs in responding to 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.

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Public entities by all industry groups (83% of public sector employees)

Public entities include all other public sector bodies outside the Victorian Public Service.

They generally:

  • have different degrees of autonomy
  • are governed by a board
  • have authority to employ their own staff.

We’ve adjusted the total count of employers (1,840) to not double count 9 organisations that have both Victorian Public Service and non-Victorian Public Service employees.

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Public healthcare (39% of public sector employees)

The sector includes publicly-owned health services and other agencies.

It excludes Ambulance Victoria which is included in the police and emergency services sector.

Change in numbers

Up 6.3% or 5,750 FTE.

Fixed-term employees account for 26% of the rise.

The rise included:

  • 2,487 FTE nurses
  • 1,359 FTE administration employees
  • 859 FTE medical and ancillary support employees
  • 599 FTE hotel and allied services employees
  • 423 FTE doctors.
Number of employees in the public health care industry
Column one shows the name of the employer type. Column two shows the number of employers in this type. Column three shows the headcount of employees for this year. Column four shows the full-time equivalent number of employees for this year. The final row is a total for this industry.
Responses for Employers Headcount Full-time equivalent
Health services 81 133,111 97,246
Other health organisations 4 333 292
Total 85 133,444 97,538

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Government schools (25% of public sector employees)

The sector includes employees in government schools, primarily employed in the teaching service by the Department of Education and Training.

The teaching service employs:

  • teachers
  • principals
  • teaching support
  • administrative and ancillary staff.

School councils employ:

  • casual relief teachers
  • additional casual administrative and ancillary staff funded by the school to meet local requirements.
Change in numbers

Up 3.8% or 2,605 FTE overall.

The breakdown of this is:

Teaching service rises

Up 4.6% or 3,038 FTE for the teaching service, including:

  • 2,040 FTE teachers
  • 814 FTE education support staff.

Fixed-term employees account for 43% of the rise, including 873 FTE teachers and 351 FTE education support staff.

The rise includes the engagement of tutors to support home learning.

School council falls

Down 21% or 434 FTE for school council employees including:

  • casual relief teachers fell 31% or 266 FTE
  • other school council employees fell 14% or 168 FTE.

The fall in casual relief teachers was influenced by employees who were engaged as tutors.

COVID-19 restrictions contributed to lower demand for employees.

Number of employees in government schools
Column one shows the name of the employer type. Column two shows the number of employers in this type. Column three shows the headcount of employees for this year. Column four shows the full-time equivalent number of employees for this year. The final row is a total for this industry.
Responses for Employers Headcount Full-time equivalent
Teaching service 1 80,809 69,035
School councils 1,561 6,183 1,596
Total 1,562 86,992 70,631

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

The sector includes:

  • Victoria Police sworn officers
  • protective service officers
  • emergency service agency employees
  • Ambulance Victoria.
Change in numbers

Up 2.7% or 774 FTE including:

  • 637 FTE rise in sworn police
  • 167 FTE fall in protective service officers
  • 211 FTE rise in Ambulance Victoria.
Number of employees in the police and emergency services industry
Column one shows the name of the employer type. Column two shows the number of employers in this type. Column three shows the headcount of employees for this year. Column four shows the full-time equivalent number of employees for this year. The final row is a total for this industry.
Responses for Employers Headcount Full-time equivalent
Victoria Police 1 18,248 17,933
Ambulance Victoria 1 6,249 5,506
Fire Rescue Victoria 1 4,254 4,237
Country Fire Authority 1 992 919
Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority 1 1,047 955
Victoria State Emergency Service 1 235 209
Total 6 31,025 29,759

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

The sector includes agencies that deliver services and functions in the sub-sectors listed in the table below.

Change in numbers

Up 7.5% or 984 FTE including:

  • 305 FTE rise at VicRoads, primarily fixed-term employees to address a backlog in licence processing
  • 266 FTE rise in finance agencies including 153 FTE rise at the Victorian Workcover Authority
  • 94 FTE rise in creative Industries agencies reflecting a partial recovery in activity following the COVID-19 shut down at June 2020.
Number of employees in the Creative industries, finance, transport and other industry
Column one shows the name of the employer type. Column two shows the number of employers in this type. Column three shows the headcount of employees for this year. Column four shows the full-time equivalent number of employees for this year. The final row is a total for this industry.
Responses for Employers Headcount Full-time equivalent
Transport agencies 6 3,962 3,831
Finance / insurance agencies 8 3,615 3,438
Creative industries 9 2,409 1,792
Sport and recreation agencies 12 2,570 1,872
Facilities management 9 530 417
Cemetery trusts 5 622 591
Regulators 14 851 823
Miscellaneous 9 1,403 1,246
Total 72 15,962 14,009

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

The sector includes:

  • TAFE Institutes
  • AMES Australia
  • Victorian Institute of Teaching
  • Vocational Education and Training Development Centre.
Change in numbers

Up 0.8% or 63 FTE overall.

TAFE institutes

Up 1.4% or 101 FTE including small rises and falls at other institutes.

Other education employers

Down 7.2% or 38 FTE including:

  • 41 FTE fall at AMES Australia due to a fall in immigration.
Number of employees in the TAFE and other education industry
Column one shows the name of the employer type. Column two shows the number of employers in this type. Column three shows the headcount of employees for this year. Column four shows the full-time equivalent number of employees for this year. The final row is a total for this industry.
Responses for Employers Headcount Full-time equivalent
TAFE institutes 12 9,669 7,505
Other education employers 3 553 484
Total 15 10,222 7,989

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

The sector includes agencies that deliver services and functions.

Change in numbers

Up 2.9% or 259 FTE including:

  • 136 FTE fall at Parks Victoria
  • 237 FTE rise in water corporations primarily in City West Water and Western Region Water in response to growth in Melbourne’s west, and Melbourne Water, Yarra Valley Water, and South East Water
  • 41 FTE rise in the alpine resorts representing a partial recovery in activity following the COVID-19 shut down at June 2020.
Number of employees in the Water and land management industry
Column one shows the name of the employer type. Column two shows the number of employers in this type. Column three shows the headcount of employees for this year. Column four shows the full-time equivalent number of employees for this year. The final row is a total for this industry.
Responses for Employers Headcount Full-time equivalent
Water corporations 20 6,746 6,445
Land management and planning 20 2,222 2,049
Catchment management authorities 10 420 371
Alpine resorts 4 381 293
Total 54 9,769 9,159

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Employee numbers over time

By headcount

By full-time equivalent

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 or 2,306 FTE as at June 2019 compared to June 2018
  • 2,518 employees or 1,980 FTE as at June 2020 compared to June 2019.

At June 2019, 2,709 employees or 2,628 FTE 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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Data set

This data set covers June 2015 to June 2021.

We source this data from our annual workforce and executive data collections that cover over 1,800 Victorian public sector employers.

Employee numbers over time

This file has Victorian public sector employment numbers, by:

  • headcount and FTE
  • industry group, gender and Aboriginal identity
  • Victorian Public Service grade and occupation-specific classifications.

Download employment numbers over time data set (XLSX, 94kb)

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