Facts, figures and visuals on executive numbers

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Key facts

At June 2021, there were:

  • 1,759 executives in the Victorian Public Service 
  • 1,150 executives in Victorian public entities 
  • 2,909 executives in the overall public sector workforce.

Executives make up:

  • 3.0% of Victorian Public Service employees
  • 0.4% of public entity employees
  • 0.8% of the overall public sector workforce.

Women make up:

  • 52.3% of Victorian Public Service executives 
  • 43.7% of public entity executives
  • 48.9% of the overall public sector executives.

Executive gender pay gap,  at June 2021:

  • 7.9% for Victorian Public Service executives 
  • 1.6% for public entity executives
  • 5.7% for overall public sector executives.

Executive median pay at June 2021:

  • $240,000 for Victorian Public Service executives 
  • $243,152 for public entity executives 
  • $240,789 for overall public sector executives.

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Role of executives

Executives are the senior leaders of the public sector workforce. They work in a complex and changing environment to deliver on the Government’s priorities.

Collectively, executives manage billions of dollars of assets, huge budgets and large workforces. They oversee the delivery of critical policies and services and manage considerable risk.

What an executive is

A Victorian Public Service executive is employed under Part 3 of the Public Administration Act 2004.

A public entity executive is either a:

  • Chief Executive Officer of a public entity
  • an employee whose remuneration is equal to or greater than the base of the Victorian public sector executive remuneration range and whose primary role is to lead and give direction to other employees.

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Number of executives 2016 to 2021

From 2020 to 2021, the number of Victorian Public Service executiverose to meet demands for leadership in social policy areas and to help manage the impacts of COVID-19. 

Executive movements, July 2020 to June 2021

Victorian Public Service:

  • 567 executives started
  • 262 executives left.

Public entities:

  • 214 executives started
  • 163 executives left.

Machinery of Government impacts, July 2019 to June 2020

Executive growth in 2018 to 2019 includes the transfer of 90 executives: 

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Percentage of executives who work part-time

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Percentage of executives by age

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Number of executives by gender

Percentage of executives who are women over time

50% target of Victorian Public Service executive appointments to be women

From July 2020 to June 2021, 56% of appointees to Victorian Public Service executive roles were women.

In 2016, the government set a target to have 50% women appointed as Victorian Public Service executives.

“Appointed” means:

  • people in an executive role for the first time
  • executives who move to a new executive role in another public service agency
  • executives who move to a higher pay band in the same public service agency.

Read more about these targets in Safe and Strong – A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy.

Number of executives by gender, public sector breakdown

Number of Victorian Public Service executives by band

Number of Victorian public entity executives by band

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Executive remuneration bands

The Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal set the remuneration bands for all public sector executives.

In May 2020 they set the Victorian Public Service executive remuneration bands.

In December 2020 they set the public entity executive remuneration bands.

For Chief Executive Officers employed by a public entity, the minimum remuneration package is classified under as Senior Executive Service (SES) 1 but starts at $135,000 per annum. 

Classification Minimum total remuneration package ($) per annum Maximum total remuneration package ($) per annum
SES 1 192,800 249,700
SES 2 249,701 360,000
SES 3 360,001 479,900


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Median executive remuneration by gender with pay gap

Victorian Public Service median executive pay at June 2021 was: 

  • $230,039 for women 
  • $249,701 for men 
  • $19,662 or 7.9% is the median pay gap.

Public entity median executive pay at June 2021 was: 

  • $240,891 for women 
  • $244,824 for men 
  • $3,933 or 1.6% is the median pay gap.

The gender pay gaps continue to favour men, changing from: 

  • 6.6% at June 2020 to 7.9% at June 2021 for Victorian Public Service executives 
  • 2.1% at June 2020 to 1.6% at June 2021 for public entity executives 
  • 5.2% at June 2020 to 5.7% at June 2021 for all executives in the overall public sector workforce.

From 2020 to 2021, the pay gap for Victorian Public Service executives widened primarily due to:

  • more men employed in higher-paid roles like infrastructure building projects
  • a rise in women promoted to executive roles at entry-level remuneration rates.

Impact of the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority on the pay gap

The Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA) sits within the Transport portfolio.

It’s responsible for infrastructure projects including:

  • Level Crossing Removal
  • North-East Link
  • West Gate Tunnel
  • Major Road Projects Victoria
  • Regional Rail Revival.

Due to the nature of these projects, MTIA employs a large number of high-paid executives. Most of them are men.

This has a large impact on the overall executive remuneration pay gap.

If MTIA executives were excluded, the pay gap would:

  • fall from 7.9% to 4.0% in the Victorian Public Service
  • fall from 5.7% to 2.6% in the overall public sector workforce.

This table shows how including and excluding the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA) impacts the gender pay gap in the public sector.

Find out more in the Department of Transport annual report 2020-21.

Responses for Average remuneration of women Average remuneration of men Pay gap as an amount Pay gap as a percentage
Victorian Public Service (including MTIA) $230,039 249,701 $19,662 7.9%
Victorian Public Service (excluding MTIA) $230,000 $239,700 $9,700 4%
Overall public sector (including MTIA) $235,399 $249,700 $14,301 5.7%
Overall public sector (excluding MTIA) $234,473 $240,789 $6,336 2.6%

How we measure the pay gap

Using the overall public sector workforce as an example, this is how we measure the pay gap:

  • find out what the median pay is for men ($249,700) and women ($235,399) 
  • work out the difference between those 2 numbers ($249,700 minus $235,399 equals $14,301) 
  • express the difference as a percentage of the men’s median salary ($14,301 is 5.7% of men’s median salary of $249,700).

So the pay gap for the overall public sector workforce is 5.7%.

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Distribution of Victorian Public Service executive remuneration by gender

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Distribution of Victorian public entity executive remuneration by gender

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Gender pay gap by band

Gender pay gap for Victorian Public Service (VPS) executives by band

Gender pay gap for Victorian public entity executives by band

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Data set

This data set covers June 2016 to June 2021.

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

Executive profile

This file has the following executive profile measures for the Victorian public sector:

  • executive headcount by industry, gender, age group and classification band
  • executive median remuneration and headcount for each remuneration cohort, by industry group, gender and classification band.

It also has:

  • total number of executives for each departmental portfolio group by gender
  • total number of Victorian Public Service executives for each Victorian Public Service organisation by gender.

Download executive profile data set (XLS, 75KB)

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