Facts, figures and visuals on executive 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

At June 2020, there were:

  • 1,471 executives in the Victorian Public Service
  • 1,107 executives in Victorian public entities
  • 2,578 executives in the overall public sector workforce

Executives make up:

  • 2.9% of Victorian Public Service employees (headcount)
  • 0.4% of public entity employees (headcount)
  • 0.8% of the overall public sector workforce (headcount)

Women make up:

  • 51% of Victorian Public Service executives
  • 48% of executives of the overall public sector workforce

Executive gender pay gap at June 2020:

  • 6.6% for Victorian Public Service executives
  • 2.1% for public entity executives
  • 5.2% for overall public sector workforce executives

Executive median pay at June 2020:

  • $235,000 for Victorian Public Service executives
  • $233,537 for public entity executives
  • $234,600 for overall public sector workforce 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 Service 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 2020


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The need to strengthen the capacity of the Senior Executive Service and to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, bushfire recovery and other emergencies has contributed to the rise in Victorian Public Service executive numbers.

Executive movements, July 2019 to June 2020

In the Victorian Public Service:

  • 516 new executives started
  • 252 executives left

In public entities:

  • 200 new executives started
  • 219 executives left

Machinery of government impacts, July 2018 to June 2019

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

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Number of executives who work part-time


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Number of executives by age


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Number of executives by gender

Percentage of executives who are women, June 2015 to June 2020


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

From July 2019 to June 2020, 53% 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 agency
  • executives who move to a higher pay band in the same public agency

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

Number of executives by gender, public sector breakdown


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Number of Victorian Public Service executives by level


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From July 2019 to June 2020, the government reformed how executive classifications worked to:

  • make employment and remuneration clearer, more effective, more efficient and transparent
  • help public sector employers attract, retain and develop senior leaders
  • make it easier to compare executive performance across agencies
  • help Victoria get value from executive remuneration

The Government:

  • changed the names of executive classifications
  • made standard position titles mandatory for most roles
  • set up an independent tribunal to oversee executive remuneration

These are the old and new classifications with their standard titles:

Old classification New classification Standard title
Executive Officer 3 Senior Executive Service band 1 Director
Executive Officer 2 Senior Executive Service band 2 Executive Director
Executive Officer 1 Senior Executive Service band 3 Deputy Secretary

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Executive remuneration bands as at June 2020


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

In May 2020, they set the Victorian Public Service executive remuneration bands. They’ll also set the public entity executive pay bands.

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Median executive remuneration by gender with pay gap


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In 2020, the number of Victorian Public Service executives by level and the pay gap shows men are more likely to hold more senior and higher-paid roles.

The pay gaps have reduced from:

  • 7.1% at June 2019 to 6.6% at June 2020 for Victorian Public Service executives
  • 2.6% at June 2019 to 2.1% at June 2020 for public entity executives
  • 5.5% at June 2019 to 5.2% at June 2020 for all executives in the overall public sector workforce

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 ($240,049) and women ($227,480)
  • work out the difference between those 2 numbers ($240,049 minus $227,480 equals $12,569)
  • express the difference as a percentage of the men’s median salary ($12,569 is 5.2% of men’s median salary of $240,049)

So the pay gap for the overall public sector workforce is 5.2%

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Distribution of Victorian Public Service executive remuneration by gender


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Victorian Public Service median executive pay at June 2020 was:

  • $225,000 for women
  • $240,789 for men
  • $15,789 or 6.6% as the median pay gap

In recent years, more women were promoted into entry-level executive roles. This has influenced the pay gap, as more women are at the lower end of the pay bands.

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Gender pay gap for Victorian Public Service executives by band


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Distribution of Victorian public entity executive remuneration by gender


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Public entity median executive pay at June 2020 was:

  • $230,000 for women
  • $235,000 for men
  • $5,000 or 2.1% as the median pay gap

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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.

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 public service executives for each public service organisation by gender

Download executive profile data (XLS, 75KB)

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