Did you know?

  • Public health care and Government schools account for nearly two thirds of public sector employees. They also account for 75% of the growth over the 10 years.
  • Police and emergency services, Public health care and Government schools are the industry sectors with the largest growth.
  • The proportion of the workforce who are women has increased in every industry sector.
  • The age of the workforce has flattened over 10 years, with 25-54 year old employees equally represented. This is a significant shift from 2007 when the age of employees trended up at the 45-54 range.


Employee numbers
Part time employees
Age profile
Work location
Gender equality
Aboriginal employment
About the Collections

Employee numbers

Total public sector employment levels increase and fall over time influenced by demand for services and the policies and requirements of the government of the day.

Employee numbers have increased in all industry groups except TAFE and other education where employment levels have fallen following implementation of the contestable training market.

Together Public health care and Government schools account for nearly two thirds of public sector employees They also account for 75% of the growth in public sector employment over time.

The industry sectors showing the largest percentage growth since 2007 are Police and emergency service (43%), Government schools (30.8%), Public health care (30.5%), and water and land management (27.5%).


Part time employment

Workforce studies show better commitment and outcomes from staff who are able to set their own hours or schedule. Providing flexible working arrangements and environments is an increasing priority for Victoria’s public sector. Arrangements vary significantly across industry groups, as a result of the different imperatives that apply.

The industries with the highest proportion of female employees (Public health care and Government schools) also have high rates of part time employment, whereas the sectors with the lowest proportion of female employees have the lowest rate of part time employment.

The high rate of part time employment in TAFE and other education reflects the large casual teacher / trainer workforce in this sector.


Age profile

Age data allows us to understand our changing employee profile.

While there are some differences in how the age profiles of each industry sector are changing the general pattern is similar, with the proportion of staff aged over 55 increasing off as the proportion aged 45 to 54 falls.

Key points:

  • The proportion aged between 25 and 60 has fallen (down from 89%) as more staff work into older age
  • A peak in the distribution at ages 45-49 and 50-54 has disappeared (down 3 and 4 percentage points respectively from 16%)
  • The proportion aged 40-44 has also fallen (down 1 percentage point)
  • The proportions aged 60-64 and over 65 have doubled, but from a low base
  • The proportions aged 25-29 and 30-34 have increased (by 1.2 and 1.7 percentage points respectively).



Work location

The distribution of public sector employees by location broadly reflects the distribution of the Victorian population, where 24% live in regional Victoria and 76% live in Greater Melbourne (ABS Census 2016).

The industry make up of public sector employees in Melbourne CBD, Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria also reflects the size of each industry group. Exceptions are the concentration of public service employees in the Melbourne CBD and of Water and Land management employees in regional Victoria, reflecting the nature of the work in these industries.


Gender equality

67% of Victoria’s public sector workforce are women, but the distribution of women across roles and industries could be more equitable. A number of initiatives over time have focused on addressing this imbalance.

Since 2007 the proportion of the workforce who are women has increased in every industry sector, with the largest increases occurring in the sectors that have the lowest proportion of women employees.


Aboriginal employment

Workforce data estimates that Aboriginal employees comprised 0.42% of the workforce as at June 2017. This percentage has increase marginally each year since 2012 when 0.32% of the workforce were reported as Aboriginal.

The Aboriginal workforce, when compared to the whole public sector workforce, is:

  • More likely to work full time
  • More likely to work in caring and community service roles and in clerical and administrative roles, and is less likely to work in professional roles
  • More likely to work in regional Victoria
  • More likely to have shorter service with their current employer

VPSC’s current strategy, Barring Djinang, helps public sector agencies support and improve career experiences for Aboriginal employees, placing a strong focus on career development.


About the collections

Each year, the State of the Public Sector in Victoria presents data from an annual census of the public sector workforce.

It gives us a snapshot of those who work for Victoria, at the end of June each year.

We collect a number of metrics to provide both a timely record of this, but also to track changes over time.

This data is important because expenditure on employees accounts for the largest portion of the annual recurrent budget.

Our annual collection allows Victoria’s public sector leaders to understand the profile of their workforce, to see where resources are being used right now, and to plan for workforce changes, development and mobility in the future.

Read the SOPSIV 2016-17 report