The highest and lowest workplaces for staff morale in the APS

By Jackson Graham

December 3, 2021

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Staff morale at Home Affairs, NIAA, and Social Services is among some of the lowest across all APS agencies (Adobe/jaymast)

Staff morale at Home Affairs, the National Indigenous Australians Agency and the Department of Social Services is among some of the lowest in all APS agencies, 2021 census data reveals. 

Meanwhile, morale at PM&C, Treasury, the Department of Finance, the ATO, ABS and ACCC – while generally slightly lower than in 2020 – stands out among the strongest in the sector. 

For agencies bigger than 1000 employees across the Australian Public Service, the Department of Home Affairs staff ranked their workplace lowest on areas of morale, the data released this week shows. 

Of the 63% of Home Affairs employees who responded to the census, 66% said they were satisfied with their job and 61% said they were proud to work there. Both measures have dropped five percentage points compared to 2020.  

Further to this, just 46% say they would recommend the agency as a good place to work – the only large agency to score below 50% on this measure. 

Home Affairs scored low on senior management teamwork and management of change — areas that were generally pressure points across all APS agencies. 

The National Indigenous Australians Agency, the Defence Department, and the National Disability Insurance Agency all received a 68% job satisfaction rating from staff – below the APS average of 73%. 

But staff at the National Indigenous Australians Agency also showed below-average pride in the agency (68%) and just over half said they would recommend to others it was a good place to work. 

Senior management teamwork and management of change were again areas that ranked the lowest for agency staff. 

Similarly, staff at the Department of Social Services – while having job satisfaction just under the APS average – ranked their pride in the agency at 64% and their likelihood to recommend to others it was a good place to work as 56%. 

Staff saw management of change, communication from senior management and internal communications among the worst-performing areas. Only 45% of respondents believed if they requested a flexible work arrangement, their request would be given reasonable consideration.

The Prime Minister’s Department topped the list for overall job satisfaction, with 82% of staff saying they were satisfied – above the APS average of 73%. 

PM&C staff also ranked their pride in the agency highly (84%) and 81% said they would recommend to others it was a good place to work. 

Staff at Treasury and the ABS ranked their job satisfaction at 80%, while 79% of workers at the Department of Finance, ATO and ACCC were satisfied with their jobs. 

Nine-in-10 staff at the ACCC said they were proud to work at their agency, closely followed by the ABS and Treasury where 87% of staff said the same. 

The ACCC also topped the list for employees saying they would recommend to others that the agency was a good place to work, with 88% saying they would do this. 

Senior management teamwork, management of change, communications from senior management, agencies inspiring staff to come up with different ways of doing things, embracing the notion of failure being part of innovation, and health and wellbeing support were among the areas APS agencies on average scored lowest on.


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