Freeze ends, non-ongoing employees skyrocket in APS

By The Mandarin

April 7, 2016

The end of the APS hiring freeze in July last year did not lead to a burst of new permanent employees as some had speculated. Instead, agency bosses have restored their people capability with non-ongoing employees on temporary contracts.

The latest yearly snapshot has non-ongoing APS employees rising by more than 27% in just one year, almost evenly matched by fewer ongoing employees.

At the end of 2015 there were 151,873 employees in the APS, just 501 more than the end of 2014 — a mere 0.3% increase.

The figures, published by the Australian Public Service Commission yesterday, reveals how the ongoing and non-ongoing employee ratios shifted substantially as the Abbott government era hiring freeze was lifted:

  • 135,600 ongoing employees—down by 2.2% from 138,580 in December 2014
  • 16,273 non-ongoing employees—up by 27.2% from 12,792 in December 2014

During 2015:

  • 5830 ongoing employees were engaged to the APS—up by 114.6% from 2717 in 2014. This includes 631 employees who moved into coverage of the PS Act.
  • 8813 ongoing employees separated from the APS—down by 34.0% from 13,350 in 2014. This includes 299 employees who moved out of coverage of the PS Act.
All APS employees by employment category, June 2006 to December 2015. Source: APSC
All APS employees by employment category, June 2006 to December 2015. Source: APSC

Digital Transformation Office boss Paul Shetler has been one of the new proponents in government of giving employees choice, especially recruits from the private sector, who may prefer contract lengths other than the standard one year for most public servants, or five years for top executives.

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