People are central to achieving the department’s purpose. Our people work to achieve a shared vision and ensure that the department continues to be future focused and responsive to the changing nature of work.

The People and Capability Committee 

The People and Capability Committee governs the strategies, policies and decisions that affect our employees. It reviews and drives innovative approaches to people management and capability development activities, while ensuring continued compliance with legislative requirements, including work health and safety obligations.

Highlights for the committee in 2017–18 included:

  • reporting on the findings from a trial of flexible work practices (Flexible by Default), which confirmed a positive culture and high level of support for working flexibly across the department
  • launching the online work health and safety management system, which provides employees with centralised access to work health and safety policies, procedures, systems and resources
  • implementing a pilot program to identify and support development of high-potential Executive Level 1 employees
  • launching the department’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2018–2020, which underscores our commitment to supporting employees who identify with diversity groups
  • endorsing the ‘People Strategy 2018-2022 - Building now for our future’, which identifies 27 initiatives over the next five years to develop our people and workforce for the future.

In the year ahead, the committee will continue overseeing the People Strategy, and monitor progress on recommendations and initiatives associated with its implementation.

Staffing Statistics

Table 15. Employees by employment status, 30 June 2017 and 2018
2017 2018
Employment status Female Male Grand Total Female Male Grand Total
Full-time 812 877 1,689 878 886 1,764
Part-time 270 47 317 289 45 334
Subtotal 1,082 924 2,006 1,167 931 2,098
Full-time 21 26 47 19 15 34
Part-time 15 9 24 13 5 18
Subtotal 36 35 71 32 20 52
Total 1,118 959 2,077 1,199 951 2,150
Table 16. Employees by classification at 30 June 2017 and 2018
2017 2018
Substantive Classification Female Male Grand Total Female Male Grand Total
Trainees 2 0 2 0 0 0
Indigenous Australian Government Development Programme Trainees 4 3 7 2 1 3
Graduates 16 16 32 14 12 26
APS Level 1 1 0 1 4 0 4
APS Level 2 4 6 10 2 1 3
APS Level 3 35 31 66 33 25 58
APS Level 4 140 89 229 2124 79 203
APS Level 5 190 143 333 201 139 340
APS Level 6 273 232 505 312 247 559
Executive Level 1 286 288 574 321 290 611
Executive Level 2 92 80 172 104 85 189
Information Technology Specialist 2 13 15 2 123 15
Government Lawyer 8 5 13 14 6 20
Senior Government Lawyer 16 10 26 19 12 31
Principal Government Lawyer 18 11 29 14 11 25
SES Band 1 22 24 46 23 24 47
SES Band 2 7 7 14 7 5 12
SES Band 3 1 1 2 2 1 3
Secretary 1 0 1 1 0 1
Total 1,118 959 2,077 1,199 951 2,150
Table 17. Employees by location, 30 June 2017 and 2018
State 2017 2018
ACT 1,677 1,758
NSW 152 143
NT 10 10
OS 1 1
QLD 82 80
SA 48 48
TAS 14 14
VIC 62 66
WA 30 30

Learning and development

The department continued investing in its people through a new learning framework. Corporately–funded learning and development programs were also aligned to outcomes in the department’s strategic plan, leadership statement and organisational capability vision. The department offered shorter programs with targeted learning outcomes, and increased and broadened the opportunities available to all employees.

A total of 1,399 individual employees participated in face-to-face learning and development programs during the year (see Table 15).

Table 18. Participation in face-to-face learning and development programs, 2016–17 and 2017–18
2016–17 2017–18
Number of participants 1,256 3,197
Number of programs 19 32
108 individual courses 236 individual courses

The department also assessed the effectiveness of learning and development programs through evaluations and the 2017 APS Employee Census results.

The department delivers a highly customisable learning management system, Learnhub. As at 30 June 2018, 41 agencies (including the department) were using Learnhub. In addition to providing a platform for employees to book into a number of face-to-face courses, the Learnhub system allows employees to learn at their own pace using a range of e-learning tools,, Skillsoft, and Good–Practice, and is accessible from portable devices. Table 20 shows details of employee engagement from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 as compared with 1 July 2016 to 31 May 2017.

Table 19. e-Learning engagement from 1 July 2016 to 31 May 2017 and 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018
1 July 2016 to 31 May 2017 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018
Number of in-house courses completed 3,855 11,330
Number of active individual users of 819 927
Number of active individual users of Skillsoft 268 755

Leadership development is a priority, and the department supports senior executive service (SES) and executive level 2 (EL2) staff to undertake a range of education activities. In 2017–18, 22 EL2 employees attended 10 management and leadership courses, and 16 SES attended nine executive development programs. These activities are high-calibre and clearly aligned to the department’s vision to create a workforce for the future. They are led by thought leaders, including providers such as the Australian Public Service Commission, Melbourne Business School, and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.

Remuneration and conditions of employment

All non-SES employees in the department are covered by the Department of Employment Enterprise Agreement 2016–2019. The agreement operates in conjunction with Commonwealth legislation and the department’s policies and guidelines to define the terms and conditions of employment for staff. The enterprise agreement’s nominal expiry date is 28 March 2019. Figure 10 shows the employee agreement statistics at 30 June 2018.

Figure 10. Employee agreement statistics, 30 June 2018
Figure 10. Employee agreement statistics, 30 June 2018

Graph information - Figure 10


  • Enterprise agreement—2,054
  • Individual flexibility arrangements—33
  • Section 24(1) determinations (SES)—62


  • Enterprise agreement—1,985
  • Individual flexibility arrangements—28
  • Section 24(1) determinations (SES)—64

The department has 33 individual flexibility arrangements in place for non-SES employees; these recognise specialised capabilities and additional responsibilities.

Remuneration and conditions for SES employees is determined under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. An SES remuneration package recognises all hours worked, including any reasonable additional hours. In 2017–18, all SES employees had section 24(1) determinations in place.

The department’s remuneration framework does not provide performance pay for SES or non-SES employees.

Non-salary benefits 

The department offers a range of flexible working arrangements to help employees balance their personal and professional lives. These include part-time working hours, flextime, purchased leave, parental leave, cultural leave and community volunteer leave. A six-month flexible by default trial – which was run across five branches in 2017 – encouraged conversations about workplace flexibility, changed attitudes within the organisation to ‘if not, why not?’, and ensured that managers were supported and encouraged to accommodate flexible working conditions within operational requirements.

Impact of the machinery-of-government changes 

During 2017–18 the following machinery-of-government changes affected the department:

  • Twenty-three ongoing and three non-ongoing employees from Small Business Policy, and employees supporting the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, joined the department from the Department of the Treasury.
  • Four employees from the regulatory reform team in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet moved to the Department of Jobs and Small Business.

Secondment program 

A number of secondments were supported during the year to enable the exchange of staff between the department, other APS agencies and private sector organisations. These arrangements foster collaboration across Government, and build positive cultural change. They connect staff and expose them to new ideas, alternative leadership styles, diverse approaches to policy-making, and the challenges and practicalities of implementing policy decisions.

In 2017–18, there were five secondments into the department from other Government agencies. Twenty employees of the department were seconded to 14 Government and five non-government organisations.

Salary Ranges

Table 20. Employee salary ranges by classification, 30 June 2017 and 2018
Classification 2017 ($) 2018 ($)
APS Level 1 28,547- 52,021 28,832 - 52,541
APS Level 2 55,882 - 59,548 56,441 - 60,143
APS Level 3 62,406 - 65,001 63,030 - 65,651
APS Level 4 67,884 - 72,600 68,563 - 73,326
APS Level 5 74,852 - 80,130 75,702 - 80,931
APS Level 6 84,262 - 92,660 85,105 - 93,587
Executive Level 1 103,615 - 114,516 104,651 - 115,661
Executive Level 2 121,929 - 146,360 123,148 - 147,824
Information Technology Specialist 120,242 - 125,968 121,444 - 127,228
Government Lawyer 65,001 - 92,660 65,651 - 93,587
Senior Government Lawyer 103,615 - 126,927 104,651 - 128,196
Principal Government Lawyer 139,099 - 150,020 140,490 - 151,520
SES Band 1 153,678 - 255,067 159,125 - 257,618
SES Band 2 212,885 - 276,009 215,014 - 278,074
SES Band 3 300,000 - 330,000 329,545 - 333,300

Entry-level recruitment programs

The department builds its workforce through its graduate program, as well as through whole-of-government initiatives such as the ICT Apprenticeship Program, and the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program. These programs allow the department to develop and maintain capability and give participants the chance to gain specific skills and knowledge through on-the-job training and formal learning and development.

The 10-month graduate program offers workplace learning and development tailored to both the department and the wider APS. It allows graduates to experience two job placements in areas that will enhance their knowledge and capability. In 2017, 29 graduates successfully completed the program on 1 December. The 2018 Graduate Program began on 31 January 2018 with 26 participants.

The department recruited three ICT apprentices and three ICT school based apprentices through the Digital Transformation Agency’s ICT entry-level programs. The apprentices commenced on 31 January 2018 and will remain with the department for two years. The ICT school based apprentices joined the department in February 2018 for one year.  

The Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP) is administered by the department. It is a targeted employment and development program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. New recruits join each year and are employed in various APS agencies. Participants are offered ongoing employment and the opportunity to undertake a Diploma of Government and engage in other professional and personal development activities. IAGDP attracted new APS agencies during the year and a large number of participants. The 2016–17 program, which ended in December 2017, had 92 commencing participants placed in 23 APS agencies. Seven participants were employed in the department.

For the 2017–18 intake, which began in September 2017, 84 participants commenced across 24 participating APS agencies. Four participants commenced with the department as part of the 2017–18 cohort.

Photo: Graduates of the department’s 2017 Indigenous Australian Government Development Program. Left to right: Siah Mye, Raymond Graham, Secretary Kerri Hartland, Deputy Secretary Jill Charker, Kusum Turner, Brad Mapiva and Diane Takurit
Photo: Graduates of the department’s 2017 Indigenous Australian Government Development Program. Left to right: Siah Mye, Raymond Graham, Secretary Kerri Hartland, Deputy Secretary Jill Charker, Kusum Turner, Brad Mapiva and Diane Takurit

Diversity and inclusion

The department is a place where employees feel included, valued and respected; have mutual respect for one another; and have access to opportunities, which support full participation at work.

Diversity is about respect and acknowledging that everyone is different, bringing something unique to the workplace. The way people work and think is shaped by our culture, background, experiences and personalities. The department recognises the diversity of its existing workforce. It is committed to building and leveraging the depth of perspectives, experiences, knowledge and skills that diversity brings to the organisation.

Diversity and inclusion strategy 

The department’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is outlined in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2018–2020, which was launched on 30 April 2018. This strategy and the supporting plans show how the department: 

  • achieves an inclusive and safe place for people to work
  • embraces and celebrates diversity, and
  • realises the vision of More Jobs. Great Workplaces.

The strategy acknowledges employees may identify across a number of diversity groups. This is addressed by outlining the department’s commitments to action in the following employee plans:

This strategy is also complemented by the department’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2017–2020

Implementation of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and its supporting plans will be a key focus for 2018–19.

Photo: Implementation of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and its supporting plans will be a key focus for 2018–19.
Photo: Implementation of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and its supporting plans will be a key focus for 2018–19.

Reconciliation Action Plan

The department is committed to achieving reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community. It is connecting Indigenous Australians to work and fostering its own Indigenous workforce at all levels. 

The department’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2017–2020 reaffirms the department’s commitment to reconciliation and sets out the steps it is taking in its reconciliation journey to:

  • create an inclusive workforce that values and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture 
  • provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and suppliers to prosper 
  • deliver policy and programs that achieve stronger outcomes for Indigenous Australians, and 
  • connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to careers in the department. 

The department is committed to reach its target to increase its Indigenous workforce to three per cent (currently sitting at 2.9 per cent) by 2018. The priorities and practical actions outlined in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and  Career Plan 2016–2018 provide the foundation for ensuring the department delivers on this promise. The plan supports and complements the Reconciliation Action Plan in helping the department remain an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Table 21. Diversity
2017 2018
Headcount % Headcount %
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 56 2.70% 61 2.84%
Ongoing 45 61
Non Ongoing 11 0
People With Disability 77 3.71% 82 3.82%
Ongoing 74 78
Non Ongoing 3 4

Work health and safety

The department provides a safe working environment for all its workers and visitors. An audit of the department’s work health and safety management system by Comcare in March 2018 confirmed internal governance arrangements meet legislative and regulatory standards, and that approaches to employee health and wellbeing are well targeted. Initiatives offered to employees to promote health and wellbeing include early intervention, onsite annual influenza vaccinations and reimbursements, health and wellbeing seminars, and campaigns aligned with national health awareness days.

In 2018, the department’s Employee Assistance Program offered all employees and their immediate family member’s access to free counselling and other support services.

The Work Health Safety Committee is the primary mechanism for consultation and collaboration with departmental employees. It also covers other areas of the department responsible for work health and safety such as first aid, emergency management, and property and environment services. Work health and safety is a standing agenda item on the People and Capability Committee, allowing ongoing monitoring of organisational health and safety, and advice to the executive where required. The committee will exercise due diligence to ensure the department complies with relevant work health and safety duties and obligations.

Work health and safety incident reporting

Ninety work health and safety incidents were reported for 2017–18, with ‘falls on the same level (including trips and slips)’ accounting for the highest proportion (21 per cent) of reported incidents (see Table 22).

No notifiable incidents were reported to Comcare pursuant to section 38 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which requires notification of dangerous incidents or those resulting in serious injury or death.

Table 22. Work health and safety incidents by type, 2016–17 and 2017–18
Mechanism of incident 2016–17 (%) 2017–18 (%) 2017–18 (Number)
Falls on the same level (including trips and slips) 12.7 21.1 19
Miscellaneous and uncategorised mechanisms 21.8 15.6 14
Vehicle accident 7.3 4.4 4
Unspecified mechanism of injury 7.3 9.5 8
Repetitive movement with low muscle loading 9.1 7.8 7
Being hit by moving objects 3.6 5.6 5
Other muscular stress 3.6 8.9 8
Single contact with chemical or substance (excluding insect and spider bites and stings) 5.5 0.0 0
Hitting objects with the body 10.9 13.3 12
Other and multiple mechanisms of injury 1.8 1.1 1
Fall from a height 0 1.1 0
Exposure to variations in pressure (other than sound) 0 1.1 1
Exposure to mental stress factors 0 1.1 1
Other contact with chemical or substance (includes insect and spider bites and stings) 9.1 6.7 6
Contact or exposure to heat and cold 5.5 2.2 2
Contact with electricity 0 0.0 0
Slide or cave in 0 0.0 0
Exposure to sharp, sudden noise 1.8 1.1 1
Total 100 100 90


The department’s unscheduled absence rates compare favourably with those of other policy agencies, as reported in the 2017 State of the Service. The department is committed to building employee engagement and removing barriers to participation in the workplace.

The department offers a range of training programs on giving and receiving feedback, appropriate behaviours in the workplace and how to have effective conversations.

It also has in place a range of early intervention strategies designed to help staff remain at or return to work as quickly as possible after an injury or illness. These strategies provide a sound platform for managing unscheduled absences for the year ahead.