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This page provides high level information and data on the Government industry which comprises three main industry sectors:

  • Government Services
  • Interpreting and Translating
  • Local Government.

For more information on these areas, see the Government Services, Interpreting and Translating and Local Government pages.

See Corrections and Public Safety for more information on that sector.

The Public Sector comprises federal and state/territory governments, statutory bodies and state-owned corporations. Public Sector employees play a key role in the development, review and implementation of government policies and provide an array of services for the community. There is a diverse range of occupations within the Public Sector, spanning areas including education, health, policy, finance, police and emergency services.

Nationally recognised training for the Government industry is delivered under the PSP  Public Sector Training Package.

Information sourced from the Public Sector IRC's 2018 Industry Skills Forecast (forthcoming).

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Public Sector IRC

Local Government IRC

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment levels and trends

Employment in the Public Administration industry increased steadily between 2000 and 2017, with this rise predicted to continue between 2017 and 2022. Though not all workers in the area of Government may be captured by this industry, it nevertheless provides a good indicator of the employment in that area.

Employment in Public Order, Safety and Regulatory services has similarly risen, although it was more variable between 2000 and 2017. This measure includes workers out of scope for this cluster, such as those in the police, fire and prison services, however it is also relevant to the regulatory functions this cluster includes. Employment in this industry is predicted to increase between 2017 and 2022.

VET-related occupational proportions

All the main VET-related occupations identified in the Public Administration industry are expected to see employment growth between 2017 and 2022. This growth is particularly strong for Welfare Support Workers and Intelligence and Policy Analysts, with increases of over 22% and 15% respectively expected for these occupations. Inspectors and Regulatory Officers are predicted to have the lowest growth, at approximately 2.4%.

VET-related occupational growth predictions are also strong in the Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Services industry. Occupations such as Other Specialist Managers and General Clerks are predicted to grow more than 8% between 2017 and 2022. Note this does not include VET-related occupations that are not relevant to this cluster, such as police and fire-related occupations (covered in the Corrections and Public Safety industry cluster).

Training activity

Program enrolments and completions in the Public Sector training package increased substantially between 2014 and 2017 with the largest increase being from 2016–17. Subject-only enrolments were relatively stable over the same period.

Industry insights on skills needs

The top generic skills identified in the Public Sector IRC's 2018 Industry Skills Forecast are:

  • communication/virtual collaboration/social intelligence
  • customer service/marketing
  • language, literacy and numeracy (LLN)
  • design mindset/thinking critically/system thinking/solving problems
  • learning agility/information literacy/intellectual autonomy and self-management.

The top generic skills identified in the Local Government IRC 2018 Industry Skills Forecast are:

  • learning agility/information literacy/intellectual autonomy and self management
  • managerial/leadership
  • customer service/marketing
  • communication/virtual collaboration/social intelligence
  • technology and application.

According to the job vacancy data, the top requested skills by employers in the Government industry were communication skills and planning. The most advertised occupations were Contract, Program and Project Administrators followed by General Clerks. The top employers were the New South Wales Government and the Government of Queensland.

According to the Public Sector Skills Forecast, changing demographics in government markets are causing shifts in the demands and expectations of the recipients of public services. This has resulted in an increased shift away from simple replacement planning to a critical need for strategic planning. Strategic planning skills have become highly valued across Public Sector departments as changes in business practices have impacted both organisational structures and reporting frameworks. Governance and delegations are also being completely reassessed. The need for soft skills at all levels of the Public Sector have been recognised and is a high priority in skills development programs. Challenges associated with developing these skills include the need for a consistent definition of what they are and how best to tailor training package products to Public Sector contexts.

Key future skills needs identified include:

  • Intercultural competence – meeting the challenges of the future requires a workforce that continues to reflect the diversity of the broader community. To remain effective, the Public Sector will need to continue to cater to the different needs of the community and adapt as these change. Current workforce challenges and opportunities include references to the diversity of Australian society and the increasingly diverse workforce in the Public Sector. Workers will continue to need skills to understand and value the input of all employees, regardless of their cultural or demographic background. The cultural diversity of communities will continue to require that Public Sector service delivery and public policy development be culturally appropriate, and safe.
  • Technology skills – with the constant evolution of technology through automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots, the skills needed by the workforce today will be vastly different in the coming years. Technological disruption will require the flexibility to adapt, as it will change the process by which some jobs are carried out and possibly replace others entirely. It is imperative that training package products being developed or updated be flexible enough to incorporate rapid changes in technology and do not "time-lock" training to current systems only. Digital literacy and being proficient in the use of different technological platforms will be essential skills in the future.
  • Leadership skills – leadership in the Public Sector is an important ongoing trend in future skill needs. It is essential that organisational leaders are ready to meet new challenges in business contexts characterised by change. Formal training provides a foundation for the diverse skills associated with leadership – from technical skills to solving problems, project management and managing change. Investing in leadership development is positively associated with leadership capabilities and self-efficacy, which in turn significantly improve workplace performance and innovation.

The Digital Transformation Agency annual report 2016–17 states that demand for digital government services has been rapidly growing for many years. People are more reliant on digital channels than ever before, and expect a quick and simple engagement with government, just as they have with business. The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) was established in response to this user need. By building digital capability within government the DTA aims to ensure that Public Sector staff and infrastructure are prepared for the digital innovations of the future.

The DTA is focused on delivering outcomes to provide Australians with better access to government services via digital channels, enabling them to access services from anywhere and at times that suit them. The aim is to improve the user experience for all Australians accessing government information and services by leading the design, development and continual enhancement of whole-of-government service delivery policies and standards, platforms and joined-up services.

The 2018 report Navigating technology and the jobs of the future: How technology is impacting the work, the workplace and the worker of the future, by the Australian Information Industry Association, states that the Australian people expect government to deliver better digital outcomes and that there is a need to balance the role of new technology and the 'human touch' to improve the efficiency and quality of government service delivery. We are on the verge of a move from the information era to the augmented era where machines and minds complement each other. Users of government services expect personalisation and faster resolution of issues, and frontline government staff require automation and data to provide quicker outcomes that are being demanded.

For specific analysis of issues affecting Local Government, see Local Government.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.


Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

Australian Capital Territory Government

Australian Department of Defence

Australian Government Department of Education and Training

Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business

Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT)

Australian Local Government Association (ALGA)

Australian Public Service Commission (APSC)

Chief Minister of the Northern Territory

Environmental Health Australia (EHA)

Government of South Australia Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment

Government of Western Australia Public Sector Commission

Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ)

Local Government Association of South Australia

Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT)

Local Government Association Tasmania (LGAT)

Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW)

Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)

National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI)

New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet

New South Wales Government

New South Wales Government Public Service Commission

Northern Territory Government

Northern Territory Government Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment

Planning Institute of Australia (PIA)

Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet

Queensland Government

Queensland Government Public Sector Commission

South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet

South Australian Government

Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet

Tasmanian Office of the State Service Commissioner

Tasmanian Government

Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet

Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA)

Victorian Government

Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC)

Western Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet

Western Australian Government

Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA)


Government bodies

ACT Government

Department of Communities (WA)

Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development (NT)

Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (Commonwealth)

Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs (Queensland)

Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (WA)

Local Government Victoria

Office of Local Government NSW

SA Office of Local Government


Employee associations

Australian Services Union (ASU)

Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)

Local Government Engineers Association (LGEA)

Local Government Professionals Australia

State Public Services Federation Tasmania (SPSFT)

United Services Union (USU)


Regulatory bodies

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)


Relevant research

Digital Transformation Agency annual report 2016–17 Digital Transformation Agency (DTA)

Local Government IRC 2018 Industry Skills Forecast Local Government IRC

Navigating technology and the jobs of the future: how technology is impacting the work, the workplace and the worker of the future Australian Information Industry Association

Public Sector IRC 2018 Industry Skills Forecast Public Sector IRC

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit Public Administration Industry and Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Industry, employment projections to May 2022
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2022
    • Contract, Program and Project Administrators
    • General Clerks
    • Information Officer (formerly Inquiry Clerks)
    • Inspectors and Regulatory Officers
    • Intelligence and Policy Analysts
    • Other Specialist Managers
    • Policy and Planning Managers
    • Welfare Support Workers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed September 2017

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit Public Administration Industry and Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Industry, 2000 to 2017, May quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 2 digit Public Administration Industry and Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses from the following training packages:

  • PSP Public Sector Training Package
  • LGA Local Government Training Package.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Public Sector IRC 2018 Industry Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018,

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills/Occupations
    • ANZSCO major groups excluding Professionals
    • 75 Public Administration
  • Employers
    • 5111 Contract, Program and Project Administrators
    • 5311 General Clerks
    • 1399 Other Specialist Managers
    • 1343 School Principals
    • 5212 Secretaries
    • 75 Public Administration.
Updated: 18 Oct 2019
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