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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.

The Government workforce in Australia performs a wide variety of functions in all arms of government, as well as in statutory bodies and state-owned corporations. Key areas for government are the development, review and implementation of government policies and the provision of community services.

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 related areas.

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

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment levels and trends

Employment in the Public Administration industry has risen 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 has been 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 whole Public Sector Training Package increased between 2014 and 2016, though there was a decline in subject-only enrolments over this same period.

Program enrolments in the Local Government Training Package rose between 2014 and 2016. However, program completions have remained relatively stable during this time. There was a large drop in the number of subject-only enrolments in this training package in 2015, due to two specific Local Government subjects being trained in high volume by two providers in 2014, with this not being the case in following years. This specific subject-only training may have been partially incorporated into program enrolments post-2014.

Industry insights on skills needs

Infographic title: Priority skills: 2017 skills forecast,, Infographic data,, Title: Top priority skills,, communication, management, customer service, technology, data analysis,, Title: Top generic skills,, learning agility /information literacy / intellectual autonomy and self-management, communication / virtual collaboration / social intelligence, managerial / leadership, customer service / marketing, design mindset / thinking critically / system thinking / solving problems,, Infographic title: Skills and occupations in demand: job vacancies,, Title: Top generic skills in demand,, communication skills, organisational skills, planning, research, writing,, Title: Top 5 occupations in demand,, general clerks, contract, program or project administrators, other specialist managers, health and welfare services, managers, secretaries,, Title: Top 5 locations,, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory,, Title: Top employers,, Government of Queensland, Government of New South Wales, Government of South Australia, Government of Victoria. Government of Western Australia,, Infographic source, Priority skills source: Public Sector IRC Skills Forecast and Schedule of Work 2017, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool

The top priority skills in the public sector identified by the Public Sector IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 are:

  • communication
  • management
  • customer service
  • technology
  • data analysis.

The top priority skills identified in the Local Government IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 are:

  • leadership
  • customer service
  • communication
  • technology
  • finance.

Job vacancy data suggests the key skills in demand from employers in the Public Administration industry are:

  • communication skills
  • organisational skills
  • planning
  • research
  • writing.

The above information suggests that skills development in communication and management areas is important to the future of the Government workforce. The Public Sector IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 and the Local Government IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 both highlight the role of digital and technological advances in shaping the future skills needs of the Government workforce. This may take the form of a greater public demand for governmental data, increased data sharing and a connected inter-governmental approach and the efficiency rewards of implementing the latest technological approached. This means the Government workforce needs to be digitally literate and adaptable to technological change.

The Public Administration and Safety Sector Profile by the South Australian Training Skills Commission identifies the issues of an ageing governmental workforce, a factor likely to affect all levels of Government but of particular issue for local government. A large number of retirements may leave governments understaffed, an issue compounded by the difficulty in attracting younger workers. This means governments should carefully consider how to ensure knowledge transfer occurs and examine the necessary investment required in new equipment due to changes in the physical capacity of the workforce.

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 Centre of Excellence for Local Government

Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators

Australian Local Government Association

Australian Public Service Commission

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

Community and Public Sector Union

Government of South Australia Office for the Public Sector

Government of Western Australia Public Sector Commission

Local Government Association of the Northern Territory

Local Government Association of Queensland

Local Government Association of South Australia

Local Government Association Tasmania

Local Government New South Wales

Local Government Professionals Australia

Municipal Association of Victoria

National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters

New South Wales Government Public Service Commission

Northern Territory Government Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment

Tasmanian Office of the State Service Commissioner

Victorian Local Governance Association

Victorian Public Sector Commission

Western Australian Local Government Association


Employee associations

Community and Public Sector Union

Local Government Professionals Australia


Relevant research

Public Administration and Safety Sector Profile – South Australian Training Skills Commission

Local Government IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 – Local Government IRC

Public Sector IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 – 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 1 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 Student and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • Public Sector Training Package
  • 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 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 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 Industry Reference Committee’s 2017 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

Burning Glass Technologies: Labour insight – real-time labour market information tool <> 2017.

  • Job advertisements from all of Australia from January 2014 to August 2017 are included in the analysis. Data shown is the top five advertised VET-related occupations (1–6 digit level excluding Professionals) in the Public Administration industry and the top five locations and employers according to job advertisements.
  • Skills data has also been extracted from the Burning Glass labour insights job vacancy data tool. Data shown is the proportion of job advertisements which request generic skills for VET-related occupations in the industry and occupations listed above.
Updated: 14 Aug 2018
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