Our people

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Finance is leading transformation within the APS, and we are committed to improving the way we work so we can deliver on government priorities and our ongoing business. Building a highly capable and committed workforce that is agile, flexible and able to work across complex policy issues is central to meeting this commitment.

Finance recognises that along with challenging and interesting work, a competitive remuneration framework, recognition of employees’ capabilities, a supportive capability development framework, a culture that embraces diversity, and work–life balance are key to attracting, developing and retaining talented staff. This section describes our people, the ways we support diversity in our workforce, and our remuneration, reward, performance management and capability development frameworks.

Employment performance

At 30 June 2016, Finance had 1,812 staff employed on an ongoing, non-ongoing and casual basis. Table 1 provides a comparative overview of the department’s employment performance in 2014–15 and 2015–16. More information about the department’s workforce and salary ranges is provided in Appendix B.

Table 1: Employment performance, 2014–15 and 2015–16

Indicator 2014-15 2015-16
Total number of staff employed (headcount) 1,804 1,812
Total number of staff employed (headcount, excluding casuals) 1,460 1,469
Total employee expenditure (including casuals) $161,217,000 $170,358,000
Diversity of the workforce (as identified)—excluding casuals
Women (percentage of total workforce) 54.5% 55.4%
People with disability (percentage of total workforce) 2.6% 3.0%
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (percentage of total workforce) 1.4% 1.6%
Staff with English as a second language (percentage of total workforce) 9.6% 9.6%
Training and education
Number of staff undertaking supported studies 86 144

Workforce diversity

In 2015–16, the department strengthened its efforts in building awareness of and capability in cultural and diversity matters. The value of these efforts was confirmed in the 2016 APS employee census results, which showed an increase in staff identifying as being from a diverse background and an increase in affirmative response rates for diversity, engagement and workplace culture.

A key factor in the success of our diversity initiatives is our five cultural and diversity networks—the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network; the Diversity Network; the Finance Women’s Network; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Plus (LGBTI+) Network; and the Young Leaders Network. These networks are each supported by an SES sponsor and have the endorsement and backing of all senior leaders, including the Secretary and the Executive Board Diversity Champion.

The LGBTI+ Network is the newest of the five networks. It was established in August 2015 to support LGBTI staff and raise awareness of LGBTI issues in the department. At 30 June 2016, the network had 25 members, including staff who identify as LGBTI and staff who are allies. One of its early initiatives was helping to change the way personnel records are kept to ensure confidentiality for employees who have transitioned gender. Individual records now make no reference to an employee’s previous gender (e.g. name, salutation, gender) and recognise their prior service under their new identity. These changes provide transgender employees with safety and confidence to transfer between agencies.

Other initiatives that supported improved diversity outcomes in 2015–16 included:

  • events to raise awareness of equal opportunity and diversity issues, including NAIDOC Week, International Day of People with Disability, International Women’s Day, Harmony Day and International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia
  • collaboration with other government agencies to share best practice information, training seminars, documents, guidance and approaches on diversity issues
  • presentations from keynote speakers on mental health and LGBTI matters 
  • cultural and diversity training delivered by the Australian Network on Disability.

The department also continued its memberships in peak diversity bodies such as the Australian Network on Disability, the Diversity Council Australia and Pride in Diversity.

Disability reporting mechanisms

Since 1994, non-corporate Commonwealth entities have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au. From 2010–11, entities have no longer been required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports was published in 2014, and can be found at www.dss.gov.au.

Recruitment—entry-level programs

Finance continued to focus on recruiting talented graduates and school leavers into customised entry-level programs. The department also participated in several whole-of-government entry-level programs. Entry-level recruitment figures for 2015–16 are provided in Table 2.

Table 2: Entry-level programs, 2015–16

  Australian Public Service classification Number of officers
Finance programs
Finance Graduate Program APS 3 19
Finance Career Starter Program APS 1 15
Papua New Guinea Graduate Program APS 3 (equivalent) 2
Whole-of-government programs
ICT Australian Government Graduate Program APS 3 2
ICT Australian Government Apprenticeship Program APS 1 4
ICT Australian Government Cadetship Program APS 2 1
APS Indigenous Graduate Program APS 3 1
APS Indigenous Traineeship Program APS 2 1
Indigenous Australian Government Development Program APS 3 5

Remuneration and employment conditions

The Finance Enterprise Agreement 2015–2018 came into effect on 27 January 2016 with a nominal expiry date of 19 January 2019. The agreement provides non-SES staff with competitive remuneration and employment conditions.

The department’s remuneration offer was a 6 per cent increase over three years (2 per cent on commencement of the agreement and in each of the following two years). Staff allowances also increased by 6 per cent over three years.

Employment conditions for SES staff are set out in individual determinations made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act. Many of these conditions are aligned with the department’s enterprise agreement. A breakdown of staff under the department’s employment instruments is given in Table 3.

Table 3: Staff coverage under employment instruments at 30 June 2016

Number of employees
covered by the enterprise

Number of employees covered by a section 24(1) determination Number of employees with an individual flexibility agreement in place
1,738a 74 17b

a Includes ongoing, non-ongoing and casual staff.
b All employees are covered by either the enterprise agreement or a section 24(1) determination. Employees covered by the enterprise agreement may also have an individual flexibility agreement in place.

Performance pay

Finance does not provide performance pay.

Non-salary benefits

The department provides staff with a number of additional benefits that are not included under the provisions of the Finance Enterprise Agreement 2015–2018. These benefits are:

  • annual influenza immunisation
  • a quit-smoking assistance program
  • a carer’s/breastfeeding room
  • workstation assessments for new starters
  • early intervention for case management
  • a return-to-work program for noncompensable injuries and illnesses
  • mentoring programs
  • in-house capability development programs
  • a gymnasium
  • a free, confidential employee assistance program for employees and their immediate families
  • a serious illness register
  • study assistance to eligible employees
  • an opportunity to work from home on a case-by-case basis
  • contributions to relevant professional memberships
  • library services.

Employees can access a range of salary sacrifice benefits, including additional superannuation, leased motor vehicles, laptop computers, mobile telephones and airline lounge memberships.

Performance management

All Finance employees participate in the performance management framework, the main objectives of which are to:

  • clearly link an individual’s work with Finance’s strategic and operational objectives
  • provide considered feedback, both informal and formal, to employees on their performance and achievements at work (formal performance assessments occur in December and June)
  • identify and support the ongoing learning and development needs of employees
  • effectively identify and address underperformance.

During 2015–16, the department commenced work on a new performance and capability framework to support the transformation agenda and encourage regular and meaningful conversations and feedback. The new framework will be implemented during 2016–17.

Learning and development

Ninety-four staff participated in one-on-one coaching sessions through the Coaching in Finance Program. The program helps staff to achieve specific development goals and outcomes that other development opportunities may not meet. Coaching was mainly in the areas of leadership, career change and development, and career planning.

Formal training and development
In 2015–16, a total of 138 tailored professional skills development courses were provided through formal in-house programs. In addition, a range of leadership and management programs were run to support staff with the transition to the department’s new operating model. These programs centred on three themes: working in the new Finance; leading change; and managing for optimal performance.

Study assistance
Finance provided 144 staff with financial assistance and study leave to participate in external study as part of the department’s overall commitment to developing employees’ skills.

Learning management system
In 2015–16, Finance launched APS LearnHub for all staff. APS LearnHub is a learning management system that supports Finance’s 70:20:10 learning strategy, representing learning on the job, through peers, and through formal training.

The system allows our people to:

  • book in to face-to-face courses held at Finance, and access online tools to support the training
  • complete online training that has been specifically designed for the APS, with content reviewed by the relevant policy agencies
  • access world-class learning tools such as Lynda.com (online training and videos including TED Talks), Skillsoft (IT and business skills certification) and Good Practice leadership and management training and resources)
  • access collaborative networks.


Last updated: 24 October 2016