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Training and development

In line with the ABS Workforce Strategy 2015–2019 and the ABS People and Culture Action Plan 2017 & 2018, the ABS is reshaping its workforce capability to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to achieve transformation, while continuing to deliver high quality official statistics. Training statistics from 2007–08 to 2017–18 are presented in Table 6.7.

Key achievements in 2017–18

  • Thirty-one graduates commenced the 2018 ABS Graduate Development Program. This program supports graduates to quickly build professional capability and now includes a seminar series and a graduate coaching program. The ABS also made it into the Top 100 Graduate Employers list produced by the GradAustralia Student Survey with a ranking of 17th.
  • The first iteration of the Enterprise Learning Model (ELM) was developed, including the articulation of high performing behaviours for the future ABS. These are the observable characteristics that inform the way we work and interact with each other, and will position the ABS as a credible, trusted and collaborative partner, and a high performing organisation. The ELM will continue to evolve over the coming 12 months and is intended to complement ABS job design work.
  • New technology and new business processes will lead to increased efficiency across the ABS and initiate the need to review the roles people play within their teams to contribute to ABS success. The ABS has invested in the development of a new job design framework against which the workforce implications of the new technologies can be tested. New statistical roles described will be adopted by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) to bolster the APS job family framework in the area of data analytics.
  • A review of the existing Development and Performance Framework has commenced to ensure desired behaviours are reinforced at the individual level and that our people are able to benefit from a contemporary approach to defining and supporting their valuable contribution to the achievement of the ABS purpose.
  • Collaborative partnerships between the National Learning and Capability Development section and Statistical Business Transformation (SBT) Program have resulted in the development of a suite of artefacts that can be used to showcase the new SBT Program products and systems.
  • Coaching conversations and skills have been a key element across our development programs at all levels. Executive Coaching and mentoring is available for all EL/SES staff with 17 in-house coaches being trained.
  • Corporate and leadership capability development continues to be a priority for the ABS. In March 2018, 225 ABS leaders came together for the inaugural SES/EL2 Summit in Canberra. With the theme of ‘Leadership for the future – Customers, Problem Solving and Accountability’, the Summit rep resented an opportunity for the expanded ABS leadership team to consider issues critical to the ongoing success of the ABS, the ABS transformation program and beyond. Key themes arising from the Summit are guiding future development of this cohort and supporting ABS cultural change.
  • The Executive Capability Development seminar series was launched as a new development program for the ABS EL cohort. The program consists of monthly seminars led by SES or external speakers, broadcast to all ABS locations and recorded for wider subsequent dissemination and on-demand viewing.
  • The Management Fundamentals: People and Performance Program was developed and delivered to 328 staff across eight locations. This program is aimed at supporting managers to build high performing teams through effective people and performance management. Ninety-eight per cent evaluated the program as being relevant to their workplace and 93 per cent said their skills, knowledge and confidence had improved.
  • The second program in this series, Management Fundamentals: Leading Teams Through Change was developed and delivered to 157 staff across six locations and is focused on building the capability of team leaders to support and lead through periods of change. Ninety-six per cent evaluated the program as being relevant to their workplace and 94 per cent said their skills, knowledge and confidence had improved.
  • Agile Essentials workshops were provided to 244 staff members, addressing fundamental principles and practices of Agile, including Scrum, Lean and Kanban. Ninety-one per cent evaluated the program as being relevant to their workplace and 87 per cent said their skills and knowledge had improved.

Total ABS Operative Staff (b)

Attendance Days

Average training days













































(a) Excludes on the job and Census Data Processing (DPC) training and excludes the Australian Statistician (statutory appointment).

(b) Comprises full time and part time operative staff headcount (excluding interviewers).

(c) Increase due to Census Management Unit operations.

(d) Minor correction to original published numbers.

(e) Decrease partly due to move to e-learning approaches.

(f) Significant decrease in face-to-face sessions with more emphasis on e-learn/blended learning approaches.

(g) Rise in average training days due to significant graduate intake, mandatory e-learning modules for new recruits and new telework arrangements, availability of new e-learning modules for self-directed learning, and focus on skills for transformation such as Agile Methodology and EL1 orientation.

(h) A reduction from previous year due to lower staffing levels, limited face-to-face delivery and use of e-learning.

(i) Decrease in attendance days on the previous financial year driven by Census (including field staff) training and onboarding undertaken in 2016–17.