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Workforce management

We aim to attract and retain talented staff by offering challenging and fulfilling work, competitive salaries, flexible working conditions, excellent learning and development opportunities, and a friendly and inclusive work environment.

Staff commencements and turnover

Forty-two new employees commenced ongoing employment at the AIHW during 2019–20 (Table 5.4), of which 13 were in our 2019–20 graduate intake (Table 5.5), and 39 ongoing employees left the AIHW during 2019–20. This equates to a 10% turnover rate for ongoing staff in 2019–20, compared with 9% in 2018–19.

Table 5.4: Commencements and separations of ongoing APS staff, 2019–20



Ongoing staff at 30 June 2019


Staff engaged from outside the APS


Staff moving from anothe APS agency


Total commencing staff


Staff separating through resignation


Staff separating through retirement


Staff who moved to another APS agency on transfer


Staff who moved to another APS agency on promotion


Total exiting staff


Ongoing staff at 30 June 2020



1. ‘Ongoing staff’ refers to staff employed on an ongoing basis, whether active or on long-term leave.

2. Staff aged 55 and over who resigned from the APS are counted as having retired.

Contract staff turnover

As at 30 June 2020, the AIHW had 164 contract staff engaged for periods of up to 3 years. Last year, 12 contractors transitioned to ongoing APS employees in the AIHW. An additional 80 contractors ceased working with the AIHW, of which: 53 completed the term of their contract, as they were engaged for a specific task and/or period of time; 14 contracts were terminated by us; and 11 contractors resigned. A further 2 contractors ceased their employment as they had obtained employment with another government agency. Those who ceased working at the AIHW had an average tenure of 15 months.

Graduate intake

Our annual graduate intake remains a key strategy for building our workforce capability. We offer excellent employment opportunities for suitable graduates seeking to apply their qualifications in the fields of health and welfare information. Of the 13 graduates employed in the 2019–20 intake, 4 relocated from interstate. As a result of the Average Staffing Level restrictions, the AIHW engaged an additional 6 contractors who were identified through the 2019–20 graduate recruitment process. As part of their development, these staff participated in graduate program activities. Of these, 3 relocated from interstate. Of the 21 graduates employed in the 2015–16 intake, 10 have remained at the AIHW (Table 5.5).

Table 5.5: Graduate recruitment intake and outcomes, 2015–16 to 2019–20






Graduate intake (all at APS 4 level)






Graduates remaining at the AIHW on 30 June 2020






As an APS 4






Promoted to APS 5






Promoted to APS 6






Promoted to EL1






Managing performance and behaviour

Our Managing for Performance Policy recognises that regular constructive feedback encourages good performance. It enhances continuing development and facilitates employees and managers to communicate with each other informally and regularly about performance matters. The policy also affirms that performance management is a core activity that is embedded in all management functions.

Annual Performance Development Agreements (PDAs) are designed to align individual performance with our strategic goals and aimed at improving individual and organisational performance. PDAs also focus on individual learning and development needs and broader APS career development. Our policy requires a current PDA be developed for existing staff, including contractors, by July–August each year and, for new employees, within 3 months of their commencement.

Institute Awards

Institute Awards recognise exceptional individual and team contributions. The criteria for assessing nominations are linked to excellence in supporting strategic goals and excellence in delivering and/or supporting services and products. Institute Awards were given to 25 staff in 2019–20 (Table 5.6).

Table 5.6: Institute Award recipients, 2019–20

Alex Butler

Louise Tierney

Belinda Baker

Lynda Carney

Candy Fung

Matt Porter

Cara Goodwin

Melinda Leake

Chenkun Zhao

Melissa Wilson

Cherie McLean

Michelle Barnett

Chris Humphrey

Michelle Harvey

Cynthia Parayiwa

Rin Rin Ly

Drew Kennedy

Sam Fraser-Chitticks

Elise Farrell

Steven Day

George Bodilsen

Tim Worrall

Helen Hunter

Tylie Bayliss

James Aken

Kathy Pryce Memorial Award

Launched in 2018, the Kathy Pryce Memorial Award recognises the life and work of our late colleague and friend who passed away in April 2017. This award is intended to recognise excellence in corporate and administrative support. In November 2019, the Kathy Pryce Memorial Award was presented to Ms Anne Reader.

Recognising diversity

We continued to recognise and support the diversity of our staff. Our Enterprise Agreement (EA) provides flexible working and leave arrangements to support employees’ caring responsibilities, religious commitments and attendance at cultural events.

We maintain a Workplace Diversity Program aimed at ensuring that we:

  • recognise, foster and make best use of the diversity of our employees
  • help employees to balance their work, family and other caring responsibilities
  • comply with all relevant anti-discrimination laws.

In 2019–20, we continued to support the Pride Network, which provides peer support and visibility for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) staff.

We established the CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) Network which promotes awareness of the different cultures and languages represented at the AIHW, provides opportunities for CALD staff to connect with other CALD staff and advocates for CALD staff.

Photo of 5 members of the CALD network standing together
The CALD Committee at the launch of the CALD Network, 26 September 2019

In addition, we delivered cultural awareness training, which included face-to-face and e-learning programs designed to educate staff about the cultural significance of the traditional owners of the land in the Canberra region. The AIHW maintained its membership with the APS Commission’s Indigenous Workforce Strategy which provides access to a range of employment programs aimed at increasing the representation of Indigenous Australians.

The AIHW has a Reconciliation Action Plan and has appointed 3 members of the senior executive group to the roles of Disability Champion, Indigenous Champion and the Pride Network Champion, respectively. We also maintained our membership with the Australian Network on Disability. This membership assists us to become a disability- confident employer by providing access to programs and resources to support managers and staff in supporting employees with disability.

We continued to exceed the APS average for employment of women and were below average for employment of staff aged 50 and over, Indigenous staff and staff with disability. We hope that with our participation in initiatives such as the Indigenous Employment Strategy and the Australian Network on Disability, we will see improvements in these areas. Of our ongoing and non-ongoing APS staff at 30 June 2020:

  • 262 (69%) were women
  • 100 (26%) were aged 50 years or over
  • 72 (19%) identified as being from a non-English speaking background
  • 5 (1%) identified as having a disability
  • 3 (1%) identified as Indigenous.

In addition, 7% of our total staff identified as LGBTI+ in the 2019 Australian Public Service Employee Census.

Among our active staff, women comprise:

  • 68% of total active APS staff
  • 44% of substantive SES staff
  • 69% of EL staff.

Inclusive of contractors, women make up 63% of the AIHW and 29% of ELs are women.

Equal employment opportunities

Section 5 of the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987 (EEO Act) requires that the AIHW develop and implement an equal employment opportunity program. Under section 9 of the EEO Act, the AIHW must report annually on the development and implementation of its program.

Photo of Pooja Chowdhary, Kate Hafekost and Jaclyn Chan standing together at the International Women's Day breakfast
Ms Pooja Chowdhary, Ms Kate Hafekost and Ms Jaclyn Chan at the International Women’s Day Breakfast, Sydney, 6 March 2020

The AIHW adopts equal employment opportunity practices common across the APS, including access to paid parental leave and maternity leave, and recruitment opportunities specifically for Indigenous people. The AIHW accommodates reasonable requests for flexible working arrangements so that staff can meet family commitments, and seeks to remove obstacles that might discourage people with disability or whose first language is not English from seeking employment at the AIHW.

The AIHW signed an MoU with the APS Commission in May 2019 to participate in its Indigenous employment programs. Through this MoU, we continued our commitment to participate in a range of initiatives aimed to support the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy. These initiatives include the 3 Pathways programs, which support employment opportunities for interns, graduates and APS 5 to EL 2 candidates. In 2019–20, the AIHW participated in the Intern Program, to provide practical experience that may better prepare participants for future recruitment activities, including our graduate recruitment program. The AIHW hopes to be able to engage a number of staff through these programs.

The AIHW did not receive any ministerial directions about its performance obligations under the EEO Act.