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Workforce profile

The Department is made up of a diverse, highly skilled and committed workforce that is flexible and able to respond effectively to Government priorities. As at 30 June 2020, our workforce comprised of:

  • 13,281 ongoing and 727 non-ongoing staff, an overall decrease from 13,257 ongoing and 798 non-ongoing staff in 2018–19
  • staff located in every state and territory, and in 98 locations around the world
  • 277 staff who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 271 staff who identify as having a disability
  • 84 per cent of staff working full-time, 13 per cent part time and 3 per cent casual
  • 54 per cent female staff, and 46 per cent male staff
  • an average age of 44

For 2019–20, the voluntary separation rate of ongoing staff was 8.01 per cent, whilst the external recruitment rate was 6.87 per cent.

Further information on the make-up of our workforce is at APPENDIX D: WORKFORCE PROFILE.

Workforce planning

The Department continued to mature its workforce planning capabilities throughout 2019–20 by aligning internal initiatives with the recommendations from the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service and continuing to deliver on our People Strategy 2025.

The Department is investing in building internal workforce planning capability at both the strategic and operational levels via increased self-service access to workforce data and planning tools. This increase in autonomy will be supported by a centre of expertise to provide guidance and assistance to business areas where required.

People management and development

The Department continues to foster a high performance culture through enhanced people management and development. To ensure all staff can contribute to our mission and respond to technological advances and new ways of working, we have continued to invest in workforce planning, learning and development, leadership skills and the professionalisation of our workforce.

Key initiatives in 2019–20 included:

  • provisioning all staff with the capability to work remotely and expanding our network capacity to enable more staff to work remotely
  • conducting individual capability assessments for SES and EL employees and a selection of our APS6 employees
  • empowering managers with dashboard technology providing easier access to data on unscheduled absence and other workforce metrics
  • managing the development of EL and SES employees through the Talent Management Advisory Committee (TMAC)
  • improving staff visibility of and access to Deputy Secretaries and Deputy Commissioners, by having Deputies locate themselves in regional offices for a period of time through the year to engage directly with staff
    • This was impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions in Quarter 3 and 4 of 2019–20
  • virtual drop-in sessions hosted by the ABF Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners and Group Managers with teams across Australia as a way of keeping connected with frontline officers when travel restrictions came into place
  • strengthening work health and safety systems, training, procedures and reporting.

People strategy

The People Strategy 2025 articulates the Department’s vision for managing and developing its people. Our people remain critical to achieving our purpose. The strategy highlights how we will develop and foster our staff to be ready for the challenges ahead through a robust, performance orientated culture. The strategy articulates three key people priorities:

  • Our Capability – focusses on investing in our people by supporting leadership, talent and collaboration, ensuring we attract and retain the right people with the right skills, and providing all staff with an opportunity to grow and develop.
  • Our Culture – supports us in working together respectfully and collaboratively through a core set of values that foster professionalism, integrity, health and wellbeing, and inclusion.
  • Our Performance – includes ensuring our workforce is engaged and capable, with access to the support they need to achieve and maintain the highest standards.

Recognising operational leadership and capabilities, the ABF has an equivalent people strategy Realising our Full Potential.

Talent management

We continue to integrate the talent management framework, underpinned by a people capability framework and a career management toolkit, into the management and development of our staff, particularly at the executive and senior executive levels. Together these provide the guidance, tools and resources to support workforce performance, provide opportunities to enhance career growth and increase staff engagement.

Throughout 2019–20, we have invested in leadership capability by applying individual capability assessments for EL employees. We are progressively completing assessments on existing and new EL staff with a refreshed program to commence in 2020–21 that will align with the Future Ready Leadership Capability Framework. These assessments evaluate employees against our leadership capabilities and enable the staff involved to understand their strengths, potential and areas for development. This assists them to make better-informed career decisions.

These assessments form part of the information utilised by groups and divisions or TMACs where they are in operation, to support the identification and development of critical talent while building robust leadership pipelines.

Training and development

The Learning and Development Operating Model underpins the way we deliver training and development, and fosters a learning environment that supports the development of our workforce. Providing learning and development opportunities that blend experiential, collaborative and formal elements of learning support the Department’s goal of having the right people with the right skills, experience and attitude in the right roles. The Department provides staff with training in a range of core skills to continue to build our workforce capability required to meet strategic objectives.

Development opportunities are provided to staff in the areas of leadership, management and APS core skills through internally and externally facilitated courses.

Development opportunities are also provided to staff through:

  • study assistance
  • scholarships
  • online learning
  • mentoring
  • coaching.

In September 2019, the Department introduced a new streamlined mandatory training package to improve learning outcomes and ensure compliance against its legislative training obligations. Staff compliance at 30 June 2020 was 92.4 per cent, this was a 24.5 per cent improvement from the 2018–19 financial year.

As part of the COVID-19 emergency response, face-to-face non-vocational training was paused from the week beginning 16 March 2020 onwards. Staff instead increasingly leveraged our online learning platform, LinkedIn Learning, to support their transition to working from home as well as using it to build key skills and capabilities. LinkedIn Learning is accessible to staff outside of the Department’s network and can be accessed directly via secure log-in details from personal computers should this be necessary. During the year, 5813 staff completed internal non-vocational face-to-face training sessions and staff completed 4461 LinkedIn Learning courses. The majority of LinkedIn Learning courses were completed between 23 March and 19 April 2020 (89.6 per cent). Limited critical face-to-face vocational training was held during this period and was compliant with Department’s COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

In April 2020, Learning and Development Services launched two online sites to support staff transitioning to working from home. These sites provided staff with a range of curated learning and training resources (including LinkedIn, YouTube and other resources).

SES development strategy

The Department’s investment in and continuous development of our senior leaders is critical to achieving our vision and mission, and is guided by our Leadership Capability Framework. The SES TMAC provides advice and strategic direction on developing our SES cohort. The advisory committee’s decisions are informed by leadership capability assessments undertaken by each SES member.

The Department offers a range of internal professional development options such as stretch, exposure or acting opportunities, as well as targeted external opportunities for the SES aimed at developing their leadership capability. This may include, but is not limited to, secondments, provision of executive coaching services, attendance at courses or seminars, or participation in development programs provided by organisations such as the Australian Public Service Commission, the Australian and New Zealand School of Government, the Australian Institute of Police Management, and the National Security College.

Workforce diversity

The Department supports our staff by removing employment-related disadvantage and barriers to participation. We drive innovation, performance and productivity by empowering our diverse workforce to utilise the unique skills, ideas, perspectives and qualities that they contribute every day. The Department’s Statement of Commitment: Workplace equality, diversity and inclusion reinforces our commitment to building and valuing a diverse workforce. This is the overarching statement which all our action plans, relating to diversity and inclusion, are derived from.

The Department offers diversity and inclusion training to staff through our induction, mandatory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness online training, and Disability Awareness training. Diversity themes and principles are also embedded in other learning and development programs.

In 2019–20, 25 staff participated in the pilot Indigenous Leadership training delivered by National Indigenous Training Employment Solutions, a 100 per cent Aboriginal owned and operated business. Training such as this, assists in developing and retaining our Indigenous staff, whilst aligning to initiatives in the Reconciliation Action Plan.

The Department monitors and track the progress of diversity and inclusion initiatives against action plans, which align to the following Australian Government strategies:

  • Gender Equality Action Plan 2017–20
  • Disability Action Plan 2016–2020
  • Reconciliation Action Plan 2019–22
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI+) Action Plan 2019–22.

Additionally, our Executive Dashboard and the Diversity and Inclusion Dashboard track associated trends, including network membership, gender and numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.

Organisation membership

The Department is affiliated with organisations that support and promote diversity and inclusion workplace practices such as:

  • Australian Network on Disability
  • JobAccess
  • Pride in Diversity
  • National Indigenous Training Employment Solutions
  • Australian Human Resource Institute.

Diversity networks

The Department has internal staff and ally networks to ensure connectedness with those who identify with and support diversity. These include the:

  • Indigenous Staff Support Network and online forum
  • Focus on Ability Network and online forum
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Network and online forum
  • Staff Advancing Gender Equality Network and online forum
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Network and online forum.

Disability reporting mechanisms

The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 is Australia’s overarching framework for disability reform. It acts to ensure the principles underpinning the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are incorporated into Australia’s policies and programs that affect people with disability, their families and carers.

Disability reporting is included in the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available on the Australian Public Service Commission’s website.1

Targeted diversity recruitment

The Department continues to support the increased recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and people with disability through use of affirmative recruitment measures under the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016. Additional actions include participating in the:

  • Indigenous Apprenticeships Program
  • Indigenous Australian Government Development Program
  • APSC Indigenous Graduate Pathway.

The Department uses the RecruitAbility scheme for most advertised vacancies. RecruitAbility is an affirmative measure that allows applicants with disability to progress to the next stage in a selection process if they have been assessed as meeting the minimum requirements of a job.

Days of significance

The Department recognises and celebrates key diversity and inclusion events. Key examples of events celebrated in 2019–20 included:

  • NAIDOC Week
  • National Reconciliation Week
  • International Women’s Day
  • International Men’s Day
  • Harmony Day
  • Wear It Purple Day
  • National Carers Week
  • Pride Month
  • International Day for the Eradication of Violence against Women
  • International Day of People with Disability.

We recognise Days of Significance through hosting and providing access to activities and events nationally. To ensure maximum impact and inclusiveness staff are able to access major events through our livestreaming capability.

Employee entitlements

Workplace Determination

On 8 February 2019, the Fair Work Commission made the Department of Home Affairs Workplace Determination 2019 (the WD). Terms and conditions of employment under the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 and determinations made under section 24 of the Public Service Act 1999 ceased to apply.

The WD provides a single set of employment terms and conditions for all non-SES employees of the Department and the ABF.

Table 13: Employment arrangements of SES and non-SES employees 2019–20




Department of Home Affairs Workplace Determination 2019 (the WD)



Sec 24(1) Adjustment








Salary ranges

Appendix E in this report provides a breakdown of salary ranges within each level as prescribed by the WD and the Department of Home Affairs Determination 2019/01 Entry Level Programmes (Advancement on Completion).

Appendix E lists the Department’s salary range by classification level. Classifications such as Medical Officers, Public Affairs Officers and Legal Officers have been reported under the relevant APS classification in accordance with the Public Service Classification Rules 2000. While most employees receive a salary that is within the salary ranges set by the WD, there are exceptions where higher salaries have been paid as a result of Machinery of Government changes, whereby employees from previous departments were on higher salaries before moving to the Department of Home Affairs.

Table 14: Salary ranges by classification level 2019–20

Minimum Salary

Maximum Salary










EL 2



EL 1
























Minimum/Maximum range



Key management personnel

Remuneration paid to Key Management Personnel (KMP) is set out in Appendix E. The remuneration arrangements of the Secretary and the ABF Commissioner are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal and are available on its website.2

Senior executive service

All SES employees have terms and conditions of employment that are set out in a comprehensive determination made by the Secretary under subsection 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. SES salary ranges (minima, maxima and intermediate points) are reviewed annually by the Secretary having regard to:

  • the APS Executive Remuneration Management Policy (issued and amended from time to time by the APS Commissioner) which sets out arrangements for the management of executive remuneration, including an approval process for remuneration proposals above a notional amount
  • the Australian Government Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 which provides a framework for agencies to implement terms and conditions of employment that are affordable and support modern and agile public sector workplaces, including limitations on the quantum of general remuneration increases for SES and non SES employees (capped at an average of 2 per cent per annum during the 2018–19 financial year)
  • an assessment of relativities with other APS Agencies as indicated in the annual APS Remuneration Report produced by the APSC and released in June each year.

There was a 2 per cent general remuneration increase for substantive SES officers in the Department and the ABF which commenced on 14 November 2019. This was consistent with the average annual remuneration increase permitted under the Australian Government Workplace Bargaining Policy.

Increases in remuneration for individual SES officers can occur in a range of circumstances, including:

  • advancement within the applicable salary range as an outcome of annual performance assessment. Advancement is contingent on an assessment rating of at least ‘fully effective’ with regards to role size and remuneration relative to other SES at the same classification
  • at any time, as determined by the Secretary after considering factors, including but not limited to span of control, complexity, workload demand, pace of the role, mandatory qualification or experience requirements and comparability of remuneration for other similar roles (within the Department, the APS or the community at large).

In making remuneration decisions, the Secretary has regard to advice and recommendations from the Department’s TMAC which is chaired by the Secretary and is comprised of the ABF Commissioner and group heads from across the Department and the ABF. TMAC considers and assesses relativities across the Department’s SES cohort for both performance and remuneration.

The Department does not apply ‘at risk pay’ (for example, in the form of bonuses). A summary of remuneration components applied by the Department is at APPENDIX E: SALARY AND CLASSIFICATION RATES.

Other highly paid staff

Remuneration paid to other highly paid staff who are neither KMP nor senior executives is set out in APPENDIX E: SALARY AND CLASSIFICATION RATES.

The majority of staff within this cohort (approximately 68 per cent) are posted to overseas locations. In these cases, staff are afforded additional conditions of service in the form of allowances and payments to maintain a standard of living similar to that in Australia, and for working in an environment that can be challenging due to a range of factors. These provisions are set out in the Department’s Overseas Conditions of Service Policy. Employees posted overseas may reside in Commonwealth leased or owned residences at the expense of the Department and the benefit value is not received by the individual as direct remuneration. Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) amounts associated with overseas allowances and payments are borne by the Department and are recorded against the individual as ‘Other Benefits and Allowances’.

Sea-going marine staff represent approximately 23 per cent of this cohort. Terms and conditions of employment for seagoing marine staff are set out in the WD.

The remaining staff in this cohort (9 per cent) are represented by non-SES executive level staff employed in senior director roles whereby additional remuneration is provided through individual flexibility arrangements

Individual flexibility arrangements and workplace agreements

Table 15 – departmental staff on individual section 24(1) determinations or individual flexibility arrangements as at 30 June 2020.


Employees on s.24(1)

Employees on individual flexibility arrangements


















EL 1




EL 2












1 Only substantive SES have a section 24(1) determination.

Performance pay

Performance pay is not available to staff under Department of Home Affairs Workplace Determination 2019. Performance pay is also not available to SES staff or non-SES seagoing marine unit staff.

Non-salary benefits

The Department and the ABF offer staff a number of additional benefits that are not included under the provisions of the WD, including:

  • annual influenza immunisation
  • Fit&Well Program, to improve the general health and wellbeing across the workforce, ensure safe staff access to departmental gym facilities, and prepare and support ABF staff in completing fitness requirements
  • mentoring and coaching programs
  • in-house capability development programs
  • a confidential employee assistance program for employees and their immediate families
  • access to flexible working arrangements.


  1. www.apsc.gov.au
  2. www.remtribunal.gov.au