Public sector employment and earnings

Latest release

Contains estimates of public sector employees and cash wages and salaries by level of government, state and industry

Reference period
2022-23 financial year

Key statistics

There were 2,430,400 public sector employees in the month of June 2023 comprising:

  • 350,300 employees in Commonwealth government (including defence force personnel);
  • 1,871,900 in state government; and
  • 208,200 in local government.

Total public sector cash wages and salaries in 2022-23 was $214,987.5 million.

New data source

Single touch payroll source

This is the first release of the Public Sector Employment and Earnings (PSEE). The PSEE estimates are compiled using Single Touch Payroll (STP) data sourced from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The PSEE replaces the Survey of Employment and Earnings (SEE), which was collected directly from businesses/organisations as a sampled survey. The new PSEE series starts with the 2021-22 financial year.

Although similar, there are some key differences between these two collections, which are summarised in Data source comparison, SEE & PSEE, below. In particular, the STP-based estimates include defence force personnel.


Although earnings estimates relate to the full twelve months of the financial year, employment estimates relate to the month of June in the given year. Given these differences, the ABS does not recommend using these components together to calculate average earnings.

Public sector employees and cash wages and salaries
 Employees June 2023 ('000)Cash wages and salaries 2022-23 ($m)
Commonwealth Government350.333,935.6
State Government1,871.9165,726.2
Local Government208.215,325.7
Total Public Sector2,430.4214,987.5


Public sector employees, level of government, states and territories ('000)
 June 2022June 2023
ACT96.533.5. .130.0105.433.6. .139.0

. . not applicable

States and territories

Public sector cash wages and salaries, level of government, states and territories ($m)
ACT9,333.63,147.5. .12,481.110,288.23,241.0. .13,529.2

. . not applicable


Public sector employees and cash wages and salaries, industry
 Employees '000Cash wages and salaries $m
Electricity, gas, water and waste services54.757.86,391.76,860.5
Transport, postal and warehousing77.176.67,517.17,986.9
Information media and telecommunications16.316.81,802.31,865.8
Financial and insurance services17.519.92,019.42,327.9
Rental, hiring and real estate services6.47.2538.4632.3
Professional, scientific and technical Services34.336.13,318.63,507.2
Public administration and safety798.6817.673,405.176,888.5
Education and training701.6737.550,031.753,803.2
Health care and social assistance599.4615.452,854.957,574.4
Arts and recreation services19.821.41,233.61,409.0
Other industries a.15.015.71,196.51,311.9
All industries2,348.42,430.4201,056.9214,987.5

a. Includes Agriculture, forestry and fishing, Mining, Manufacturing, Wholesale trade, Retail trade, Accommodation and food services, Administrative and support services and Other services.

Data downloads

Along with the change to a new data source, the time series spreadsheets in Public Sector Employment and Earnings will be released with a new format. This format standardises with other ABS collections. The new format may require changes to automated macros or similar programs that users may have in place that call on the previous file format.

Public sector, employees and cash wages and salaries

Data files

Data source comparison, SEE & PSEE

This section compares the previous directly collected SEE data with the new administrative PSEE for 2021-22.

The SEE data was directly collected from public sector businesses/organisations via a sampled survey, while the PSEE uses STP data sourced from the ATO.

The below tables highlight some of the conceptual similarities as well as the differences from using different data sources.

Conceptual similarities
ConceptBoth PSEE & SEE
Scope of SurveyAll Public Sector businesses/organisations on the ABS Frame
Conceptual Data outputsBased on Australian System of National Accounts 2008, and
Australian Conceptual Framework for Measures of Employee Remuneration
Statistical units approachWeighted estimation used
Cash Wages and SalariesRepresents full financial year
Data, processing and method differences
Data source and contributing unitsAll in-scope businesses/organisations reporting to the ATO through Single Touch PayrollDirect survey of a sample of businesses/organisations
Business Frame managementReporting weight adjustmentSample Frame Maintenance Procedures
Data processingData transformation required to prepare for quality assuranceReporting sample subject to Sampling and Non sampling error
Data distribution to units modelABN data received requires mapping to ABS units modelData reported at business level as requested by ABS
Department of DefenceIncludes all APS and ADF staff (split not available in STP data)Includes only APS staff (as previously requested), with ADF personnel excluded
Salary Sacrifice (component of cash wages and salaries)Modelled data, given limitations of STP Phase 1 dataReported by businesses/organisations as an individual item
EmploymentEmployees paid in month of JuneNumber of employees who received pay during the last pay period ending on or before 30 June

Further details explaining these points can be viewed on our Methodology page, under Data source comparison, SEE & PSEE.

Graphs comparing SEE data against PSEE for 2021-22

A range of graphs comparing the directly collected SEE data to the PSEE administrative data for employment for June 2022 and cash wages and salaries for the 2021-22 financial year are presented below.

Most of the difference between PSEE and SEE is accounted for by the broader scope of the Department of Defence in PSEE. A smaller contributor to the difference in employment is that PSEE captures the paid period for June compared to SEE, which captured employment for the last pay period on or before the 30 June.

Level of government, Comparison of PSEE to SEE, 2021-22

States and territories, Comparison of PSEE to SEE, 2021-22

Industries, Comparison of PSEE to SEE, 2021-22


For enquires about these and related statistics, contact the Customer Assistance Service via the ABS website Contact Us page. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6248.0.55.002.

Back to top of the page