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Demographic Snapshot of the Federal Public Service, 2010

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This snapshot presents key demographics for the federal public service, comparing the current workforce to that from previous years (e.g. 1983).

The federal public service consists of two population segments: the core public administration and separate agencies.

  • The term “core public administration” refers to more than 80 departments and agencies named in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act, all of which are employed by the Treasury Board.
  • The term “separate agencies” refers to those listed in Schedule V of the Act. Separate agencies conduct their own negotiations or set their own classification and compensation levels for their employees.

The demographic information below supplements Annex A of the Clerk of the Privy Council’s Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada: Eighteenth Annual Report.

The data is current as of March 31, 2010, unless otherwise indicated.

Table of Contents

Introduction

This document presents key demographics for the federal public service (PS), See footnote 1 in keeping with information provided in previous Annual Reports to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada. At times, current information is compared to other years. See footnote 2 Part I covers the entire federal public service, while Part II focuses on executives.

Demographic Profile of the Public Service of Canada
March 31, 2010

  • 283,000 employees (251,000 in 1983)
  • 55.2% women (42% in 1983)
  • 43.8% of executives are women (less than 5% in 1983)
  • 59.4% of employees in the regions and 40.6% in the National Capital Region
  • 86.2% indeterminate employees; 9.1% term employees; 4.8% casuals and students
  • 71.0% declare English their first official language; 29.0% declare French
  • Average age 43.9 years (39 in 1983)
  • Average age of executives 50.1 years (48.7 in 1983)
  • Public service represents 0.83% of the Canadian population (1% in 1983)

Part I – Demographic Profile of the Public Service

1. Context – Relative Size and Spending

Between 1983 and 2010, the population of Canada grew from 25.4 million to 34.0 million (33.9%), while the number of federal public servants increased from 251,000 to 283,000 (12.7%). The Public Service currently comprises 0.83% of the Canadian population. This is still well below the ratios from the 1980s and early 1990s, which were very close to one percent.

During this same period, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 99.0% and real federal program spending increased by 60.9% (in constant dollars). To compare, real program spending last year was 38.4% higher than in 1983. As evident in Figure 1, the recession led to a decline in real GDP over the last year. The significant increase in real program spending is due to stimulus measures under the Economic Action Plan.

Figure 1: Trends in the Economy, Population, Federal Program Spending and the Size of the Federal Public Service, 1983-84 to 2009-10

Figure 1: Trends in the Economy, Population, Federal Program Spending and the Size of the Federal Public Service, 1983-84 to 2009-10

Sources: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat; Statistics Canada; Fiscal Reference Tables (Department of Finance).

Note: Program expenses include transfers and were deflated using the Consumer Price Index.

Figure 1: Trends in the Economy, Population, Federal Program Spending and the Size of the Federal Public Service, 1983-84 to 2009-10

2. Public Service Diversity

a) Gender

In 2010, 55.2% of public servants were women, a significant increase since 1983, when they comprised only 41.8% of the workforce. The proportion of male public servants began decreasing at the turn of the millennium.

Figure 2: Proportion of Men and Women in the Public Service - Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Figure 2: Proportion of Men and Women in the Public Service - Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Note: Includes all tenures. Figures do not include employees on Leave Without Pay.

Figure 2: Proportion of Men and Women in the Public Service - Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Current figures reflect the availability of women in the labour market and their levels of educational attainment. Although 10.4 percentage points higher than for men in 2010, the representation of women was only 2.3 percentage points above their workforce availability, the same as in 2009 (see Figure 3).

b) Employment Equity Groups

Figure 3 shows that there have been modest increases in the representation levels of the four designated employment equity (EE) groups within the Public Service since 2006. While the representation rates for women, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities remained the same as for the previous year, these groups continue to exceed their workforce availability (WFA). The representation of visible minorities in the Public Service increased from 11.1% to 11.6% over the past year, but still remains below their WFA of 13.0%.

Figure 3: Representation of Employment Equity Groups in the Federal Public Service, 2006 to 2010, with Estimated Workforce Availability Based on the 2006 Census

Figure 3: Representation of Employment Equity Groups in the Federal Public Service, 2006 to 2010, with Estimated Workforce Availability Based on the 2006 Census

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Population: Indeterminate population and term population of three months or more in the core public administration and employees of separate employers. Some small separate employers were not included because of missing information. Excludes employees on Leave Without Pay.

Notes: *Workforce availability estimates for the federal public service are based on the 2006 Census.

The source of the representation data is the CPA Employment Equity Database, which is populated with self identification information provided by employees, plus the data from separate agency reports to Parliament.

The figures are preliminary. Final data for just the core public administration will be published in the next Report to Parliament on Employment Equity in the Public Service of Canada, as required under subsection 21(1) of the Employment Equity Act.

Figure 3: Representation of Employment Equity Groups in the Federal Public Service, 2006 to 2010, with Estimated Workforce Availability Based on the 2006 Census

Hiring for indeterminate and term positions (over three months) in Figure 4, shows increased representativeness of the designated EE groups. The level of new hires of persons with disabilities remains below current workforce availability.

Figure 4: Appointments to indeterminate and specified term positions greater than three months by Employment Equity Group relative to their 2006 workforce availability (WFA)

Figure 4: Appointments to indeterminate and specified term positions greater than three months by Employment Equity Group relative to their 2006 workforce availability (WFA)

Source: Public Service Commission (PSC), 2009-2010 Annual Report, Table 9, p. 54 - PSC hiring and staffing activities files and the Public Service Resourcing System (PSRS).

Population: Indeterminate population and term population of three months or more in organizations that fall under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA).

Notes: * The 2006 workforce availability (WFA) for the Public Service was provided by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat. WFA estimates are based on the 2006 Census.

For appointments to the Public Service, the percentages for three employment equity groups are based on applicants who applied and self-declared through the PSRS in the preceding two years, and where a match was found in the PSC's appointment file as of March 31, 2010.

The figures for women appointed to the Public Service are extracted from the PSC hiring and staffing activities files, which are based on the Public Works and Government Services Canada pay system.

These figures exclude specified term appointments of less than three months.

Figure 4: Appointments to indeterminate and specified term positions greater than three months by Employment Equity Group relative to their 2006 workforce availability (WFA)

c) Language

As shown in Figure 5, the proportions of public servants identifying either English or French as their first official language (OL) have remained relatively stable since 1983. For 2010, French is identified as the first official language of 29.0% of public servants. English is identified by 71.0% of employees.

Figure 5: Official Languages Profile of the Public Service - Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Figure 5: Official Languages Profile of the Public Service - Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Note: Includes all tenures. Figures do not include employees on Leave Without Pay.

Figure 5: Official Languages Profile of the Public Service - Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

3. Age Profile of the Public Service

In Figure 6, the age distribution of public servants is compared between the years 2005 and 2010. Over this five year period, the percentages of employees in the five age bands for those younger than 40 years of age have all increased. The percentages of employees have decreased in all three bands marking the age range of 40‑54 years. For those over 55, the percentages of employees in the final three age bands have all increased. A transition between generations is becoming evident, attributable to past recruitment efforts and continuing retirements.

Since 2007, the average age of public servants has been slowly decreasing (going from 44.3 to 43.9 years in both 2009 and 2010).

Figure 6: Federal Public Service Population by Age Bands for 2005 and 2010

Figure 6: Federal Public Service Population by Age Bands for 2005 and 2010

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Note: Includes all tenures, active employees only.

Figure 6: Federal Public Service Population by Age Bands for 2005 and 2010

Figure 7 shows the distribution of public servants by age for selected years between 1983 and 2010. The baby boom generation (bars marked by forward slashes) can be seen moving through the distribution. In 2010, this generation occupied the 45‑54 and 55-64 age ranges. Increases in the two lowest age bands show the effect of new generations joining the Public Service. As the table below shows, our workforce is multigenerational.

Figure 7: Distribution of Public Service Employees by Age - Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Figure 7: Distribution of Public Service Employees by Age - Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Notes: Includes all tenures. Figures do not include employees on Leave Without Pay.

Each vertical bar represents two years of age. Age bands are distinguished by different colours.

  1983 1988 1993 1998 2003 2010
Traditionalists 38 or more 43 or more 48 or more 53 or more 58 or more 65 or more
Baby Boomers 37 or less 22‑42 27‑47 32‑52 37‑57 44‑64
Generation X 21 or less 26 or less 22‑31 27‑36 34‑43
Generation Y 21 or less 26 or less 33 or less

Figure 7: Distribution of Public Service Employees by Age - Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

4. Retirements

According to Figure 8, the retirement rate has declined slightly between 2007‑08 and 2009‑10 (from 3.4% to 3.1%), following a period of gradual increase. There were more than 8,000 retirements in the Public Service during 2009‑10.

The percentage of public servants eligible to retire as of March 31, 2010 was 11.7%. The actual retirement rate amongst those employees eligible to retire in the past year was 22.1%.

Current retirees were recruited at a young age and had a long career in the Public Service. In 2009‑10, 59% of retired employees had 30 or more pensionable years of service, comparing to only 28% in 1982‑83.

Figure 8: Historic and Projected Retirement Rates for Federal Public Servants 2005-06 to 2014-15

Figure 8: Historic and Projected Retirement Rates for Federal Public Servants 2005-06 to 2014-15

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Population: Indeterminate federal public servants, including employees who retire while on Leave Without Pay.

Note: Projected retirement rates assume a stable population. If the overall population increases or decreases in the future, the rate will be affected.

Figure 8: Historic and Projected Retirement Rates for Federal Public Servants 2005-06 to 2014-15

5. Public Service Years of Experience

Figure 9 shows the experience levels of the population of public servants over time, based on four ranges (bands) of years of experience. Compared to last year (2009), there has been a one percentage point increase in the proportions of employees with 0‑4 and 5‑14 years of experience, and a one percentage point decrease for those with 15‑24 years of experience. The proportion of employees with over 25 years of experience remained the same, compared to last year. The graph displays some projections on experience levels up to 2015.

Figure 9: Years of Experience Bands for Indeterminate Federal Public Servants from 1983 to 2015

Figure 9: Years of Experience Bands for Indeterminate Federal Public Servants from 1983 to 2015

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Note: The forecasted distribution is based on the indeterminate stable population as of March 31, 2010 (i.e., the current cohort). This population also includes employees on Leave Without Pay.

Figure 9: Years of Experience Bands for Indeterminate Federal Public Servants from 1983 to 2015

6. A Knowledge-Intensive Workforce

Since 1983, employees undertaking more "knowledge‑intensive" work comprise an ever‑increasing share of the employee population in the core public administration. This transformation has been in response to an increasingly demanding environment, new challenges, and technological advances over this period.

As evident in Figure 10, the share of employees in the five most knowledge‑intensive occupational groups (AS, PM, CS, EC and EX) have increased or remained the same compared to the previous year. In 2010, these occupational groups represent 41.9% of the workforce in the core public administration.

Figure 10: Share of Key Occupations in the Core Public Administration Population Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Figure 10: Share of Key Occupations in the Core Public Administration Population Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Notes: Data based on core public administration only. This includes all tenures and excludes employees on Leave Without Pay.

To provide a true picture of growth and share of occupations historically, this analysis excludes the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CRA was a part of the core public administration until 1999, after which it became a separate employer. The CBSA was created in 2003 as part of the core public administration; a majority of its employees were moved from the CRA.

The occupational groups are: Administrative Services (AS); Programme Administration (PM); Computer Systems (CS); Economics & Social Science Services (EC); and Executive (EX)

Please note that the data for 2010 presented in this figure reflects the conversion of the Economics, Sociology & Statistics (ES) occupational group to the EC occupational group. The official conversion took place on June 22, 2009. For consistency, historical EC numbers combine ES and SI occupational groups together.

Figure 10: Share of Key Occupations in the Core Public Administration Population Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Part II – Demographic Profile of Executives

This section provides demographic information for the executive cadre, as well as for employees occupying the two levels immediately below (EX minus 1 and EX minus 2) See footnote 3. Normally in the roles of managers and/or supervisors, employees at these levels can become eligible for promotion into leadership roles in the executive cadre. These levels are considered an essential component of succession planning for the executive ranks.

1. Population Size of the Executive Group

There were 6,784 executives in the Public Service as of March 31, 2010, representing 2.4% of the workforce. This is a 4.4% increase from the previous year (2009).

There were 12,078 public servants at the EX minus 1 level in the core public administration (an increase of 649 from last year) and 18,108 at the EX minus 2 level (an increase of 673).

2. Executive Diversity

a) Employment Equity Groups among CPA Executives

Figure 11 compares the representation levels in 2000 with levels in 2010 for all four employment equity groups.

Figure 11: Representation of Equity Groups among CPA Executives in 2000 and 2010, with Estimated Workforce Availability Based on the 2006 Census

Figure 11: Representation of Equity Groups among CPA Executives in 2000 and 2010, with Estimated Workforce Availability Based on the 2006 Census

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Population: Data for the core public administration (departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer), including indeterminate employees and terms of three months or more. Excludes employees on Leave Without Pay.

Figure 11: Representation of Equity Groups among CPA Executives in 2000 and 2010, with Estimated Workforce Availability Based on the 2006 Census

The proportion of women executives has risen significantly since 1983, with the number almost tripling since 1998.

In 2010, the representation of women in the executive group reached 44.1%. This is 1.1 percentage points higher than last year, 15.7 percentage points above the representation level ten years earlier, and 1.4 percentage points below the workforce availability of 45.5%.

Focusing on the EX minus 1 level, the representation of women in 2010 was 37.4% compared to a workforce availability of 39.3% (a difference of 2.2 percentage points). However, at the EX minus 2 level, representation of women was higher and also above workforce availability (46.7% versus a workforce availability of 44.7%).

Representation at the executive level improved between 2000 and 2010 for the three other employment equity groups, as well. The increase was from 1.9% to 3.7% for Aboriginal persons, from 2.9% to 5.7% for persons with disabilities (a slight reduction from last year) and from 3.1% to 7.3% for visible minority employees.

At the EX minus 1 level, representation is above workforce availability for Aboriginal peoples (2.4% versus 1.5%) and for persons with disabilities (5.1% versus 4.5%). The representation of visible minorities at this level is 1.8 percentage points below workforce availability (11.5% versus 13.3%).

These results are similar to those found at the EX minus 2 level:  Aboriginal peoples (3.6% versus a workforce availability of 2.1%); persons with disabilities (5.5% versus 4.0%); and visible minorities (12.1% versus 12.6%).

At both levels below the executive, representation rates for all four designated groups have improved significantly compared to ten years ago.

b) Language of Executives

Figure 12 shows that between 1983 and 2010, French has been identified by a growing percentage of executives as their first official language (increasing from 20.4% to 30.0%, the same level as last year). The current ratio in the executive cadre reflects that in the wider Public Service (71% identifying English vs. 29.0% identifying French).

In 2010, French was the first official language of 28.5% of public servants at the EX minus 1 level and 31.1% at the EX minus 2 level. As for executives, the percentages identifying French have been increasing since 1983.

Figure 12: Proportion of Public Service Executives by First Official Language-Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Figure 12: Proportion of Public Service Executives by First Official Language-Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Population: Includes all Public Service executives, specifically, core public administration executives and their equivalents in separate agencies (such as EC and MG classifications) in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual) and does not include executives on Leave Without Pay.

Figure 12: Proportion of Public Service Executives by First Official Language-Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

3. Age of Executives

The age distributions of executives for 2005 and 2010 are compared in Figure 13. The proportion of executives under 50 years of age increased by 5.6 percentage points (from 41.1% in 2005 to 46.7% in 2010). In 2009, the percentage was 45.3%. The proportion of executives over 50 during this period decreased from 58.9% in 2005 to 53.3% in 2010 (compared to 54.8% in 2009). The percentages of employees have decreased in the two age bands marking the age range of 50-59 years (from 53.1% in 2005 to 46.5% in 2010). This is somewhat offset by the increasing percentages of employees in the final two age bands (for those over 60).

The average age of executives decreased between 2005 and 2010 (from 50.8 years to 50.1 years in 2010). This reduction in average age is reflected at both the EX minus 1 level (from 49.1 to 48.4 years) and the EX minus 2 level (from 46.1 to 45.7 years).

Figure 13: Federal Public Service Executive Population Distribution by Age Bands for 2005 and 2010

Figure 13: Federal Public Service Executive Population Distribution by Age Bands for 2005 and 2010

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Population: Includes all Public Service executives in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual) and does not include executives on Leave Without Pay.

Figure 13: Federal Public Service Executive Population Distribution by Age Bands for 2005 and 2010

Figure 14 shows that, since 2003, there has been relative stability in the average age of executives at both the EX‑1 to EX‑3 levels and the EX‑4 to EX‑5 levels.

Figure 14: Average Age of Public Service Executives and Assistant Deputy Ministers Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Figure 14: Average Age of Public Service Executives and Assistant Deputy Ministers Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Population: Includes all Public Service executives in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual) and does not include executives on Leave Without Pay.

Figure 14: Average Age of Public Service Executives and Assistant Deputy Ministers Selected Years, 1983 to 2010

In 2010, the average age of executives was 1.7 years higher than the average for public servants at the EX minus 1 level (48.4 years versus 50.1 years), which, in turn, was 2.7 years higher than the average at the EX minus 2 level (48.4 years versus 45.7 years).

The average ages in 2010 for the various employee populations described in this document are summarized below:

Public Service: 43.9 years
Executives: 50.1 years
EX-01 to EX-03: 49.9 years
EX-04 to EX-05: 53.5 years
EX minus 1: 48.4 years
EX minus 2: 45.7 years


Return to footnote reference 1 The "Public Service" refers to the core public administration (departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer) and separate employers (principally the Canada Revenue Agency, Parks Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the National Research Council Canada), as named in Schedule I, IV and V to the Financial Administration Act.

Return to footnote reference 2 The current workforce is compared primarily to that from 1983, the first year for which we have complete data. Other comparison years are used, either due to data limitations or to avoid excessive detail in the graphics.

Return to footnote reference 3 Data for the EX Minus 1 and EX Minus 2 levels in the core public administration was provided for the first time in the demographic annex of the Seventeenth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada. Since then, the methodology for defining the EX Minus 1 and EX Minus 2 levels has evolved and improved. Comparisons to data for these levels from last year apply the latest definitions.

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