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Demographic Snapshot of the Federal Public Service, 2011

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 employers.

  • 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 employers" refers to those listed in Schedule V of the Act. Separate employers 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: Nineteenth Annual Report.

The data is current as of March 31, 2011, unless otherwise indicated.

Table of Contents

Introduction

This document presents key demographics for the Federal Public Service (FPS),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.2 Part I covers the entire Federal Public Service, while Part II focuses on executives.

Demographic Profile of the Federal Public Service of Canada March 31, 2011

  • 282,352 employees (250,882 in 1983)
  • 55.2% women (42% in 1983)
  • 44.9% of executives are women (less than 5% in 1983)
  • 58.8% of employees in the regions and 41.2% in the National Capital Region
  • 86.8% indeterminate employees; 8.4% term employees; 4.8% casuals and students
  • 70.8% declare English their first official language; 29.2% declare French
  • Average age 44.1 years (39.0 in 1983)
  • Average age of executives 50.0 years (48.7 in 1983)
  • Federal Public Service represents 0.82% of the Canadian population (1% in 1983)

Part I – Demographic Profile of the Federal Public Service

1. Context – Relative Size and Spending

Between 1983 and 2011, the population of Canada grew from 25.4 million to 34.0 million (34.1%),3 while the number of federal public servants increased from 250,882 to 282,352 (12.5%). The Federal Public Service currently comprises 0.82% 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 105% and real federal program spending increased by 54.7% (in constant dollars). As evident in Figure 1, there has been an increase in real GDP and a decrease in federal program spending over the last year.

Figure 1: Trends in the Economy, Population, Federal Program Spending and the Size of the Federal Public Service, 1983-84 to 2010-11

Figure 1: Trends in the Economy, Population, Federal Program Spending and the Size of the Federal Public Service, 1983-84 to 2010-11

Figure 1: Trends in the Economy, Population, Federal Program Spending and the Size of the Federal Public Service, 1983-84 to 2010-11 - Text Version

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

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

2. Federal Public Service Diversity

a) Gender

In 2011, 55.2% of federal public servants were women, a significant increase since 1983, when they comprised only 41.8% of the workforce.

Figure 2: Proportion of Men and Women in the Federal Public Service (FPS) - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 2: Proportion of Men and Women in the Federal Public Service (FPS) - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 2: Proportion of Men and Women in the Federal Public Service (FPS) - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011 - Text Version

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

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

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 2011, the representation of women was only 2.5 percentage points above their workforce availability (See Figure 3).

b) Employment Equity Designated Groups

Figure 3 shows that there have been modest increases in the representation levels of the four employment equity (EE) designated groups within the Federal Public Service since 2006. While the representation rates for women, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities remained the same or slightly higher as for the previous year, these groups continue to exceed their workforce availability (WFA). The representation of visible minority employees in the Federal Public Service increased from 11.6% to 12.6% over the past year, but still remains below their workforce availability of 13.0%.

Figure 3: Representation of Employment Equity Designated Groups in the Federal Public Service, 2006 to 2011, with Estimated Workforce Availability (WFA) Based on the 2006 Census

Figure 3: Representation of Employment Equity Designated Groups in the Federal Public Service, 2006 to 2011

Figure 3: Representation of Employment Equity Designated Groups in the Federal Public Service, 2006 to 2011, with Estimated Workforce Availability (WFA) Based on the 2006 Census - Text Version

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

Population: Indeterminate population and term population of three months or more, excluding employees on Leave Without Pay, in the Core Public Administration (CPA) and employees of separate employers. Some small separate employers were not included because of missing information.

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 Data Bank, which is populated with self-identification information provided by employees, plus the data from separate employer reports to Parliament.

Hiring for indeterminate and term positions (three months or more) in Figure 4, shows that the level of new hires for all employment equity designated groups is still above the current workforce availability except for persons with disabilities, which remains below current workforce availability.

Figure 4: Appointments to the Core Public Administration to Indeterminate and Specified Term Positions of Three Months or More by Employment Equity Group, 2008-2009 to 2010-2011

Figure 4: Appointments to the Core Public Administration to Indeterminate and Specified Term Positions of Three Months or More

Figure 4: Appointments to the Core Public Administration to Indeterminate and Specified Term Positions of Three Months or More by Employment Equity Group, 2008-2009 to 2010-2011 - Text Version

Source: Public Service Commission (PSC), 2010-2011 Annual Report, Table 11, p. 48 - 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 the Public Service. In the PSC context, the "Public Service" is approximately equivalent to the Core Public Administration.

Notes: The 2006 workforce availability for the Public Service was provided by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat. Workforce availability estimates are based on the 2006 Census and are for the Core Public Administration only.

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 hiring and staffing activities files covering the current fiscal year.

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 and appointments to separate employers.

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 2011, French is identified as the first official language of 29.2% of federal public servants, and English is identified by 70.8% of employees.

Figure 5: Official Languages (OL) Profile of the Federal Public Service (FPS) - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 5: Official Languages (OL) Profile of the Federal Public Service (FPS) - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 5: Official Languages (OL) Profile of the Federal Public Service (FPS) - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011 - Text Version

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

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

3. Age Profile of the Federal Public Service

In Figure 6, the age distribution of federal public servants is compared between the years 2006 and 2011. 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 federal public servants has decreased slightly (going from 44.3 to 44.1 years in 2011).

Figure 6: Federal Public Service Population by Age Bands for 2006 and 2011

Figure 6: Federal Public Service Population by Age Bands for 2006 and 2011

Figure 6: Federal Public Service Population by Age Bands for 2006 and 2011 - Text Version

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 7 shows the distribution of federal public servants by age for selected years between 1983 and 2011. The baby boomer generation (bars marked by forward slashes) can be seen moving through the age bands. In 2011, this generation occupied the 45-54 and 55-64 age bands. Increases in the two lowest age bands show the effect of new generations joining the Federal Public Service. As the table below shows, our workforce is multigenerational.

Figure 7: Distribution of Federal Public Service Employees by Age - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 7: Distribution of Federal Public Service Employees by Age - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 7: Distribution of Federal Public Service Employees by Age - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011 - Text Version

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.

Multigenerational Workforce of the Public Service of Canada – Selected Years, 1983 to 2011
  1983 1988 1993 1998 2003 2011
Traditionalists 38 or more 43 or more 48 or more 53 or more 58 or more 66 or more
Baby Boomers 37 or less 22-42 27-47 32-52 37-57 45-65
Generation X N/A 21 or less 26 or less 22-31 27-36 35-44
Generation Y N/A N/A N/A 21 or less 26 or less 34 or less

4. Retirements

As shown in Figure 8, the retirement rate has declined slightly between 2007-08 and 2009-10 (from 3.4% to 3.1%), followed by a gradual increase in 2010-11 (3.3%). There were more than 8,500 retirements in the Federal Public Service during 2010-11.

The percentage of public servants eligible to retire as of March 31, 2011 was 8.9%, up from 8.6% in March 31, 2010. Current retirees were recruited at a young age and had a long career in the Federal Public Service. In 2010-11, 60.0% of retired employees had 30 or more pensionable years of service, compared to only 28.0% in 1982-83.

Figure 8: Historical and Projected Retirement Rates for Federal Public Servants 2006-07 to 2015-16

Figure 8: Historical and Projected Retirement Rates for Federal Public Servants 2006-07 to 2015-16

Figure 8: Historical and Projected Retirement Rates for Federal Public Servants 2006-07 to 2015-16 - Text Version

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.

5. Federal Public Service Years of Experience

Figure 9 shows the experience levels of the population of federal public servants over time, based on four ranges (bands) of years of experience. Compared to last year (2010), there has been about two percentage points increase in the proportions of employees with 0-14 years of experience, and approximately two percentage points decrease for those with 15 and over years of experience. The graph displays some projections on experience levels up to 2016.

Figure 9: Years of Experience Bands for Indeterminate Federal Public Servants from 1983 to 2016

Figure 9: Years of Experience Bands for Indeterminate Federal Public Servants from 1983 to 2016

Figure 9: Years of Experience Bands for Indeterminate Federal Public Servants from 1983 to 2016 - Text Version

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, 2011 (i.e. the current cohort). This population also includes employees on Leave Without Pay.

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 largest knowledge-intensive occupational groups (Administrative Services (AS); Programme Administration (PM); Computer Systems (CS); Economics & Social Science Services (EC); and Executive (EX)) have increased or remained the same compared to the previous year. In 2011, these occupational groups represent 42.3% of the workforce in the Core Public Administration.

Figure 10: Share of Key Occupations in the Core Public Administration (CPA) Population – Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 10: Share of Key Occupations in the Core Public Administration (CPA) Population - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 10: Share of Key Occupations in the Core Public Administration (CPA) Population – Selected Years, 1983 to 2011 - Text Version

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 transferred 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 2011 presented in this figure reflects the conversion of the Economics, Sociology & Statistics (ES) and the Social Science Support (SI) occupational groups 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.

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).4 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 6,966 executives in the Federal Public Service as of March 31, 2011, representing 2.5% of the workforce. This is a 2.7% increase from the previous year (2010).

There were 12,397 federal public servants at the EX minus 1 level in the Core Public Administration (an increase of 319 from last year) and 18,702 at the EX minus 2 level (an increase of 594).

2. Executive Diversity

a) Employment Equity Designated Groups among Core Public Administration Executives

Figure 11 compares the representation levels in 2001 with levels in 2011 for all four employment equity groups.

Figure 11: Representation of Employment Equity (EE) Designated Groups among Core Public Administration Executives in 2001 and 2011, with Estimated Workforce Availability (WFA) Based on the 2006 Census

Figure 11: Representation of Employment Equity (EE) Designated Groups

Figure 11: Representation of Employment Equity (EE) Designated Groups among Core Public Administration Executives in 2001 and 2011, with Estimated Workforce Availability (WFA) Based on the 2006 Census - Text Version

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

Population: Data for the Core Public Administration (CPA) (departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer), including indeterminate employees and terms of three months or more, excluding employees on Leave Without Pay.

Notes: Workforce availability estimates are based on the 2006 Census.

The source of the representation data is the CPA Employment Equity Data Bank, which is populated with self-identification information provided by employees.

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

In 2011, the representation of women in the executive group reached 44.9%. This is 0.8 percentage points higher than last year, 14.9 percentage points above the representation level since 2001, but 0.3 percentage points below the workforce availability of 45.2%. Most notably, with the exception of persons with disabilities, the representation for all designated groups has gone up since 2010, thereby, making it closer to or above the respective workforce availability.

Focusing on the EX minus 1 level, the representation of women in 2011 was 38.2% compared to a workforce availability of 38.6% (a difference of 0.4 percentage points). However, at the EX minus 2 level, representation of women was higher and also above workforce availability (47.2% versus a workforce availability of 44.4%).

Representation at the executive level improved between 2001 and 2011 for the three other employment equity groups, as well. The increase was from 2.0% to 3.8% for Aboriginal peoples, from 3.5% to 5.4% for persons with disabilities (a slight reduction from last year) and from 3.4% to 7.8% for visible minority employees (a slight increase from last year).

At the EX minus 1 level, representation is above workforce availability for Aboriginal peoples (2.4% versus 1.5%) and for persons with disabilities (4.8% versus 4.6%). The representation of visible minority employees at this level is 1.2 percentage points below workforce availability (11.9% versus 13.1%).

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 (5.1% versus 4.0%); and visible minority employees (12.9% versus 12.6%).

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

b) Language of Executives

Figure 12 shows that between 1983 and 2011, French has been identified by a growing percentage of executives as their first official language (increasing from 20.4% to 30.1%, slightly higher than last year). The current ratio in the executive cadre reflects that in the wider Federal Public Service (70.8% identifying English vs. 29.2% identifying French).

In 2011, French was the first official language of 29.0% of federal public servants at the EX minus 1 level and 31.2% at the EX minus 2 level. As for executives, the percentages identifying French have been increasing since 1983.

Figure 12: Proportion of Federal Public Service (FPS) Executives by First Official Language (OL) - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 12: Proportion of Federal Public Service (FPS) Executives by First Official Language (OL) - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 12: Proportion of Federal Public Service (FPS) Executives by First Official Language (OL) - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011 - Text Version

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

Population: Includes all Federal Public Service executives, specifically, Core Public Administration executives and their equivalents in separate employers (such as Executive Group (EC) and Management Group (MG) classifications) in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual) and does not include executives on Leave Without Pay.

3. Age of Executives

The age distributions of executives for 2006 and 2011 are compared in Figure 13. The proportion of executives under 50 years of age increased by 4.7 percentage points (from 42.1% in 2006 to 46.8% in 2011). In 2010, the percentage was 46.7%. The proportion of executives over 50 during this period decreased from 57.9% in 2006 to 53.2% in 2011 (compared to 53.3% in 2010). The percentage of executives has decreased in the two age bands marking the age range of 50-59 years (from 52.1% in 2006 to 46.5% in 2011). This is somewhat offset by the increasing percentage of executives in the final two age bands (for those 60 years of age and over).

The average age of executives decreased between 2006 and 2011 (from 50.7 years to 50.0 years in 2011). This reduction in average age is also reflected at both the EX minus 1 level (from 48.9 to 48.4 years) and the EX minus 2 level (from 46.1 to 45.8 years).

Figure 13: Federal Public Service (FPS) Executive Population Distribution by Age Bands for 2006 and 2011

Figure 13: Federal Public Service (FPS) Executive Population Distribution by Age Bands for 2006 and 2011

Figure 13: Federal Public Service (FPS) Executive Population Distribution by Age Bands for 2006 and 2011 - Text Version

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

Population: Includes all Federal Public Service executives, specifically, Core Public Administration executives and their equivalents in separate employers (such as Executive Group (EC) and Management Group (MG) classifications) in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual) and does not include executives on Leave Without Pay.

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 Federal Public Service (FPS) Executives and Assistant Deputy Ministers - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 14: Average Age of Federal Public Service (FPS) Executives and Assistant Deputy Ministers - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011

Figure 14: Average Age of Federal Public Service (FPS) Executives and Assistant Deputy Ministers - Selected Years, 1983 to 2011 - Text Version

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

Population: Includes all Federal Public Service executives, specifically, Core Public Administration executives and their equivalents in separate employers (such as Executive Group (EC) and Management Group (MG) classifications) in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual) and does not include executives on Leave Without Pay.

The average ages in 2011 for the various employee populations described in this document are summarized below:

  • Federal Public Service: 44.1 years
  • Executives: 50.0 years
  • EX-01 to EX-03: 49.8 years
  • EX-04 to EX-05: 53.3 years
  • EX minus 1: 48.4 years
  • EX minus 2: 45.8 years

Footnotes

1 The "Federal Public Service" refers to the Core Public Administration (CPA) (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 of the Financial Administration Act.

2 The current workforce is compared primarily to that from 1983, the first year for which the Treasury Board Secretariat has complete data. Other comparison years are used, either due to data limitations or to avoid excessive detail in the graphics.

3 Statistics Canada (CANSIM table 051-0001).

4 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.