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Demographic Snapshot of the Federal Public Service, 2012

Archived information

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

The information presented includes 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 for which the Treasury Board is the employer. These organizations are named in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act.

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: Twentieth Annual Report.

The data is current as of March 31st, 2012, unless otherwise indicated.

Table of Contents

Introduction

This document presents key demographics for the Federal Public Service (FPS), 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 Federal Public Service of Canada

March 31st, 2012


  • 278,092 employees (250,882 in 1983)
  • 55.1% women (41.8% in 1983)
  • 44.9% of executives are women (5.2% in 1983)
  • 58.8% of employees in the regions and 41.2% in the National Capital Region
  • 87.4% indeterminate employees; 8.2% term employees; 4.4% casuals and students
  • 71.1% declared English their first official language; 28.9% declared French
  • Average age: 44.4 years (39.3 in 1983)
  • Average age of executives: 50.2 years (48.1 in 1983)
  • The Federal Public Service represents 0.8% of the Canadian population (1.0% in 1983)

Part I – Demographic Profile of the Federal Public Service

1. Context – Relative Size and Spending

Between 1983 and 2012, the population of Canada grew from 25.3 million to 34.8 million (37.4%), See footnote 3 while the number of federal public servants increased from 250,882 to 278,092 (10.8%). The Federal Public Service (FPS) currently comprises 0.8% 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 115.5% and real federal program spending increased by 50.9% (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, the Canadian Population, Federal Program Spending and the Size of the Federal Public Service, 1983-1984 to 2011-2012

Figure 1
Figure 1: Trends in the Economy, the Canadian Population, Federal Program Spending and the Size of the Federal Public Service, 1983-1984 to 2011-2012 – Text Version

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

Notes:

Canadian Population Index is based on April 1st data of each year. The Federal Public Service Index is for active employees and is based on March 31st data at the start of each fiscal year.

Real Program Expenses Index is based on Fiscal Year Data while Real GDP is based on Calendar Year.

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

2. Federal Public Service Diversity

a) Gender

In 2012, 55.1% 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) – Select Years, 1983 to 2012

Figure 2
Figure 2: Proportion of Men and Women in the Federal Public Service (FPS) – Select Years, 1983 to 2012 – Text Version

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

Note: The figure includes all employment tenures and active employees only (i.e. employees on Leave without Pay are excluded). The information provided is based on March 31st data.

Current figures reflect the availability of women in the labour market and their levels of educational attainment. Even though women in the federal public service accounted for 10.3% more of the population than men, the representation of women was only 2.5 percentage points above their workforce availability in 2012 (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 2006-2007. In 2011-2012, the representation rates for women, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities remained the same or slightly higher than the previous year. As well these groups continue to exceed their workforce availability (WFA).

The representation of visible minority employees in the Federal Public Service increased from 12.6% to 13.3% over the past year, and most notably, it has exceeded its workforce availability of 13.0%. This increase can primarily be attributed to an increase in the level of new hires in the members of visible minority group, as evident in Figure 4.

Figure 3: Representation of Employment Equity (EE) Designated Groups in the Federal Public Service (FPS), 2006-2007 to 2011-2012, with Estimated Workforce Availability (WFA) based on the 2006 Census

Figure 3
Figure 3: Representation of Employment Equity (EE) Designated Groups in the Federal Public Service (FPS), 2006-2007 to 2011-2012, 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 agencies. Some small separate agencies 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 agencies 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. Compared to the last year, the level of new hires for women went down by 2.2 percentage points, while the rest of the groups increased. The most pronounced increase was seen in the members of visible minority group (3.7 percentage points since last year).

Figure 4: Appointments to the Public Service to Indeterminate and specified term positions of three months and over by Employment Equity (EE) Designated Group

Figure 4
Figure 4: Appointments to the Public Service to Indeterminate and specified term positions of three months and over by Employment Equity (EE) Designated Group – Text Version

Source: Public Service Commission (PSC), 2011-2012 Annual Report, Table 11, p. 43 – 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.

Notes:

In the PSC context, the "Public Service" refers to organizations under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) universe which is approximately equivalent to the Core Public Administration.

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 Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of a visible minority group 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 agencies.

c) Language

As shown in Figure 5, the proportions of federal public servants identifying either English or French as their first official language (FOL) have remained relatively stable since 1983. For 2012, French was identified as the first official language of 28.9% of federal public servants and English was identified by 71.1% of employees.

Figure 5: First Official Languages (FOL) Profile of the Federal Public Service (FPS) – Select Years, 1983 to 2012

Figure 5
Figure 5: First Official Languages (FOL) Profile of the Federal Public Service (FPS) – Select Years, 1983 to 2012 – Text Version

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

Note: The figure includes all employment tenures and active employees only (i.e. employees on Leave without Pay are excluded). The information provided is based on March 31st data.

3. Age Profile of the Federal Public Service

In Figure 6, the age distribution of federal public servants is compared between the years 2007 and 2012. Over this five year period, the age distribution of federal public servants has become more balanced. Specifically, there are more employees in the 25-39 and 55-65+ age groups, and there are fewer employees in the 40-54 age group. A transition between generations is becoming evident, attributable to past recruitment efforts and continuing retirements.

Since 2009, the average age of federal public servants has increased slightly (going from 43.9 to 44.4 years in 2012).

Figure 6: Federal Public Service (FPS) Population by Age Bands for 2007 and 2012

Figure 6
Figure 6: Federal Public Service (FPS) Population by Age Bands for 2007 and 2012 – Text Version

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

Note: The figure includes all employment tenures and active employees only (i.e. employees on Leave without Pay are excluded). The information provided is based on March 31st data.

Figure 7 shows the distribution of federal public servants by age for selected years between 1983 and 2012. The baby boomer generation (bars marked by forward slashes) can be seen moving through the age bands. In 2012 this generation occupied the 46 to 66 age range. In the graph below, these individuals fall in the upper three age categories, 45-54, 55-64 and 65 plus. Overall, the Federal Public Service workforce is multigenerational.

Figure 7: Distribution of Federal Public Service (FPS) Employees by Age – Select Years, 1983 to 2012

Figure 7
Figure 7: Distribution of Federal Public Service (FPS) Employees by Age – Select Years, 1983 to 2012 – Text Version

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

Notes:

The figure includes all employment tenures and active employees only (i.e. employees on Leave without Pay are excluded). The information provided is based on March 31st data.

Each vertical bar represents two years of age, except for the first and last bar. The first bar includes all individuals below 16 years of age and the last bar includes all individuals above 70 years of age.

Historical numbers were revised to reflect the entire FPS population.

Age Breakdown of the Multigenerational Workforce of the Federal Public Service (FPS) of Canada – Select Years, 1983 to 2012
  1983 1988 1993 1998 2003 2012
Traditionalists 38 or more 43 or more 48 or more 53 or more 58 or more 67 or more
Baby Boomers 17-37 22-42 27-47 32-52 37-57 46-66
Generation X 7-16 12-21 17-26 22-31 27-36 36-45
Generation Y 6 or less 11 or less 1-16 6-21 11-26 20-35
Generation Z N/A N/A Under 1 5 or less 10 or less 19 or less

4. Retirements

As shown in Figure 8, the retirement rate has declined slightly between 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 (from 3.3% to 3.1%) followed by a gradual increase in 2010-2011 (3.3%). Between 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 there was a small decline in the retirement rate (from 3.3% to 3.2%). There were approximately 8,500 retirements in the Federal Public Service during 2011 2012.

It should be noted that, as a result of Budget 2012 decisions, many employees who planned to retire during 2012-2013, left the FPS by accepting one of the Workforce Adjustment or Career transition (for executives) measures. This trend may have an impact on retirement rates, as evident in Figure 8.

The percentage of federal public servants eligible to retire as of March 31st, 2012 was 9.4%, up from 8.9% in March 31st, 2011. Current retirees were recruited at a young age and had a long career in the Federal Public Service. In 2011-2012, 58.2% of retired employees had 30 or more pensionable years of service, compared to only 28.0% in 1982-1983.

Figure 8: Historical and Projected Retirement Rates for Federal Public Servants 2007-2008 to 2016-2017

Figure 8
Figure 8: Historical and Projected Retirement Rates for Federal Public Servants 2007-2008 to 2016-2017 – 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 decline in population for 2013-2014 and a stable population for the remaining years. 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 (2011), there has been a 2.0 percentage point decrease in the proportions of employees with 0-4 years of experience, and a 0.8 percentage point decrease for those with 15 and more years of experience. During the same period, the proportions of employees with 5-14 years of experience increased by 2.8 percentage points. The graph displays some projections on experience levels up to 2017.

Figure 9: Years of Experience Bands for Indeterminate Federal Public Servants from 1983 to 2017

Figure 9
Figure 9: Years of Experience Bands for Indeterminate Federal Public Servants from 1983 to 2017 – Text Version

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

Note: The forecasted distribution is based on a decline in population for 2013-2014 and a stable population for the remaining years. 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); Program Administration (PM); Computer Systems (CS); Economics & Social Science Services (EC); and Executive (EX)) have increased or remained the same compared to the previous years. In 2012, these five occupational groups represent 42.4% of the Core Public Administration workforce.

Figure 10: Share of Key Occupations in the Core Public Administration (CPA) Population Select Years, 1983 to 2012

Figure 10
Figure 10: Share of Key Occupations in the Core Public Administration (CPA) Population Select Years, 1983 to 2012 – Text Version

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

Notes:

The information provided is for the Core Public Administration only. The figure includes all employment tenures, active employees only (i.e. employees on leave without pay are excluded) and it is based on effective employment classification (i.e. acting appointments included). The information provided is based on March 31st data.

To provide a true picture of growth and share of occupations historically, this analysis excludes the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), all CRA's predecessors 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); Program Administration (PM); Computer Systems (CS); Economics & Social Science Services (EC); and Executive (EX).

Please note that the data for 2012 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 22nd, 2009. For consistency, historical EC numbers combine ES and SI occupational groups.

Part II – Demographic Profile of Executives

This section provides demographic information for the executive cadre, as well as for employees at salary bands two levels immediately below (EX minus 1 and EX minus 2). See footnote 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 6,923 executives in the Federal Public Service as of March 31st, 2012, representing 2.5% of the workforce. More than one half (53.4%) of executives are EX 01s and only 6.3% are EX 04s and EX 05s.

There was a 0.6% decrease in the number of executives from the previous year (2011).

There were 12,155 federal public servants at the EX minus 1 level in the Core Public Administration (a decrease of 242 from last year) and 18,869 at the EX minus 2 level (an increase of 167).

2. Executive Diversity

a) Employment Equity Designated Groups among Core Public Administration Executives

Figure 11 illustrates the representation levels for all four employment equity groups in 2002 and in 2012.

Figure 11: Representation of Employment Equity (EE) Designated Groups among Core Public Administration Executives in 2002 and 2012, with Estimated Workforce Availability (WFA) Based on the 2006 Census

Figure 11
Figure 11: Representation of Employment Equity (EE) Designated Groups among Core Public Administration Executives in 2002 and 2012, 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.

Please note March 2012 representation and WFA Numbers include EX, GX and LC classifications, where as March 2002 representation excludes LCs, therefore the two years cannot be directly compared.

The proportion of women executives has risen significantly, with the number more than tripling since 1993.

As evident in Figure 11 (above), as of March 2012, the representation levels for all designated groups in the executive category, except for Aboriginal peoples, exceeded their respective workforce availability (WFA).

In March 2012, the representation of women at the executive level was 45.9% which is above their workforce availability of 44.7%.

The representation of Persons with disabilities was 5.5%; 1.5 percentage points higher than their workforce availability of 4.0% and following the above pattern, the representation of members of visible minority group was 8.1%; 0.9 percentage points higher than their workforce availability of 7.2%.

Despite an increase in the representation level for Aboriginal peoples, it is still below the workforce availability (3.7% representation in March 2012 versus 4.5% workforce availability).

Focusing on the EX minus 1 level, the representation of women in 2012 was 38.5% compared to a workforce availability of 38.7% (a difference of 0.2 percentage points). However, at the EX minus 2 level, representation of women was higher and also above workforce availability (47.4% versus a workforce availability of 44.1%).

At the EX minus 1 level, representation is above workforce availability for Aboriginal peoples (2.3% versus 1.6%) and for persons with disabilities (4.8% versus 4.0%). The representation of visible minority employees at this level is 0.8 percentage points below workforce availability (12.5% versus 13.3%).

These results are similar to those found at the EX minus 2 level: Aboriginal peoples (3.8% versus a workforce availability of 2.2%); persons with disabilities (5.2% versus 4.0%); and visible minority employees (13.6% versus 12.5%).

At both levels below the executive cadre, 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 2012, French has been identified by a growing percentage of executives as their first official language (increasing from 20.4% to 30.2%, slightly higher than last year). The current ratio in the executive cadre reflects that in the wider Federal Public Service (71.1% identifying English versus 28.9% identifying French).

In 2012, French was the first official language of 29.1% of federal public servants at the EX minus 1 level and 30.1% 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 (FOL) – Select Years, 1983 to 2012

Figure 12
Figure 12: Proportion of Federal Public Service (FPS) Executives by First Official Language (FOL) – Select Years, 1983 to 2012 – 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 agencies (such as Executive Group (EC) and Management Group (MG) classifications) in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual). It does not include executives on Leave without Pay. The information provided is based on March 31st data.

3. Age of Executives

The age distributions of executives for 2007 and 2012 are compared in Figure 13. The proportion of executives under 50 years of age increased from 43.7% in 2007 to 46.3% in 2012. In 2011, the percentage was 46.8%. The proportion of executives over 50 during this period decreased from 56.3% in 2007 to 53.7% in 2012.

The percentage of executives has decreased in the two age bands marking the age range of 50-59 years (from 50.0% in 2007 to 46.8% in 2012). This is offset slightly 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 2007 and 2012 (from 50.6 years in 2007 to 50.2 years in 2012). This reduction in average age is also reflected at both the EX minus 1 level (from 48.8 years to 48.6 years) and the EX minus 2 level (from 46.2 years to 46.0 years).

Figure 13: Federal Public Service (FPS) Executive Population Distribution by Age Bands for 2007 and 2012

Figure 13
Figure 13: Federal Public Service (FPS) Executive Population Distribution by Age Bands for 2007 and 2012 – 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 agencies (such as Executive Group (EC) and Management Group (MG) classifications) in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual). It does not include executives on Leave without Pay. The information provided is based on March 31st data.

Figure 14 shows that, since 2003, there has been relative stability in the average age of executives at both the EX 01 to EX 03 levels and the EX 04 to EX 05 levels.

Figure 14: Average Age of Federal Public Service (FPS) Executives and Assistant Deputy Ministers – Select Years, 1983 to 2012

Figure 14
Figure 14: Average Age of Federal Public Service (FPS) Executives and Assistant Deputy Ministers – Select Years, 1983 to 2012 – 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 agencies (such as Executive Group (EC) and Management Group (MG) classifications) in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual). It does not include executives on Leave without Pay. The information provided is based on March 31st data.

The average ages in 2012 for the various employee populations described in this document are summarized below:

  • Federal Public Service: 44.4 years
  • Executives: 50.2 years
  • EX 01 to EX 03: 50.0 years
  • EX 04 to EX 05: 53.7 years
  • EX minus 1: 48.6 years
  • EX minus 2: 46.0 years

Footnotes


  • Return to footnote reference 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 agencies (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.
  • Return to footnote reference 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.
  • Return to footnote reference 3 Statistics Canada (CANSIM table 051-0005, Quarter 2 Data).
  • Return to footnote reference 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, using salary bands to define groups and levels. Comparisons to data for these levels from last year do not apply to the latest definitions.
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