Demographic Snapshot of Canada’s Federal Public Service, 2016

Preface

This snapshot provides key demographics for Canada’s federal public service.Footnote 1 It compares the current workforce with that from the baseline year of 1990.Footnote 2

Canada’s federal public service consists of two population segments:

  • the core public administration
  • separate agencies

The term “core public administration” refers to approximately 70 departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer. These organizations are listed in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act.

The term “separate agencies” refers to agencies listed in Schedule V of the act. Separate agencies conduct their own negotiations or set their own classification system and compensation levels for their employees.

The demographic information in this snapshot supplements the Clerk of the Privy Council’s Twenty-Fourth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada.

The data in this snapshot is current as of March 31, 2016, unless indicated otherwise.

Table of Contents

Introduction

This document presents key demographics for Canada’s federal public service. Part 1 covers the entire federal public service, and Part 2 focuses on executives.

Demographic profile of the federal public service of Canada, March 31, 2016

  • 258,979 active employees (250,625 in 1990)
  • The federal public service represents 0.72% of the Canadian population (0.91% in 1990)
  • 58.5% of employees are in the regions; 41.5% are in the National Capital Region
  • 84.4% are indeterminate employees, 9.8% are term employees, and 5.8% are casuals and students
  • 55.1% of employees are women (45.6% in 1990)
  • 46.5% of executives are women (14.7% in 1990)
  • 71.5% of employees indicated English as their first official language; 28.5% indicated French as their first official language (in 1990, 71.2% indicated English and 28.8% indicated French)
  • Average age of employees: 45.0 years (40.4 in 1990)
  • Average age of executives: 50.3 years (48.0 in 1990)

Part 1: demographic profile of Canada’s federal public service

Context: relative size and spending

Between 1990 and 2016, the population of Canada grew from approximately 27.6 million to 36.1 million (an increase of 31.1%),Footnote 3 while the number of federal public servants increased from 250,625 to 258,979 (3.3%). The federal public service currently comprises 0.72% of the Canadian population. This is well below the ratios in the 1980s and early 1990s, which were very close to 1%.

Between 1990 and 2016, Canada’s real gross domestic product increased by 77.1% and real federal program spending increased by 54.5% (in constant dollars). However, over the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, there has been an increase of 0.9% in real gross domestic product and an increase of 5.5% in federal program spending, as shown in Figure 1.

Government priorities have significantly influenced the size of the federal public service workforce over the years. The focus in recent years has been on streamlining activities, outsourcing services and reducing costs. As a result, the federal public service workforce has decreased between 2010 and 2015, with a slight increase since 2015.

Figure 1: trends in the economy, the Canadian population, federal program spending and the size of the federal public service, from the 1990 to 1991 fiscal year to the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year
Line graph. Text version below:
Figure 1 - Text version
Fiscal year Canadian Population Index Federal Public Service Workforce Index Real GDP Index (in constant dollars, 2007) Real Program Expenses Index (in constant dollars, 2002)
1990 to 1991 100 100 100 100
1991 to 1992 101 101 98 100
1992 to 1993 103 102 99 105
1993 to 1994 104 101 101 103
1994 to 1995 105 98 106 104
1995 to 1996 106 96 109 100
1996 to 1997 107 88 111 90
1997 to  1998 108 83 115 92
1998 to 1999 109 81 120 92
1999 to 2000 110 81 126 92
2000 to 2001 111 85 132 99
2001 to 2002 112 89 135 101
2002 to 2003 113 95 139 106
2003 to 2004 114 97 141 110
2004 to 2005 116 97 146 123
2005 to 2006 117 97 150 120
2006 to 2007 118 100 154 126
2007 to 2008 119 102 157 131
2008 to 2009 120 105 159 134
2009 to 2010 122 109 154 157
2010 to 2011 123 113 159 151
2011 to 2012 124 113 164 147
2012 to 2013 126 111 167 146
2013 to 2014 127 105 171 146
2014 to 2015 128 103 175 146
2015 to 2016 130 103 177 155

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

Notes

The Canadian Population Index is based on data as of April 1 for each year. The Federal Public Service Workforce Index is based on active employees only and is based on data as of March 31 for each year.

The Real Program Expenses Index is based on fiscal year data, and the Real GDP Index is based on calendar year data.

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

Federal public service diversity

Gender

In 2016, women comprised 55.1% of the federal public service, a considerable increase from 1990 when women accounted for 45.6% of the workforce.

Figure 2: proportion of men and women in the federal public service, select years, 1990 to 2016
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 2 - Text version
  1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016
Men 54.4% 52.5% 48.0% 46.2% 44.8% 45.0% 44.9%
Women 45.6% 47.5% 52.0% 53.8% 55.2% 55.0% 55.1%

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

Note: Figure 2 includes all employment tenures and active employees only (employees on leave without pay are excluded). The information provided is based on data as of March 31.

Employment equity designated groups

Representation

Figure 3 shows that there have been modest increases in the representation levels of three of the four employment equity designated groups in the federal public service since the 2010 to 2011 fiscal year. The representation rates for women and Aboriginal peoples were the same or higher than the previous year. As well, representation rates for members of a visible minority showed an increase for the sixth year in a row. However, the representation of persons with disabilities in the federal public service decreased slightly from 5.7% in the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year to 5.6% in the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year. Representation of all four employment equity groups continues to exceed their respective workforce availability.Footnote 4

Figure 3: representation of employment equity designated groups in the federal public service, from the 2010 to 2011 fiscal year to the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, with estimated workforce availability based on the 2011 National Household Survey and the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 3 - Text version
Employment equity designated group 2010 to 2011 2011 to 2012 2012 to 2013 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016 Workforce availability
Women 55.3% 55.3% 55.0% 54.9% 55.0% 55.1% 52.3%
Aboriginal peoples 4.3% 4.5% 4.6% 4.6% 4.6% 4.7% 3.3%
Persons with disabilities 5.6% 5.7% 5.8% 5.8% 5.7% 5.6% 4.5%
Members of a visible minority group 12.6% 13.3% 14.0% 14.6% 15.4% 16.2% 14.2%

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

Population: Indeterminate employees and term employees of three months or more, excluding employees on leave without pay, in the core public administration and in 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 2011 National Household Survey and the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability.

The source of the representation data is the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Employment Equity Data Bank, which is populated with self-identification information provided by employees, plus data from separate agencies’ reports to Parliament.

Hiring

Figure 4 shows that the proportion of new hires for indeterminate and term positions of three months or more remains above the current workforce availability of all employment equity designated groups except for persons with disabilities, which remains below the group’s current workforce availability.

Figure 4: appointments to the public service by employment equity designated groups, with estimated workforce availability based on the 2011 National Household Survey and the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 4 - Text version
Employment equity designated group 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016 Workforce availability
Women 55.2% 56.6% 57.9% 52.5%
Aboriginal peoples 4.6% 3.8% 4.0% 3.4%
Persons with disabilities 3.3% 3.5% 3.3% 4.4%
Members of a visible minority group 16.0% 16.1% 17.3% 13.0%

Sources: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Employment Equity Data Bank, the Public Service Commission of Canada’s files on hiring and staffing activities, and the Public Service Resourcing System.

Population: Indeterminate employees and term employees of three months or more in the public service. In the Public Service Commission of Canada’s context, “the public service” refers to organizations named in the Public Service Employment Act and is approximately comparable to the core public administration. All appointment figures exclude specified term appointments of less than three months and appointments to separate agencies.

Notes

Appointments refer to employees who were added to the payroll of the public service of Canada between April 1 and March 31 of each given fiscal year.

Data on hiring of Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of a visible minority group are extracted from the Employment Equity Data Bank where a match was found in the Public Service Commission of Canada’s hiring and staffing activities file covering each fiscal year. These activities include appointments for external advertised processes and non‑advertised processes.

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

Data on women are extracted from the Public Service Commission of Canada’s files on hiring and staffing activities. These activities include appointments as a result of both advertised and non‑advertised processes.

Workforce availability estimates for the federal public service are based on the 2011 National Household Survey and the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability.

First official language

As shown in Figure 5, the proportion of federal public servants who indicate either English or French as their first official language has remained relatively stable since 1990. In 2016, French was indicated as the first official language by 28.5% of federal public servants, and English was indicated by 71.5%.

Figure 5: first official language profile of the federal public service, select years, 1990 to 2016
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 5 - Text version
  1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016
English 71.2% 71.1% 70.3% 70.5% 71.0% 71.3% 71.5%
French 28.8% 28.9% 29.7% 29.5% 29.0% 28.7% 28.5%

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

Note: Figure 5 includes all employment tenures and active employees only (employees on leave without pay are excluded). The information provided is based on data as of March 31.

Age profile of the federal public service

Figure 6 compares the age distribution of federal public servants in 2010 and 2016. Over this period, the age distribution of federal public servants has changed slightly, with a decrease occurring in the proportion of employees in the 25 to 29 age group. This was a large factor in the decline in the proportion of employees under 35 years of age from 2010 to 2016. Increases are seen in the proportion of employees in both the 35 to 39 and 40 to 44 age bands between 2010 and 2015. This trend continued in 2016.

Overall, employees under 40 account for approximately 34% of the entire federal public service workforce.

The average age of federal public servants increased slightly from 43.9 years in 2010 to 45.0 years in 2016 but has remained the same since 2015.

Figure 6: federal public service population by age band for 2010 and 2016
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 6 - Text version
Age band 2010 2016
Under 20 0.3% 0.2%
20 to 24 4.2% 3.4%
25 to 29 8.9% 6.5%
30 to 34 11.4% 10.5%
35 to 39 12.0% 13.6%
40 to 44 13.2% 14.4%
45 to 49 16.4% 14.5%
50 to 54 16.7% 16.7%
55 to 59 11.1% 12.5%
60 to 64 4.4% 5.6%
65 and over 1.3% 2.1%

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

Note: Figure 6 includes all employment tenures and active employees only (employees on leave without pay are excluded). The information provided excludes employees with an unknown age and is based on data as of March 31.

Figure 7 shows the distribution of federal public servants by age for selected years between 1990 and 2016. The baby boomer generation (bars marked by diagonal lines) can be seen moving through the age bands. The baby boomer generation previously comprised the highest proportion of the federal public service population. However, employees of this group now fall within the upper three age categories (45 to 54, 55 to 64, 65 and over) and are being replaced by the Generation X cohort and by millennials.

Figure 7: distribution of federal public service employees by age, select years, 1990 to 2016
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 7 - Text version
Age band Age 1990 2000 2010 2016
Under 25 Under 17 18 7 14 4
17 to 18 324 137 155 111
19 to 20 2,023 1,207 1,783 1,466
21 to 22 4,013 2,663 4,194 3,242
23 to 24 6,543 3,927 6,571 4,565
25 to 34 25 to 26 9,691 4,950 8,977 5,794
27 to 28 12,304 5,950 10,472 6,870
29 to 30 14,404 7,035 11,970 8,770
31 to 32 16,066 7,877 12,687 10,528
33 to 34 17,663 9,538 13,518 11,848
35 to 44 35 to 36 18,547 11,689 13,327 13,503
37 to 38 19,031 13,263 13,585 14,325
39 to 40 18,690 15,219 14,318 15,079
41 to 42 18,452 16,223 14,393 14,697
43 to 44 15,713 16,858 15,676 14,915
45 to 54 45 to 46 12,393 17,432 17,912 15,155
47 to 48 11,760 17,250 18,729 14,902
49 to 50 9,965 16,480 19,439 15,655
51 to 52 9,242 14,526 19,270 17,608
53 to 54 8,500 10,254 18,352 17,584
55 to 64 55 to 56 6,866 6,802 14,792 15,091
57 to 58 6,213 5,150 11,731 12,211
59 to 60 4,981 3,320 8,497 9,060
61 to 62 3,204 1,768 5,577 6,290
63 to 64 2,277 1,083 3,359 4,141
65 and over 65 to 66 944 575 1,665 2,508
67 to 68 454 342 967 1,495
69 and over 310 398 1,048 1,560

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

Notes

Figure 7 includes all employment tenures and active employees only (employees on leave without pay are excluded). The information provided is based on data as of March 31.

Each vertical bar represents two years of age, with the exception of the first and last bar. The first bar includes all individuals under 17 years of age, and the last bar includes all individuals over 68 years of age. Employees whose age is unknown have been removed from the graph.

Traditionalists were born in 1945 or earlier. Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1966. Generation X was born between 1967 and 1979. Millennials were born after 1979.

Hiring into the federal public service

Figure 8 shows that recruitment has historically responded directly to federal financial stimulus and restraint. Specifically, indeterminate hiring has been on the upswing since the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year. Such hiring increased by 26.3%, from 6,093 in the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year to 7,698 in the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year.

Figure 8: core public administration, new indeterminate hires by fiscal year
Line graph. Text version below:
Figure 8 - Text version
Fiscal year Number of indeterminate hires
2000 to 2001 9,986
2001 to 2002 12,365
2003 to 2004 14,084
2004 to 2005 9,395
2005 to 2006 11,092
2006 to 2007 13,342
2007 to 2008 17,258
2008 to 2009 19,968
2009 to 2010 16,304
2010 to 2011 11,677
2011 to 2012 8,642
2012 to 2013 2,865
2013 to 2014 4,315
2014 to 2015 6,093
2015 to 2016 7,698

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

Population: Indeterminate employees in the core public administration (departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer), excluding employees on leave without pay.

Between the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year and the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, indeterminate appointments increased by 169% (from 2,865 to 7,698). Millennials have accounted for the largest group of indeterminate employees hired during this period, growing from 45% of all new indeterminate hires in the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year to 54% in the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year. During this same period, the hiring of new indeterminate employees from the Baby boomer generation has decreased from 21% to 16% and from Generation X from 34% to 29%.

Figure 9 demonstrates that slightly more than half of new indeterminate hires in the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year were born after 1979 (54%). As a result, the average age of new indeterminate hires to the core public administration was 36 years old.

Figure 9: age distribution of new indeterminate hires in the core public administration, 2015 to 2016 fiscal year
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 9 - Text version
Generation Age Number of indeterminate employees hired
Millennials 17 3
18 15
19 7
20 18
21 47
22 159
23 283
24 327
25 329
26 365
27 310
28 302
29 353
30 291
31 314
32 279
33 289
34 277
35 249
Generation X 36 229
37 219
38 201
39 191
40 179
41 157
42 171
43 170
44 159
45 151
46 145
47 145
48 124
Baby boomers 49 115
50 155
51 151
52 129
53 109
54 93
55 90
56 88
57 71
58 62
59 37
60 49
61 27
62 24
63 11
64 11
65 6
66 4
67 4
68 1
69 3
Total 7,698

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

Population: Indeterminate employees in the core public administration (departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer), excluding employees on leave without pay.

Note: The distribution of hires in this figure is based on rounded ages and may not match other figures in this report.

Retirements in the federal public service

As shown in Figure 10, the retirement rate decreased slightly between the 2011 to 2012 fiscal year and 2012 to 2013 fiscal year (from 3.2% to 2.9%), followed by a gradual increase to 3.6% in the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year. There were approximately 8,460 retirements in the federal public service in the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year.

As a result of Budget 2012 decisions, many employees who planned to retire during the 2012 to 2013 and 2013 to 2014 fiscal years left the federal public service by accepting one of the government’s Work Force Adjustment or Career Transition (for executives) measures.

The percentage of indeterminate federal public servants eligible to retire as of March 31, 2016, was 10.6%, up from 10.2% as of March 31, 2015. Current retirees were recruited at a young age and had a long career in the federal public service. In the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, 51.9% of retired employees had 30 or more pensionable years of service, compared with only 33.0% in the 1984 to 1985 fiscal year.

Figure 10: historical and projected retirement rates for federal public servants, 2011 to 2012 and 2020 to 2021 fiscal years
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 10 - Text version
  Fiscal year Retirements
Historical 2011 to 2012 3.2%
2012 to 2013 2.9%
2013 to 2014 3.1%
2014 to 2015 3.2%
2015 to 2016 3.6%
Estimated 2016 to 2017 3.6%
Projected 2017 to 2018 3.6%
2018 to 2019 3.6%
2019 to 2020 3.7%
2020 to 2021 3.7%

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

Population: Indeterminate federal public servants, including employees who retire while on leave without pay.

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

Retirement eligibility: Employees are eligible to retire once they have reached the appropriate combination of pensionable years of service and age.

Years of experience in the federal public service

Figure 11 shows the distribution of indeterminate federal public servants by experience level. Between 2015 and 2016, employees with 15 to 24 years of experience represented the largest increase (from 22.9% to 24.6%), while employees with 5 to 14 years of experience represented the largest decrease (from 49.4% to 48.2%).

From 2016 to 2017, the proportions of employees with 5 to 14 years and 25 years or more of pensionable years of service are projected to decrease to 45.0% and 16.4%, respectively. The proportion of employees with 0 to 4 years of experience is projected to increase to 11.3%, and those with 15 to 24 pensionable years of service are expected to increase to 27.3%.

Figure 11: years of experience bands for indeterminate federal public servants from March 1990 to March 2021 (projected)
Line graph. Text version below:
Figure 11 - Text version
  Year 0 to 4 years of experience 5 to 14 years of experience 15 to 24 years of experience 25 years or more of experience
Historical 1990 19.4% 45.2% 27.8% 7.6%
1991 19.0% 40.9% 29.7% 10.4%
1992 19.8% 39.0% 30.5% 10.6%
1993 20.2% 37.9% 30.7% 11.1%
1994 18.0% 38.8% 31.8% 11.5%
1995 15.2% 40.5% 32.6% 11.7%
1996 11.6% 41.8% 35.3% 11.3%
1997 9.2% 41.0% 37.6% 12.3%
1998 8.7% 39.9% 37.7% 13.8%
1999 10.3% 38.0% 36.2% 15.5%
2000 13.1% 35.3% 34.1% 17.5%
2001 16.8% 32.5% 31.9% 18.8%
2002 21.4% 30.1% 29.0% 19.5%
2003 23.8% 29.1% 27.4% 19.8%
2004 23.7% 29.2% 27.1% 20.0%
2005 21.5% 30.6% 27.8% 20.0%
2006 19.7% 32.1% 27.4% 20.7%
2007 18.0% 35.0% 26.0% 21.0%
2008 18.8% 36.0% 24.8% 20.4%
2009 22.1% 35.7% 23.1% 19.2%
2010 24.0% 36.3% 21.3% 18.4%
2011 23.7% 38.4% 20.3% 17.6%
2012 21.7% 41.2% 20.2% 17.0%
2013 17.2% 45.3% 21.0% 16.6%
2014 13.2% 48.7% 21.6% 16.4%
2015 11.0% 49.4% 22.9% 16.7%
2016 10.4% 48.2% 24.6% 16.8%
Estimated 2017 11.3% 45.0% 27.3% 16.4%
Projected 2018 13.8% 41.3% 29.0% 15.9%
2019 15.4% 39.8% 29.9% 14.8%
2020 16.6% 39.0% 30.7% 13.6%
2021 17.7% 37.5% 32.4% 12.4%

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

Population: Indeterminate federal public servants, including employees on leave without pay.

Note: The forecasted distribution is based on the assumption of a stable population over the projected period. If the overall population increases or decreases in the future, the rate will be affected.

A knowledge-intensive workforce in the core public administration

In 1990, the workforce was composed mainly of clerical and operational workers. Since then, employees undertaking more knowledge-intensive work comprise an ever-increasing share of employees in the core public administration. The cadre of knowledge workers is highly skilled, with significant expertise gained through a combination of education, training and experience. The transformation in work has been in response to an increasingly demanding environment, new challenges and technological advances since 1990.

As shown in Figure 12, the five largest knowledge-intensive occupational groups in the core public administration increased since 1990. These groups are Administrative Services (AS), Program Administration (PM), Computer Systems (CS), Economics and Social Science Services (EC) and Executive (EX). In 2016, these occupational groups represented 41.6% of the core public administration workforce; they represented only 22.6% in 1990.

Figure 12: share of key occupations in the core public administration, select years, 1990 to 2016
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 12 - Text version
Occupational group 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016
AS 5.3% 6.7% 9.9% 12.2% 13.8% 14.5% 14.3%
PM 12.1% 15.3% 9.7% 12.8% 11.3% 10.8% 11.1%
CS 2.0% 3.2% 5.5% 6.6% 6.4% 7.0% 6.9%
EC 2.0% 2.4% 4.4% 5.3% 5.9% 6.6% 6.8%
EX 1.1% 1.6% 2.2% 2.4% 2.5% 2.5% 2.6%

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

Notes

The information provided is for the core public administration only. Figure 12 includes all employment tenures and active employees only (employees on leave without pay are excluded), based on effective employment classification (acting appointments are included). The information provided is based on data as of March 31.

To provide an accurate picture of the growth and share of occupations historically, the analysis excludes the Canada Revenue Agency (all 15 of its predecessors) and the Canada Border Services Agency. The Canada Revenue Agency was a part of the core public administration until 1999, after which it became a separate agency. The Canada Border Services Agency was created in 2003 as part of the core public administration; a majority of its employees were transferred from the Canada Revenue Agency.

On June 22, 2009, the Economics, Sociology and Statistics (ES) and the Social Science Support (SI) occupational groups were combined to form the Economics and Social Science Services (EC) occupational group. For consistency, all ES, SI and EC numbers have been combined each year to create the EC occupational group.

Part 2: demographic profile of executives

This section provides demographic information about the federal public service Executive Group.

Typically, assistant deputy ministers (classified as EX 04 and EX 05) fulfill senior leadership functions, providing strategic direction and oversight, while directors, executive directors and directors general (classified from EX 01 to EX 03) fulfill executive functions and are responsible for managing employees.

Population size of the Executive Group

As of March 31, 2016, there were 6,414 executives in the federal public service. Approximately one half (51.2%) of executives were EX 01s, and only 6.3% were EX 04s and EX 05s.

Between 1990 and 2016, the federal public service executive workforce grew by 54.6% due to an increase in knowledge-based occupational groups, an increase in director-level positions being classified as EX positions, and deputy heads having control of the size of the Executive Group. During the same period, the overall federal public service grew by 3.3%. Compared with 2015, there was a 0.8% increase in both the number of executives and the overall federal public service. Executives accounted for 2.5% of the entire federal public service population in 2016, up from 2.3% in 2006.

Executive diversity

Employment equity designated groups among core public administration executives

Figure 13 illustrates the levels of executive representation in the core public administration for all four employment equity groups in 2006 and in 2016.

Figure 13: representation of employment equity designated groups among core public administration executives in 2006 and 2016, with estimated workforce availability based on the 2011 National Household Survey and the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 13 - Text version
Employment equity designated group March 2006 March 2016 Workforce availability
Women 38.8% 47.3% 47.8%
Aboriginal peoples 3.4% 3.7% 5.2%
Persons with disabilities 5.5% 5.1% 2.3%
Members of a visible minority group 5.5% 9.4% 9.6%

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

Population: Indeterminate employees and term employees of three months or more in the core public administration (departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer), excluding employees on leave without pay.

Notes

Workforce availability estimates for the core public administration are based on the 2011 National Household Survey and the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability.

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

Representation and Workforce Availability numbers for March 2016 include EX, GX (General Executive) and LC (Law Management) classifications, whereas representation for March 2006 excludes LCs; therefore, the two years cannot be directly compared.

The workforce availability for core public administration executives for persons with disabilities should be used with caution due to high variability in sampling.

As of March 2016, the core public administration representation levels for all designated groups in the executive category, with the exception of persons with disabilities, did not meet their respective workforce availability, as shown in Figure 13.

Compared with 2015, the representation levels of designated groups at the executive level did not increase or decrease significantly.

First official language of executives

Figure 14 illustrates that between 1990 and 2016, a growing proportion of executives in the federal public service indicated that French is their first official language (increasing from 21.8% to 30.5%). The current ratio in the executive cadre reflects the ratio in the overall federal public service (71.5% indicating English and 28.5% indicating French).

Figure 14: proportion of federal public service executives by first official language, select years, 1990 to 2016
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 14 - Text version
  1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016
English 78.2% 76.6% 73.8% 71.9% 70.0% 68.9% 69.5%
French 21.8% 23.4% 26.2% 28.1% 30.0% 31.1% 30.5%

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

Population: Includes all federal public service executives, specifically, core public administration executives and their equivalents in separate agencies (such as Executive Group (EX) and Management Group (MG) classifications) in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual). It does not include executives on leave without pay or those whose data on first official language is missing. The information provided is based on data as of March 31.

Age of executives in the federal public service

The age distribution of federal public service executives is shown in Figure 15 for 2010, 2015 and 2016. The proportion of executives under 50 years of age increased slightly from 46.7% in 2010 to 46.8% in 2016; in 2015, the percentage was 46.1%. The proportion of executives over 50 during this period decreased slightly from 53.3% in 2010 to 53.2% in 2016.

The average age of executives in the federal public service increased slightly between 2010 and 2016, from 50.1 years in 2010 to 50.3 years in 2016.

Figure 15: federal public service executive population distribution by age band for 2010, 2015 and 2016
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 15 - Text version
Year Age band
25 to 29 30 to 34 35 to 39 40 to 44 45 to 49 50 to 54 55 to 59 60 to 64 65 and over Total
2010 0.0% 1.4% 7.4% 15.6% 22.4% 28.0% 18.4% 5.8% 1.0% 100.0%
2015 0.0% 0.8% 6.9% 15.6% 22.8% 27.7% 19.2% 5.8% 1.2% 100.0%
2016 0.0% 0.8% 7.0% 15.4% 23.7% 26.8% 19.5% 5.7% 1.3% 100.0%

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

Population: Includes all federal public service executives, specifically, core public administration executives and their equivalents in separate agencies (such as Executive Group (EX) 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 data as of March 31.

Figure 16 shows that the average age for all executives in the federal public service has increased. However, since 2005, there has been relative stability in the average age of executives at the EX 01 to EX 03 levels and at the EX 04 and EX 05 levels.

Figure 16: average age of federal public service executives and assistant deputy ministers, select years, 1990 to 2016
Bar graph. Text version below:
Figure 16 - Text version
  1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016
EX 01 to EX 03 47.9 49.2 49.8 50.6 49.9 50.1 50.0
EX 04 and EX 05 50.2 51.6 52.5 53.9 53.5 53.7 54.2

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

Population: Includes all federal public service executives, specifically, core public administration executives and their equivalents in separate agencies (such as Executive Group (EX) and Management Group (MG) classifications) in all tenures (indeterminate, term and casual). The population does not include executives on leave without pay. The information provided is based on data as of March 31.

The average age in 2016 for the various employee segments of the federal public service described in this document are summarized as follows:

  • All: 45.0 years
  • Executives: 50.3 years
  • EX 01 to EX 03: 50.0 years
  • EX 04 and EX 05: 54.2 years
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