Demographic Snapshot of Canada’s Public Service, 2018

Preamble

This snapshot provides key demographics for Canada’s federal public service and supplements the Clerk of the Privy Council’s Twenty-Sixth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada.

The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) works in partnership with departments and agencies to access, analyze, and share federal public service workforce data to identify current workforce trends. In the coming year, the public service will aim to recruit and equip the next generation of federal public servants to carry out the Government of Canada’s priorities.

On this page

Introduction

This snapshot compares the current workforce with that of the baseline year of 2000. The data in this snapshot is current as of , unless indicated otherwise.

Part 1 of this document covers all employees of the entire federal public service (the core public administration), and Part 2 focuses on executives. Part 3 provides highlights from the 2018 Public Service Employee Survey and the 2018 Student Exit Survey.

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 and may set their own classification system and compensation levels for their employees.

The principal separate agencies are:

  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Parks Canada
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • National Research Council Canada

Population counts for the following separate agencies are not included because their employee information is not available in the pay system:

  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service
  • National Capital Commission
  • Canada Investment and Savings
  • Canadian Forces Non‑Public Funds

The federal public service does not include:

  • ministers’ exempt staff
  • employees locally engaged outside Canada
  • RCMP regular force members
  • RCMP civilian force members
  • Canadian Armed Forces members

Highlights from 2018

In this section

1. Number of employees

  • 273,571 active employees (211,925 in 2000)
  • Represents 0.74% of the Canadian population (0.69% in 2000)

2. Location

  • 58.7% of employees are in the regions (64.5% in 2000)
  • 41.3% are in the National Capital Region (35.5% in 2000)

3. Employment status

  • 83.6% are indeterminate employees (79.8% in 2000)
  • 10.6% are term employees (16.8% in 2000)
  • 5.8% are casuals and students (3.4% in 2000)

4. Women

  • 55.3% of employees are women (52.0% in 2000)
  • 48.1% of executives are women (28.0% in 2000)

5. Official languages

  • 70.9% indicated English as their first official language (70.3% in 2000)
  • 29.1% indicated French as their first official language (29.7% in 2000)

6. Age

  • Average age of employees: 44.6 years (43.1 in 2000)
  • Average age of executives: 50.2 years (50.0 in 2000)

Part 1: federal public service

In this section

Relative size and spending

Between 2000 and 2018:

  • the population of Canada grew from approximately 30.6 million to 36.8 million (an increase of 20.6%)Footnote1
  • the number of federal public servants increased from 211,925 to 273,571 (29.1%)Footnote2.

The federal public service comprised 0.74% of the Canadian population in 2018. This is well below the ratios in the 1980s and early 1990s, which were very close to 1% and slightly higher than 0.79% in 2008.

Between 2000 and 2018:

  • Canada’s real gross domestic product increased by 46.5%Footnote3
  • real federal program spending increased by 86.4% (in constant dollars)Footnote4

Most recently, from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year to the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, there was:

  • an increase of 3.0% in real gross domestic product
  • an increase of 6.5% in real federal program spending

Since the 2010 to 2015 period, where the workforce decreased in response to budget reductions, there has been an increase in the federal public service workforce.

Figure 1 shows trends in the economy, the Canadian population, real federal program spending and the size of the federal public service, from 2000 to 2018.

Figure 1: shows trends in the economy, the Canadian population, real federal program spending and the size of the federal public service, from 2000 to 2018
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Figure 1 - Text version
Figure 1: trends in the economy, the Canadian population, federal program spending and the size of the federal public service, from 2000 to 2018
Year Canadian
Population Indextable 1 note 1
Federal Public Service
Workforce Indextable 1 note 2
Real GDP Indextable 1 note 3, in
chained dollars
(2012)
Real Program
Expenses Indextable 1 note 4,
(in 2002 dollars)

Table 1 Notes

Table 1 Note 1

Based on data as of April 1 for each year.

Return to table 1 note 1 referrer

Table 1 Note 2

Based on active employees only and is based on data as of March 31 for each year.

Return to table 1 note 2 referrer

Table 1 Note 3

Based on calendar year data.

Return to table 1 note 3 referrer

Table 1 Note 4

Based on fiscal year data. Program expenses include transfers and were deflated using the Consumer Price Index.

Return to table 1 note 4 referrer

2000 100 100 100 100
2001 101 106 105 107
2002 102 112 107 109
2003 103 115 110 115
2004 104 115 112 119
2005 105 115 116 133
2006 106 118 119 130
2007 107 120 123 137
2008 108 124 125 142
2009 110 129 126 145
2010 111 134 123 170
2011 112 133 126 163
2012 113 131 130 159
2013 114 124 133 158
2014 116 121 136 158
2015 117 121 140 159
2016 118 122 141 167
2017 120 124 142 175
2018 121 129 147 186

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

  1. Based on data as of April 1 for each year.
  2. Based on active employees only and based on data as of March 31 for each year.
  3. Based on calendar year data.
  4. Based on fiscal year data. Program expenses include transfers and were deflated using the Consumer Price Index.

Diversity in the federal public service

Gender

As shown in Figure 2, in 2018, women made up 55.3% of the federal public service, a 3.3 % increase from 2000. It is also a considerable increase (32.2%) from 1990.

Figure 2: federal public service by gender, 2000 and 2018
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Figure 2 - Text version
Figure 2: federal public service by gender, 2000 and 2018
Gender 2000 2018
Men 48.0% 44.7%
Women 52.0% 55.3%

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

Notes

Population: Includes all employment tenures and does not include employees on leave without pay.

The information provided is based on data as of March 31.

First official language

As shown in Figure 3, the breakdown of federal public servants by first official language in 2018 is almost the same as it was in 2000.

Figure 3: first official language of federal public servants, 2000 and 2018
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Figure 3 - Text version
Figure 3: first official language of federal public servants, 2000 and 2018
Language 2000 2018
English 70.3% 70.9%
French 29.7% 29.1%

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

Notes

Population: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 of federal public servants

Figure 4 compares the breakdown of federal public servants in 2010, 2015 and 2018 by age. From 2010 to 2018, the age breakdown changed slightly, with:

  • decreases in the proportion of employees under 34 and those aged 50 to 54
  • increases in the proportion of employees aged 35 to 39 and those aged 40 to 44

The average age of federal public servants increased slightly, from 43.9 years in 2010, to 45.0 years in 2015, to 44.6 years in 2018.

Figure 4: federal public servants by age band, 2010, 2015 and 2018, as a percentage of public service workforce

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Figure 4 - Text version
Figure 4: federal public servants by age band, 2010, 2015 and 2018, as percentage of public service workforce
Age band 2010 2015 2018
Under 20 0.3% 0.2% 0.3%
20 to 24 4.2% 3.2% 4.5%
25 to 29 8.9% 6.6% 7.4%
30 to 34 11.4% 10.7% 10.1%
35 to 39 12.0% 13.7% 13.3%
40 to 44 13.2% 14.1% 14.7%
45 to 49 16.4% 14.7% 14.4%
50 to 54 16.7% 17.2% 15.1%
55 to 59 11.1% 12.2% 12.3%
60 to 64 4.4% 5.4% 5.7%
65 and over 1.3% 2.0% 2.2%

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

Notes

Population: 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 5 shows the distribution of federal public servants by age for 2000, 2010 and 2018. Up until 2015, baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1966) made up the largest group of federal public servants; however, they are being replaced by Generation Xers (people born between 1967 and 1979) and millennials (people born after 1979). Generation Xers now represent the largest group of public servants (40.6%).

Figure 5: federal public servants by age band, 2000, 2010 and 2018
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Figure 5 - Text version
Figure 5: federal public servants by age band, 2000, 2010 and 2018
Age band Age 2000 2010 2018
Under 25 Under 17 7 14 2
  17 to 18 137 155 157
  19 to 20 1,207 1,783 1,995
  21 to 22 2,663 4,194 4,652
  23 to 24 3,927 6,571 6,248
25 to 34 25 to 26 4,950 8,977 7,668
  27 to 28 5,950 10,472 8,335
  29 to 30 7,035 11,970 8,861
  31 to 32 7,877 12,687 10,605
  33 to 34 9,538 13,518 12,304
35 to 44 35 to 36 11,689 13,327 13,537
  37 to 38 13,263 13,585 15,069
  39 to 40 15,219 14,318 15,859
  41 to 42 16,223 14,393 16,340
  43 to 44 16,858 15,676 15,722
45 to 54 45 to 46 17,432 17,912 15,766
  47 to 48 17,250 18,729 15,952
  49 to 50 16,480 19,439 15,421
  51 to 52 14,526 19,270 15,995
  53 to 54 10,254 18,352 17,708
55 to 64 55 to 56 6,802 14,792 15,210
  57 to 58 5,150 11,731 13,001
  59 to 60 3,320 8,497 9,910
  61 to 62 1,768 5,577 6,593
  63 to 64 1,083 3,359 4,564
65 and over 65 to 66 575 1,665 2,704
  67 to 68 342 967 1,561
  69 and over 398 1,048 1,827

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

Notes

Population: 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 for each year represents two years of age, with the exception of the first and last bar. The first bar for each year includes all individuals under 25 years of age, and the last bar for each year includes all individuals 65 years of age and over. Employees whose age is unknown have been excluded.

Hiring into the core public administration

Figure 6 shows indeterminate hiring in the core public administration over time. Indeterminate hiring has been on the rise since the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year. New indeterminate hiring in the core public administration increased by 33.1%, from 11,085 in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year to 14,751 in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Figure 6: new indeterminate hires into core public administration (CPA) from the 2000 to 2001 fiscal year to the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year

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Figure 6 - Text version
Figure 6: new indeterminate hires into core public administration (CPA) from fiscal year 2000 to 2001 to fiscal year 2017 to 2018
Fiscal year Number of new
indeterminate
hires into CPA
Millennials
(%)
Non-millennials
(%)
2000 to 2001 9,986 0.4% 99.6%
2001 to 2002 12,365 1.1% 98.9%
2002 to 2003 14,130 2.4% 97.6%
2003 to 2004 14,084 4.2% 95.8%
2004 to 2005 9,395 7.7% 92.3%
2005 to 2006 11,092 13.7% 86.3%
2006 to 2007 13,342 19.6% 80.4%
2007 to 2008 17,258 25.9% 74.1%
2008 to 2009 19,968 31.5% 68.5%
2009 to 2010 16,304 36.3% 63.7%
2010 to 2011 11,677 40.9% 59.1%
2011 to 2012 8,642 43.7% 56.3%
2012 to 2013 2,865 44.8% 55.2%
2013 to 2014 4,315 47.7% 52.3%
2014 to 2015 6,093 53.7% 46.3%
2015 to 2016 7,698 54.1% 45.9%
2016 to 2017 11,085 60.6% 39.4%
2017 to 2018 14,751 37.8% 62.2%

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

The hiring of new indeterminate employees who are millennials increased by 1.6% (from 60.6% in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year to 62.2% in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year). During this same period:

  • the hiring of new indeterminate employees from the baby boomer generation decreased from 12.9% to 11.5%
  • the hiring of those who are Generation Xers decreased slightly from 26.6% to 26.3%Footnote5
Figure 7: new indeterminate hires into core public administration in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, by age
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Figure 7 - Text version
Figure 7: new indeterminate hires into core public administration in fiscal year 2017 to 2018, by age
  Age Number of new indeterminate hires in the CPA
Baby boomers Generation X Millennials
17 5
18 33
19 17
20 50
21 118
22 404
23 595
24 646
25 684
26 735
27 680
28 695
29 588
30 553
31 578
32 531
33 508
34 489
35 452
36 457
37 92 333
38 386 20
39 390
40 379
41 338
42 314
43 285
44 299
45 282
46 270
47 233
48 222
49 228
50 51 163
51 187 3
52 206
53 209
54 215
55 152
56 130
57 124
58 97
59 69
60 78
61 59
62 36
63 18
64 15
65 20
66 9
67 6
68 3
70 4
Over 70 4
Median age 34

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

Figure 7 shows the entire age distribution of new indeterminate hires in the core public administration. The median age was 34.

Retirements from the federal public service

As shown in Figure 8, the retirement rate:

  • increased slightly between the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year and the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year (from 3.2% to 3.6%)
  • dropped to 3.4% in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year

The preliminary estimate for the retirement rate for the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year is 3.3%.

Figure 8: historical and projected retirement rates for the federal public service, 2014 to 2015 fiscal year to the 2022 to 2023 fiscal year
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Figure 8 - Text version
Figure 8: historical and projected retirement rates for federal public service, fiscal year 2014 to 2015 to fiscal year to 2022 to 2023 fiscal year
Type of rate Fiscal year Retirement rate
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%
2016 to 2017 3.4%
2017 to 2018 3.3%
Estimated 2018 to 2019 3.3%
Projected 2019 to 2020 3.3%
2020 to 2021 3.3%
2021 to 2022 3.4%
2022 to 2023 3.4%

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

Notes

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

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.

Years of experience in the federal public service

Figure 9 shows the distribution of indeterminate federal public servants by years of experience. Between March 2017 and 2018:

  • employees with 0 to 4 years of experience represented the largest increase (from 11.9% in March 2017 to 15.4% in March 2018)
  • employees with 5 to 14 years of experience represented the largest decrease (from 49.3% in March 2017 to 43.2% in March 2018)

Based on estimations for March 2019, indicated by the dotted line on the graph:

  • the proportion of employees with 0 to 4 years of experience will be 18.9%
  • the proportion of employees with 5 to 14 years of experience will be 40.1%
  • the proportion of employees with 15 to 24 years of experience will be 28.2%
  • the proportion of employees with 25 years or more will be 12.8%

Projections up to March 2029 estimate that these proportions will have changed to 17.4%, 37.3%, 29.4% and 16.0%, respectively.

Figure 9: percentage of indeterminate federal public servants by years of experience, 2000 to 2019 and for 2029 (projected)
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Figure 9 - Text version
Figure 9: percentage of indeterminate federal public servants by years of experience, from 2000 to 2019 and for 2029 (projected)
Year 0 to 4 years 5 to 14 years 15 to 24 years 25 years or more
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%
2017 11.9% 49.3% 25.2% 13.6%
2018 15.4% 43.2% 28.0% 13.5%
2019 18.9% 40.1% 28.2% 12.8%
2029 17.4% 37.3% 29.4% 16.0%
Figure 9 also shows the percentage of indeterminate federal public servants by years of experience for 2018:
0 to 4 years 5 to 14 years 15 to 24 years 25 years or more
11.9% 49.3% 25.2% 13.6%

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

Notes

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

The projected 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.

Knowledge-intensive workforce in the core public administration

In 1990, the public service 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
  • technological advances since 2000

As shown in Figure 10, the five largest knowledge-intensive occupational groups in the core public administration increased since 2000. These groups are:

  • Administrative Services (AS)
  • Program Administration (PM)
  • Computer Systems (CS)
  • Economics and Social Science Services (EC)
  • Executive (EX)

In 2018, these occupational groups represented 43.4% of the core public administration workforce; in 2000, they represented only 31.8%.

Figure 10: five largest occupational groups in core public administration (CPA) in select years from 2000 to 2018, as percentage of CPA
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Figure 10 - Text version
Figure 10: five largest occupational groups in core public administration (CPA) in select years from 2000 to 2018, as percentage of CPA
Occupational group 2000 2005 2010 2015 2018
AS 9.9% 12.2% 13.8% 14.5% 14.7%
PM 9.7% 12.8% 11.3% 10.8% 11.8%
CS 5.5% 6.6% 6.4% 7.0% 6.8%
EC 4.4% 5.3% 5.9% 6.6% 7.4%
EX 2.2% 2.4% 2.5% 2.5% 2.5%

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

Notes

Population: 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 (and 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, when it became a separate agency. The Canada Border Services Agency was created in 2003 and is part of the core public administration; most of its employees were transferred from the Canada Revenue Agency.

On , 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.

Part 2: executives

In this section

This section provides demographic information about the federal public service’s Executive group.

Typically, assistant deputy ministers (classified as EX-04 and EX-05) fulfill senior leadership functions, providing strategic direction and oversight. 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 Executive group

As of , there were 6,678 executives in the federal public service:

  • about half of them (50.7%) were EX-01s
  • only 6.4% were EX-04s and EX-05s

Between 2000 and 2018, the federal public service executive workforce grew by 60.9% because:

  • there was an overall increase in knowledge-based occupational groups
  • there was an increase in the number of director-level positions classified as EX positions
  • deputy heads had control of the size of the Executive group

During the same period, the overall federal public service grew by 29.1%. From 2017 to 2018, the number of executives increased by 3.1%. In 2018, executives made up 2.4% of the entire federal public service, up from 2.3% in 2008 and 2.0% in 2000.

Executive diversity

First official language of executives

As shown in Figure 11, between 2000 and 2018, the proportion of executives in the federal public service who indicated that French is their first official language increased from 26.2% to 32.3%. However, for the overall federal public service, the comparable figures show a decrease, with 29.7% and 29.1%, respectively.

Figure 11: federal public service executives by first official language, 2000 and 2018
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Figure 11 - Text version
Figure 11: federal public service executives by first official language, 2000 and 2018
Language 2000 2018
English 73.8% 67.7%
French 26.2% 32.3%

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

Notes

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 federal public service

Figure 12 shows the age breakdown of federal public service executives for 2010, 2015 and 2018. The average age of executives in the federal public service remained relatively unchanged between 2010 and 2018, at 50.2 years of age. The proportion of executives under 50 years of age remained relatively constant between 2010 and 2018, at approximately 46.7% and 47.6%, respectively.

Figure 12: federal public service executive population distribution by age band, 2010, 2015 and 2018
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Figure 12 - Text version
Figure 12: federal public service executive population distribution by age band, 2010, 2015 and 2018
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
2010 0.0% 1.4% 7.4% 15.6% 22.4% 28.0% 18.4% 5.8% 1.0%
2015 0.0% 0.8% 6.9% 15.6% 22.8% 27.7% 19.2% 5.8% 1.2%
2018 0.0% 0.9% 6.2% 17.1% 23.5% 27.5% 17.6% 6.0% 1.2%

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

Notes

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 13 shows that between 2000 and 2018:

  • the average age of junior executives at the EX-01 to EX-03 levels in the federal public service remained stable at approximately 50 years of age
  • the average age of senior executives at the EX-04 to EX-05 levels hovered between 53 and 54 years of age
Figure 13: average age of junior and senior executives, select years, 2000 to 2018
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Figure 13 - Text version
Figure 13: average age of junior and senior executives, select years, 2000 to 2018
Level 2000 2005 2010 2015 2018
EX 01 to EX 03 49.8 50.6 49.9 50.1 50.0
EX 04 and EX 05 52.5 53.9 53.5 53.7 53.4

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

Notes

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.

Part 3: highlights from employee surveys

2018 Public Service Employee Survey

The Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) has been conducted every three years since 1999. The Office of the Chief Human Resources Office (OCHRO) of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) transitioned from the triennial survey to an annual survey in 2018, which will enable departments and agencies to measure and track progress more frequently. The annual PSES will contain:

  • core questions that are repeated every year
  • questions that are inserted on a rotational basis
  • questions related to current and emerging government priorities
  • organization-specific questions

The 2018 PSES was developed by OCHRO and conducted from to .

A total of 163,121 employees in 84 federal departments and agencies responded to the 2018 PSES, for a response rate of 57.7%.

Results show that employees are engaged in their work: 80% of employees indicated that they like their job, which is the same percentage as for the 2017 PSES.

Perceptions of senior management are similar to what was found in the 2017 results. In 2018, 58% of employees indicated they have confidence in senior management (57% in 2017).

Employees feel more positive about training but less positive about support for their career development:

  • 70% of employees felt that they get the training needed to do their job, an improvement from 2017 (66%)
  • 53% of employees felt that their organization does a good job of supporting employee career development, a decrease from 2017 (57%)

Fifteen percent of employees reported harassment on the job in the past 12 months, and 8% of employees reported discrimination on the job in the past 12 months.

Pay system issues, which have not changed considerably since 2017, remain the top stressor for employees. Seventy percent of employees have been affected by issues with the pay system, and only 36% of those affected are satisfied with the support they receive from their department to resolve these issues.

Most employees believe that their workplace is respectful, and the results relating to respect in the workplace were slightly better than they were in 2017. Seventy-eight percent of employees indicated that their organization implements activities and practices that support a diverse workplace, a slight increase from 2017 (76%).

Results about psychological health in the workplace were more positive than in 2017, with 71% of employees indicating that their organization does a good job of raising awareness of mental health in the workplace, up from 67% in 2017. Also, 59% of employees described their workplace as being psychologically healthy, an improvement from 2017 (56%).

The results on diversity and inclusion have remained relatively stable compared to 2017, as 78% of employees indicated that their organization implements activities and practices that support a diverse workplace, a slight increase from 2017 (76%).

For more information, consult the results of the 2018 Public Service Employee Survey.

2018 Student Exit Survey

The Student Exit Survey was developed to:

  • inform recruitment and onboarding strategies
  • contribute to improvements to the student application process
  • lead to enhancements of student work assignments

The survey was conducted between and , and included questions related to different stages of the student work term, such as:

  • the application process
  • onboarding
  • the workplace
  • the quality of work

Sixty-five organizations participated in the survey, yielding over 6,515 completed surveys. More than half of survey respondents (57%) reported that their first student work term was in summer 2018. A similar proportion (54%) indicated that they were hired through FSWEP (the Federal Student Work Experience Program).

Overall, the results of the Student Exit Survey were quite positive and similar to those of 2017:

  • nine out of ten students (90%) agreed that, overall, they had a positive work experience
  • almost all students reported that they were treated as part of the team (92%) or that they attended regular team meetings (86%)
  • three out of four students (76%) indicated that work assigned to them was interesting
  • the majority of students (82%) felt that they had gained an understanding of how government works
  • three out of four students (76%) indicated that they would seek a career in the federal public service, and 82% would recommend a public service career to other students

However, similar to results in 2017, students were less positive about certain aspects of their work or work conditions:

  • almost one in four students (23%) believed that they were given too little work
  • more than half of survey respondents (54%) were impacted by pay issues related to Phoenix, and 49% of the impacted students were satisfied with the support they received from their department or agency to help resolve their pay issues

Students were asked to identify the top three most and least important factors in choosing future employment after completing education. The three most important factors were:

  • interesting work (47%)
  • competitive wages (41%)
  • opportunity to work in their field of study (41%)

The three least important factors selected were:

  • job location (40%)
  • flexible work arrangements (31%)
  • flexibility to work in different areas of the organization (35%)

Students were asked the extent to which they agreed with the following statements about the federal public service:

  • 9 out of 10 students (88%) agreed that “the federal public service has excellent benefits and pension plan”
  • 45% of respondents agreed that “the federal public service has efficient business processes”

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2019,
ISSN: 2561-6838

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