Around 7,200 people were appointed to positions in Public Service departments in the year to June 2002. Some of these appointments represent movement between departments. The greatest volume of activity in appointments and cessations occurs amongst those aged under 35 years. The median age of appointees was 33.5 years (35.5 years for cessations), compared with 41.7 years for all staff.
Many of the staff who were appointed to, or left, departments over the last year had different employment characteristics from longer-serving staff. They were more likely to be filling shorter-term positions in high turnover, and low-paid, occupations. 41% of appointments were fixed-term employees.
Around half of the permanent staff who left during the last year had been with their department for less than three years. However around one-third of public servants have been with their department for more than 10 years and, based on current turnover rates, a total of 62% of current public servants are expected to serve at least ten years in their department before they leave.
Taken together, these figures suggest that a large number of public servants leave their department in any given year but there is also a substantial core of experienced staff who continue on. This pattern indicates there is considerable churn in some positions while other positions are more stable. The high churn positions, shown in Table 3above tend to fit into one of two categories. They are either:
jobs requiring generic skills that are common to many departments and/or other sectors and which tend to be relatively low paid; or
jobs requiring high-level skills that are found in only small numbers within departments, and which require employees to move between organisations to further their careers.