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Invest in capability and talent development

An integrated workforce strategy, building and maintaining service-wide skills to deliver and innovate.


Professionalised functions across the service to deepen expertise

Empowered managers accountable for developing people and teams

Strategic recruitment, development and mobility to build the workforce of the future

21st century delivery, regulation and policy capabilities

Policy advice that integrates social, economic, security and international perspectives



  • The APS is a knowledge organisation and its most valuable asset is its people.
  • However, this asset can be taken for granted. Workforce planning is fragmented and ad hoc, current capability and future capability needs are unclear, and learning and development are rarely linked to agency objectives.
  • There are concerns that the APS’s capability has diminished over time, that there is too much unused potential, that specific skills gaps have emerged, and that the APS’s bench strength is not what it once was.
  • There are also concerns that successful leadership is more often concerned with responsiveness, and upward management, rather than the management and development of people.
  • The APS has long aspired to reflect the diversity of the broader community but there is more to do. The barriers to entry for outsiders are too high, which limits the range of skills, experience and insights across the service.
  • If not addressed, these weaknesses will be exacerbated in the coming years as the APS workforce is reshaped by technological and other trends.

The transformation opportunity

  • Empowered people with the right capabilities will lift overall performance of the APS, enabling the APS to best serve the government and the people of Australia.
  • An APS-wide workforce strategy, led by the APSC, presents a good opportunity to drive new approaches to long-term workforce planning and capability development. This will help the APS attract and retain a diverse workforce in an increasingly competitive labour market.
  • The approach to capability and talent development should be predicated on a sophisticated understanding of long-term workforce trends, including the opportunities flowing from technological advances. It should reflect a contemporary employee value proposition, centred on meaningful work, inclusive workplaces, and opportunities for development and growth for all employees.
  • A transformed workforce will underpin stronger institutional capacity, including to undertake deep research, evaluation and data analytics. It will also be critical to integrated policy approaches that take a strategic view of Australia’s interests across economic, social, security and international domains.