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Defence Census
putting the people into our planning

Benefits of the Defence Census

Benefit to Members

Collection of demographic data is essential in developing Defence policies and employment conditions that meet the contemporary and emerging needs of the Defence workforce. The information from past Censuses has been used extensively to improve conditions of service and overall lifestyle of Defence personnel. This includes the procurement of housing and other accommodation in regional areas and providing evidence by which Defence can lobby governments for improved amenities in Defence population areas. By and large, the most important use of Census data is to inform and assist the development of personnel policies and conditions that keep pace with contemporary changes in Defence and society as a whole.

Workforce Planning

Defence cannot adopt a ‘total workforce approach’ to workforce planning without the demographic profile of its people. In order to meet current and future capability requirements, it is essential for Defence to have an understanding of issues such as workforce streams/professions currently in Defence, education level and age profile of its employees, etc. for both the ADF and APS employees. Information obtained from Defence Censuses enables Defence to compare itself with the external environment to determine whether it is an employer of choice and to determine whether it has the human capability needed to meet its current and future capability requirements. The Defence Census provides Defence with the data it needs to gain a better understanding of its workforce and the policies required to retain and develop the people it needs.

Benefit to Defence

Government Reporting

Government reporting on Defence workforce structure and future personnel requirements is increasing, as is reporting on wider APS workforce composition. PMKeyS partially fills this need; however, not at the level or breadth required of contemporary reporting requirements. There is a Defence/national interest to having and reporting this information.

Ongoing Assessments and Discrete Research

Defence needs to continually review its placement of services and policy emphasis (e.g. quality of working life). As Censuses are conducted over time, Defence has the ability to monitor workforce changes and modify personnel services and policies to meet changing needs.

Benchmarking Defence Demographics against the External Environment

Provisions such as education, childcare, housing and health services, along with access to community facilities and spouse employment are under the jurisdiction of various Government agencies. It is therefore important that Defence has up-to-date and authoritative information on its workforce when negotiating with various Government agencies and commercial providers. Regular Defence wide censuses ensure that the data remains contemporary.

Credibility of Census Data

The credibility of Census data is reinforced by keeping it regularly updated. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) national public Census is conducted every five years and Defence conducts a Census every four years. Defence poses questions in a similar manner to the ABS to ensure comparability with Australian society.