A push to swell the ranks of the Australian Public Service's grey army looks set to meet resistance at the top level of the bureaucracy and among its political bosses.

The Human Rights Commission says older workers are being disproportionately hurt in redundancy drives, like the one gripping the public service, and it wants quotas and targets to ensure that the APS is doing its bit for older Australia.

But the Public Service Commissioner says the service does very well already with more than 30 per cent of permanent staff over 50 and about 11 per cent of new recruits in that age bracket.

Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick would not comment on a personal plea from Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan last week for him to consider recruitment targets.

Public Service Minister Eric Abetz was equally unenthusiastic when asked on Wednesday about his views on targets and quotas for older workers in the public service, with his office producing the same set of statistics.

Ms Ryan said last week that four out of 10 workers who lose their job in their 50s or 60s would spend at least two years on the dole, victims of a ''deeply ageist culture'' in Australia's workplaces.

The Discrimination Commissioner said workers aged 50 years and over were often targeted by redundancy programs like the one sweeping across the Commonwealth public service.

Ms Ryan said the federal government should be taking the lead on employing older Australians and she met with Mr Sedgwick in Canberra last week to push the idea of quotas or recruitment targets for departments and agencies.

But the commission's reaction was underwhelming, with a spokeswoman dismissing questions about the meeting.

''[Mr Sedgwick] does not comment on private meetings,'' she said.

Senator Abetz's office would not provide a statement from the minister but produced Public Service Commission figures showing the accelerating recruitment of older Australians by the public service.

''The percentage of APS employees aged 50 and over has increased from 14 per cent of all ongoing employees in June 1995 to 31 per cent of all ongoing employees in June 2013,'' a spokeswoman said.

''As a percentage of all ongoing engagements to the APS, those aged 50 and over has increased from 5.7 per cent in June 1995 to 11 per cent in June 2013.''

Ms Ryan's office declined a request for an interview with the commissioner.