The number of temporary staff employed by the Australian public service jumped dramatically last year while permanent positions continued to decline.
The Australian Public Service Commission's latest statistical bulletin, designed to give policy makers a snapshot of the workforce, reveals a distinct trend in recruitment practices.
Last year, 16,273 temporary staff were on the books. That's a 27.2 per cent increase on the 12,792 permanent staff employed in 2014 when the bureaucracy was in the grip of a recruitment freeze.
Non-ongoing workers now account for 10.7 per cent of the entire federal bureaucracy, a 3.1 per cent jump on figures released by the commission mid-last year.
Late last year, Mr Lloyd introduced reforms to further boost the size of the bureaucracy's temporary workforce and to allow staff to be re-employed by their agency on a contract basis.
He has also announced plans restructure the government workforce making it more like the private sector and easier to fire permanent staff and hire temps, part-timers or contractors.
Many departments turned to temporary bureaucrats began during federal government's recruitment freeze - which eased in June - but their employment has continued in recent months.
The freeze, imposed as part of a cost-cutting agenda, was designed to limit expenses on staff although departments were still able to hire contract staff to fill gaps in the workforce.
The bureaucracy lost about 15,500 staff between June 2012, when its size peaked, and the end of 2014 when department bosses looked to contractors for short-term solutions.
The loop hole proved lucrative for recruitment agencies, who found themselves receiving tens of millions of dollars from departments and agencies.
Late last year, Karen Evans, the managing director of talent management company Acendre, said the jump in contractors demonstrated the need for departments to review their management processes.
"The APS could benefit from reviewing the roles and tasks they are bringing young contractors in to do," she said.
"With the end of the hiring freeze, some of these tasks may be able to be transferred to new permanent graduate staff.
"Looking for the skills necessary to take on these tasks should form a key component of the upcoming graduate recruitment strategy."
According to the Department of Finance's latest annual trends report, the number of IT contractors hired by the federal government has reached the highest level in eight years as departments spend big on new systems and capabilities.
David Smith, director of the Professional Australia union representing IT workers, said the government's approach to contractors was leading to "significantly higher costs".
"There is a clear trend towards greater use of contractors after significant efforts to bring such skills back in-house, including work on more competitive pay structures," he said.