Overall gender parity for the public sector's graduate programs has largely remained consistent but some departments have a harder time achieving it, new data obtained by The Canberra Times shows.
The gender split for 2020's graduate intake of 1375 new public servants reached 51.1 per cent favouring women, figures given by the Australian Public Service Commission highlight.
The percentage marks a swing back toward a higher number of women taking the roles after two years of leaning toward men.
Overall, the split has remained largely consistent since 2011 but broken down by agency and department, the data tells a slightly different story.
Departments and agencies that have been historically considered as more male-dominated have struggled to reach gender parity on the graduate level but all faced some increases.
The Department of Defence increased women in its graduate program from 37 per cent in 2019 to nearly 44 per cent during 2020.
Treasury worked to rectify criticism levelled at its 2019 graduate intake, which consisted of 25 per cent women. In 2020, it increased those levels to 42 per cent.
Finance and the Australian Taxation Office also crept closer toward the 50 per cent figure, increasing minimally to 42.4 and 42.9 per cent respectively.
Central department Prime Minister and Cabinet had a 65 per cent gender split toward women in 2019 but the figure levelled out to 54 per cent in 2020.
On the other hand, typically women-dominated departments such as Social Services and Health sky-rocketed further during the year.
Social Services took on 74 graduates during 2020 with 53 of them, or nearly 72 per cent, identifying as a woman. It marked a nearly 20 per cent increase on the previous year.
Health's graduate program also veered toward women graduates, increasing by 4 per cent to reach a new total of nearly 76 per cent.
The figures for graduate gender parity provide a positive outlook but in conjunction with other public service data highlight issues in career progression for women.
The APSC's recent State of the Service report highlighted women in the public sector dominate the higher APS 5 and 6 levels but start to taper off at executive and senior level roles.
Between APS 2 and APS 5, women sit comfortably in the 60 per cent range when compared to male counterparts but that starts to decline at the executive level.
While SES band 1 remained relatively even for the year, SES band 2 and 3 showed women dropped to 42 and 45 per cent respectively.
APSC commissioner Peter Woolcott said gender equality would remain an issue the sector was working toward improving.
"The APS will continue to focus on gender equality in its workforce through the refreshed Gender Equality Strategy," Mr Woolcott said in the report.
Gender parity marks just one step for the sector with many other factors such as race, cultural background, religion, sexuality and language also slowly being needing to be addressed.
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