At CSIRO, we solve Australia’s greatest challenges with science. These are complex problems and solving them will make a real difference to the future of Australia and the planet. To do so, our people work with some of the most talented minds in their fields, not just in Australia, but in the world.

 We spark off each other, trust each other and collaborate closely to achieve more than we could individually. We strive to attract the best people and develop and engage them in an inclusive and diverse environment.

The number of staff increased by 202 this year

As at 30 June 2018, we had 5,767 staff, a full time equivalent of 5,190. Of these, 3,648 or 63 per cent, were classified within the research function.

Overall, the number of staff increased by 3.6 per cent (202) this year. Research science staff increased by 3.9 per cent (60). Voluntary staff turnover remained relatively low at 5.4 per cent. The proportion of female staff increased by 1 per cent to 41 per cent and the proportion of female research science staff remained constant at 27 per cent.

Table 2.1: Staff numbers (headcount).
Functional Area 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 % Female 2016–17 2017–18 % Female 2017–18
Research Scientists/Engineers 1,798 1,520 1,466 1,473 27 1,533 27
Research Project staff 1,874 1,669 1,752 1,803 41 1,809 42
Research Management 181 254 248 246 19 251 22
Research Consulting 47 40 54 58 22 55 26
Senior Specialists 17 21 20 21 43 19 42
Technical Services 569 537 586 621 16 672 17
Communication and Information Services 326 201 203 237 78 260 78
General Services 34 16 23 20 55 19 53
Administrative Support 980 908 909 942 75 999 75
General Management 138 103 106 144 40 150 45
Total headcount 5,964 5,269 5,367 5,565 40 5,767 41
FTE 5,423 4,836 4,864 4,990 38 5,190 39

On 1 July 2014, CSIRO implemented a new operating model. Under this model, we classified a broader range of leadership appointments as Research Managers. This led to an increase in the number of staff reported in this classification from that date. In 2016–17, the creation of Data61 led to the classification of new roles in General Management and changes in some functions led to an increase in staff reported in that functional area.

Our people strategy

Our extraordinary people are critical to CSIRO’s success and bring our excellent science to life. We are committed to fostering individual growth and providing equal opportunities for our people.

734 staff attended CSIRO Connect events across Australia

Our People Strategy is underpinned by the Cultural Alignment Program. Its key attributes are a culture of mutual trust, transparency and accountability, collaboration, and inclusion and participation.

The four focus areas of our strategy are:


Our leaders and staff are empowered to deliver our strategy. This year, we facilitated staff to more fully engage and take part in organisational decisions and change. We created explicit opportunities for staff to engage and collaborate across the organisation through CSIRO Connect employee events, round-table discussions, Leader Change webinars and crowd sourcing of ideas and challenges.

This year, 734 staff attended CSIRO Connect events across Australia. The Taking Action program has been initiated to begin addressing significant enterprise challenges identified by staff during the events. With an open invitation to contribute ideas and solutions, staff participating in CSIRO Connect 2018 have the opportunity to work directly on challenges during the events. It is expected that more than 2,000 staff will participate in CSIRO Connect 2018.


We support our staff to innovate to meet the needs of our customers and actively recruit staff who will contribute to our innovation agenda. CSIRO is developing a new approach to assessing and filling its future workforce and has established a student and early-career staff focus to deepen partner relationships with universities, increase engagement in education and training from school-age to PhD level, and help build Australia’s future science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and innovation-capable workforce. See details on our student programs.

Our students 2017–18

  • >150,000 primary and secondary school students in our science education programs
  • >2,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students
  • >380 Postdoctoral Fellows

This year, we also began work on our Employee Value Proposition to differentiate CSIRO as an employer of choice, improve our employee experience to retain and develop critical science capability, and attract new people to world-class science, engineering and digital research for Australia’s future. We will fully define and develop this proposition over the coming year.

We also delivered new learning and development initiatives to support our diverse people and teams. These initiatives will enable our staff to work together more effectively to solve complex problems and build critical skills, which will support our role as a catalyst in the innovation system.

We successfully piloted the Productive Collaborations program and delivered the Executive 360 Feedback and Coaching Program for the Executive and CSIRO Leadership teams. Over 280 coaching hours were provided during 2017–18. For details on our learning and development programs, see page 52.

Mobility and agility

In early 2018, CSIRO launched an organisation-wide secondment and mobility program called Switch to increase our contribution to the exchange of people and know-how between research, industry and government. It means we can bring our best people to where they are needed the most, quickly. The introductory phase, now underway, offers 25 placements open to all staff.

Diversity and inclusion

We aim to make our teams more diverse and inclusive by attracting people from across society and creating an environment where each individual is included and supported to realise their full potential. Through a workplace culture that accepts, values and enables difference, we are committed to building an inclusive culture of equitable opportunity, where you can bring your whole self to work.

In 2017–18, our diversity and inclusion initiatives included:

  • Launching the Balance flexible workplace initiative on 1 July
  • Submitting the CSIRO Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Plan Application, and Plan for the Athena Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN) Bronze Award
  • Increasing leader engagement through the SAGE program, all state roadshows and focus groups
  • Making the Chief Executive Panel Pledge to ensure equal gender representation on panels
  • Delivering a Gender Pay Gap analysis in collaboration with CSIRO’s Data61
  • Establishing Business Unit diversity and inclusion plans, aligned to our strategy
  • Delivering the Inclusive Leader pilot program in Agriculture and Food, to be rolled out across Business Units in 2018–19
  • Further integrating diversity and inclusion content into the CSIRO leadership development curriculum
  • Launching the new Pride@CSIRO network strategy.

For details on our diversity and inclusion programs, see Part 3: Activity 4 - Diversity and inclusion.

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