Public servants stay quiet on bullying

Well over half of Australia's public servants who have experienced workplace bullying or harassment did not report it over fears they would face reprisals or adversely impact their careers.

The findings of this year's employee census were revealed in the latest State of the Service report on Wednesday.

In the 2021/22 financial year, the public service received 627 complaints from employees about harassment and bullying, marking a slight increase from 615 reports in 2020/21.

While the proportion of people being bullied or harassed dropped to 9.7 per cent from 11.7 in 2021, the report said almost 60 per cent of workers chose not to speak up.

The most common reasons cited included believing action would not be taken, fear of possible retaliations or reprisals, and that the report would have a negative impact on their career.

The number of complaints of sexual harassment fell in the past financial year to 59, down from 78 in the previous year.

"The APS must maintain efforts to create an environment that supports and encourages the reporting of unacceptable behaviour," the report reads.

Verbal abuse and interference with work tasks, which includes withholding needed information or being undermined, were the two top reasons behind the reported incidents.

Women make up 60 per cent of the public service's workforce, yet despite forming the majority they are slightly under represented at the highest classification level of SES Band two and three.

About 46 per cent of roles held in that band classification are by women, while 53 per cent are men.