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A more diverse Public Service

Friday, Oct 28, 2022

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The Public Service workforce is becoming more diverse and good progress is being made on gender equality and fairer wages for lower paid workers, according to data released last month.

Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes has published the 2022 Public Service Workforce Data, which provides a snapshot of trends in the Public Service workforce. It includes staff numbers, age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, salaries and gender pay gaps.

The information, collected from staff payroll data, shows the Public Service is becoming more reflective of the communities it serves, Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission says.

More women are occupying senior leadership roles and the gender pay gap is the lowest since measurement began in 2000.

The data shows the organisation is making good progress as a result of its focus on diversity and inclusion, the Commission says. “This work is supported by a programme of work to encourage positive workplace behaviours and we will measure our progress against this in the next Public Service Census.”

Diversity Works New Zealand Chief Executive Maretha Smit says that core government is leading the way in taking a data-driven approach to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We would like to see a similar focus in local government and, of course, in the private sector. There is, for instance, an opportunity for the NZX to expand the range of metrics that listed companies are required to report on. While this data would not be representative of the entire private sector, it would mean that our largest organisations in the private sector could also see where their gaps are and look at initiatives to close those gaps.

“Transparency around these metrics in the private sector would allow people to vote with their feet when it comes to where they spend their money or where they choose to work.”

Highlights from the Public Service Workforce Data data:

  • Diversity in the Public Service continues to increase and is now near or higher than New Zealand-wide working-age representation across most ethnic groups. Public servants who identify as Asian now represent 13.4% of the Public Service workforce, up from 9.4% in 2017 and 3.3% in 2000. Pacific people represent 10.6% of the workforce, up from 8.7% in 2017. Middle Eastern, Latin American and African public servants represent 2.1% of the workforce, up from 1.3% in 2017. Māori represent 16.7% of the Public Service workforce, up from 16.0% in 2017.
  • The average age in the Public Service is trending downwards. It is 44 years, after peaking at 44.8 years in 2015/16. Public servants under the age of 35 now make up 31% of the workforce, compared with 25% in 2012.
  • The number of women in senior management roles continues to increase, now at 55.8% - up from 53.5% last year and 39.8% in 2010.
  • The gender pay gap in the Public Service at 30 June 2022 was 7.7%, down from 8.6% last year. This is the lowest gender pay gap in the Public Service since measurement began in 2000, when the gap was 18.6%.
  • In the last year, the Māori pay gap closed from 8.3% to 6.5% this year, and a significant improvement since 2017 when the gap was 11.3%. The Pacific pay gap has fallen from 21.7% in 2017, to 17.7% at June 2022. However, the Asian pay gap is 12.4%, increasing from 11.6% last year, against 12.1% in 2017. The Public Service is implementing a concerted action plan to close ethnic pay gaps. It is targeting bias and increased career and leadership development, and progression for people from Pacific and ethnic communities.

Peter Hughes says this has been achieved in the context of challenges facing the whole economy, including the borders remaining closed for much of the year, with all sectors of the economy, the Public Service included, experiencing tight labour market conditions.

“What is pleasing is that despite all the challenges, the Public Service is becoming more diverse, more inclusive and fairer paid. The result is a Public Service that better reflects and understands the communities it serves, which makes the Public Service a more attractive place to work.”

All 2022 Public Service Workforce Data is available on the Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission website.

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