Diversity and Inclusion
Public Service chief executives have committed to a collective vision of State Services that reflect, understand and value the communities they serve. The Public Service workforce needs to have the diversity and cultural competence to design and deliver customer-centred services to an increasingly diverse New Zealand.
State Services Commission is supporting chief executives to lead improvements in diversity and inclusion in their agencies, with a current focus on sharing statistical and best practice information, growing professional networks and communities of practice, and identifying opportunities for co-ordination and collaboration. Further areas of work will include incorporating diversity and inclusion into relevant system priorities and expectations as well as exploring new approaches to leadership and talent that reflect the latest evidence and design thinking. State Services Commission expects to report on this work and the results achieved over time.
The proportion of women in the Public Service workforce continues to increase, reaching its highest level of 60.7% at 30 June 2016, up from 60.5% in 2015 and 56.2% in 2000. This compares with only 47.4% in the overall New Zealand labour force in the year to June 2016 (from Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey). The type of work in the Public Service may partly explain this high representation as many Public Service occupations such as ‘social workers’, ‘case workers’ and ‘clerical and administration workers’ also have a high representation of women in the wider labour market.
Female representation at the senior leadership level is lower than the proportion of women in the Public Service, but has increased over the past decade. As at 30 June 2016, the percentage of women in the top three tiers of senior management was 45.2%, up from 37.8% in 2007. If current trends continue, the Public Service will reach 50% female representation in senior leadership by around 2021 (see following graph).
The proportion of the Public Service workforce that is 55 years or older has increased over the last 15 years, from 10.3% in 2000 to 23.8% in 2016. This reflects what happened in the overall New Zealand labour force where the proportion of workers aged 55 years and over went from around 12% to 22% over the same period. The following graph shows that all occupational groups are affected, with the oldest groups on average being Managers; Social, Health and Education Workers; Inspectors and Regulatory Officers; and Clerical and Administrative Workers. Policy Analysts are the youngest age group on average. Pacific and Asian employees have a younger age profile than European staff and this may contribute to greater diversity in the Public Service in coming years.
There is increasing ethnic diversity in the Public Service. Although Europeans still made up the highest proportion (70.5%) in 2016, this has decreased steadily over the past 15 years. Māori representation (16.1%) in the Public Service workforce continued at high levels compared to the overall New Zealand labour force (12.7%). There was increased representation of Asian (8.9%) and Pacific (8.1%) staff in 2016. The increase in Asian staff is particularly pronounced in Auckland; Asians comprised 19.5% of Auckland Public Service employees in 2016.
Māori, Pacific and Asian ethnicities are still under-represented in the top three tiers of Public Service management. This will take time and deliberate effort to increase as non-European ethnicities are also under-represented at lower levels of management. The lack of ethnic diversity in management is a key challenge.
There are other ethnic differences in terms of Public Service occupations. European staff are over-represented as Managers and Policy Analysts. Māori and Pacific staff are well represented as Inspectors and Regulatory Officers, and as Social, Health and Education Workers but less so in other professions. Pacific and Asian staff are highly represented as Contact Centre Workers and Asian staff as ICT Professionals and Technicians.
State Services Commission obtained customised 2006 and 2013 census data from Statistics New Zealand to get a better picture of migrant flow into the Public Service. Around 25% of Public Service employees in 2013 were born overseas, up from around 22% in 2006 (see following graph). This compares to 27.6% of all employed New Zealanders in 2013, 27.4% of those working in the private sector and 36%-37% of those working in State Sector tertiary education and health roles. Around 38% of Public Service employees in Auckland were born overseas.
Migrants who became New Zealand Public Service employees have come from over 50 countries. Commonwealth countries have provided the largest proportion of overseas-born public servants, led by the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa, followed by India, Fiji and Samoa. By comparison, in the private sector a higher proportion of overseas-born employees have migrated from countries such as China, South Korea and the Philippines.
The HRC does not collect any data on disability in the Public Service. The Disability Data and Evidence Working Group (http://www.odi.govt.nz/what-we-do/better-evidence/) is working towards a standard for the collection of disability data. State Services Commission is committed to helping agencies use this standard to collect Public Service disability data.
Information from Statistics New Zealand’s 2013 Disability Survey estimates the rate of disability in the Public Service to be 16%, lower than that for the overall workforce (19%), although this difference is not statistically significant. The Public Service has similar rates of sensory and physical disability, but much lower rates of psychiatric or psychological disability. The rate for disabilities caused by accident is low in Public Service, which may be related to risk of injury being lower in a predominantly white collar context. The disability rate for managers and professionals is less in the Public Service compared to similar roles in the overall workforce. However, for other lower paid Public Service occupations, the disability rate is similar.
The overall gender pay gap in the Public Service appears to be narrowing again in 2016, after stalling between 2012 and 2015. As at 30 June 2016, the average salary was $80,293 for men and $69,438 for women, up 1.8% for men since 30 June 2015 and up 2.4% for women. This means the gender pay gap decreased by 0.5 percentage points to 13.5% . This is the lowest gender pay gap in the Public Service since measurement began in 2000.
The factors contributing to the gender pay gap are complex and can be difficult to disentangle. Specific changes that will have contributed to the fall in the gender pay gap over the past year are the increasing proportion of female senior leaders and decreasing gender pay differences in two of the Public Service’s largest occupation groups: Information Professionals and Social, Health and Education Workers.
Analysis of the HRC data has generated the following insights:
- The gender pay gap for senior leaders was 8.9% in 2016. This is low compared to the gender pay gap for all management roles (12.5%) and the Public Service as a whole (13.5%). Pay gaps are lower when people in more equivalent roles are being compared. For this reason, gender pay gaps tend to be lower than the overall gap for specific occupations.
- Gender pay gaps tend to increase with age, from 4.1% for those aged 25-29 years to 17.5% for those aged 55 to 59 years – although older age groups have also seen the biggest declines in gender pay gaps over time.
- Gender pay gaps vary greatly among departments, ranging from 46.4% in the Ministry of Defence to -3.0% in the Ministry for Women (where the average salary for women is higher than for men) in 2016. Differences in the gender pay gap across departments are generally driven by the extent to which departments have gender imbalances in their workforces. For example, women make up 82% of clerical and administrative roles in the Public Service, but only 61% of the total workforce. This occupational segregation - women being more likely to be working in lower-paid occupations - is a key driver of the gender pay gap.
- Even within the same occupational groups there are compositional differences between the genders in terms of seniority and experience. For example, women make up 52% of managers in the Public Service in 2016, but only 45% of senior managers (although this is up from 38% in 2008). Controlling for occupational group, seniority and experience (through age) reduced the size of the Public Service gender pay gap from 13.5% to 5.1% in 2016. This means that there is a 5.1% difference between male and female salaries that is ‘unexplained’ by occupational group, seniority or experience.
One factor that has not been adjusted for in this analysis is the impact of caring responsibilities on career progression and pay. Anecdotally this is another key driver affecting the gender pay gap. Caring responsibilities vary significantly across genders. As at 30 June 2016, there were 631 employees on parental leave (1.3% of the Public Service workforce), made up of 618 females and 13 males (i.e. 98% of people taking parental leave were women).
While data analysis can help to highlight some of the factors that contribute to pay gaps, it does not negate them as factors that need to be addressed in order to reduce the gender pay gap further.
Unlike the gender pay gap, ethnic pay gaps have not shown improvement over time. However, like the gender pay gap, ethnic pay gaps can relate to occupational segregation or the occupation profile of a particular ethnic group. Māori, Pacific and Asian public servants are over-represented in occupation groups that are lower paid. The graph below shows that in the Public Service men tend to be paid more than women, and Europeans tend to be paid more than other ethnicities.
Trend in Public Service Ethnic Pay Gaps
|Year||Asian Pay Gap||Maori Pay Gap||Pacific Pay Gap|
Public Service Average Salaries by Gender and Ethnicity, 2016
 State Services Commission reports the Public Service gender pay gap using average (mean) pay. This differs to Statistics New Zealand’s approach of using median pay when reporting the gender pay gap for the entire workforce. In 2016 the Public Service gender pay gap using median pay was 11.1%, compared to 12.0% for the entire workforce as reported by Statistics New Zealand.