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.
The 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 representation of women in the Public Service workforce continues at a high level, with 60.5% of employees being female at 30 June 2017. This is slightly down from the record 60.7% in 2016, but up from 56.2% in 2000. This compares with only 47.3% in the overall New Zealand labour force as at 30 June 2017 (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 strongly over the past decade. As at 30 June 2017, the percentage of women in the top three tiers of senior management was 47.9%, up from 37.8% in 2007. If current trends continue, the Public Service will reach 50% female representation in senior leadership by around 2020 (see following graph).
The proportion of the Public Service workforce that is 55 years or older has increased over the last 17 years, from 10.3% in 2000 to 24.1% in 2017. 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 23% over the same period. The following graph shows that all occupational groups are affected, with the oldest groups on average being Clerical and Administrative Workers; Managers; Social, Health and Education Workers; and Inspectors and Regulatory Officers. Policy Analysts are the youngest age group on average, and have actually been getting younger on average since 2013. 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 (69.1%) in 2017, this has decreased steadily over the past 16 years. Māori representation (16.0%) in the Public Service workforce continued at high levels compared to the overall New Zealand labour force (12.6% in the year to 30 June 2017). There was increased representation of Asian (9.4%) and Pacific (8.7%) staff in 2017. The increase in Asian and Pacific staff is particularly pronounced in Auckland where they comprised 20.4% and 21.7% of Auckland Public Service employees in 2017 respectively. However, while Pacific staff are well represented compared to the overall labour force (where they make up 5.9% of the labour force), Asians continue to be under-represented (they make up 13.4% of the overall labour force).
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.
The 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. This compares to 27.6% of all employed New Zealanders in 2013, 27.4% of those working in the private sector and 36%-38% of those working in health and State Sector tertiary education. 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. Instead, SSC sources customised information on the Public Service from Statistics NZ. 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 the 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.
SSC is working with Statistics NZ and other relevant agencies to investigate developing practical guidance for employers around disability information.
The gender pay gap in the Public Service has had a large decrease for the second year in a row. As at 30 June 2017, the average salary was $81,610 for men and $71,376 for women, up 1.6% for men since 30 June 2016 and up 2.8% for women. This means the gender pay gap decreased by 1.0 percentage point to 12.5%. 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. In addition, there were nearly 1,000 extra Inspectors and Regulatory Officers in 2017 (just over half were female). This increase in numbers in an occupational group with a relatively low gender pay gap (5.4% in 2017) helped pull down the overall gap.
Analysis of the HRC data has generated the following insights:
- The gender pay gap for senior leaders was 9.7% at 30 June 2017. This is similar to the gender pay gap for other management roles (10.9%) and non-managerial Public Service staff (9.3%). Pay gaps are lower when people in more equivalent roles are being compared. For this reason, gender pay gaps tend to be lower for specific occupations than for the overall gap.
- Gender pay gaps tend to increase with age, with a particular jump between the 40 to 44-year age group (8.0% at 30 June 2017) and the 45 to 49-year age group (15.8%). This is evidence of structurally lower gender pay gaps for those currently aged below 45 years of age - the gender pay gap for the 40 to 44-year had been at a similarly high level five years ago, and the gap for the 35 to 39 year age group (now 8.3%) had also been much higher ten years previously. A key driver for this cohort effect is that women aged 40-44 years are more likely to hold senior managerial roles in 2017 than in 2012. This cohort effect should contribute to further falls in the overall gender pay gap has older cohorts with higher gender pay gaps retire from the Public Service.
- Gender pay gaps vary greatly among departments, ranging from 37.8% in the Ministry of Defence to -5.6% in the Ministry for Women (where the average salary for women is higher) at 30 June 2017. 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 82.5% of clerical and administrative roles in the Public Service, but only 60.5% 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 53.1% of managers in the Public Service at 30 June 2017, but only 47.9% of senior managers (although this is up from 38.4% in 2008). We estimate that differences in occupational group, seniority and experience (through age) between men and women explains around 57% of the overall gender pay gap of 12.5%.
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 2017, there were 639 employees on parental leave (1.3% of the Public Service workforce), made up of 628 females and 11 males (i.e. 98% of people on parental leave at 30 June 2017 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.
State Services Commission has reported the Public Service gender pay gap using average (mean) pay since 2000. This differs to Statistics New Zealand’s recommended approach  of using median pay when reporting the gender pay gap for the entire workforce. Median pay is the middle amount of pay earned - half of employees earn less and half earn more. Median pay better reflects the pay a typical employee receives. On the other hand, mean pay better reflects the effect of employees with very low or very high pay.At 30 June 2017, the Public Service gender pay gap using median pay was 9.7%, down from 11.1% in 2016. This was very similar to the gender pay gap of 9.4% (down from 12.0% in 2016) for the entire workforce as reported by Statistics New Zealand. The graph below shows how the gender pay gap measured using median salaries have declined over time for both Public Service (down from 16.7% in 2000) and the overall New Zealand workforce (down from 14.0% in 2000).
Trend in Gender Pay Gaps Using Median Salaries
Unlike the gender pay gap, ethnic pay gaps have not shown improvement over time and actually worsened in the year to 30 June 2017. The graph below shows that European women had the largest increase in average salaries in 2017, whereas increases in average salaries for Māori, Pacific and Asian men all lagged those for European men. 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.
Chief Executives are committed to ensuring that ethnic pay gaps have the same scrutiny afforded to them as gender pay gaps. The State Services Commission and other agency partners, working with a group of State Services Chief Executives, are undertaking work to explore the drivers behind ethnic pay gaps and identify ways to address them.
Trend in Public Service Ethnic Pay Gaps
|Year||Asian Pay Gap||Maori Pay Gap||Pacific Pay Gap|
2017 Public Service Average Salaries by Gender and Ethnicity and percentage increase since 2016
The State Services Commission is working with Statistics NZ, the Ministry for Women, and other relevant agencies to investigate developing practical guidance for employers around understanding and measuring workforce diversity, including for pay gaps. This may lead to changes in how SSC calculates pay gap information in the 2018 report. For example, there may be a greater emphasis on pay gaps based on median salaries.