The Human Resource Capability (HRC) collection of Public Service workforce data provides information on the base salaries of staff in the Public Service as at 30 June each year. In 2019, the average (mean) annual salary was $81,300, an increase of 4.4% from the previous year. Private sector average earnings increased at a similar rate (4.6%) over the same period[2]. HRC salary movement is affected by changes in the occupational composition of the workforce, movement in staff pay, service increments, merit promotions, performance-related increases, and salary differences between new and departing staff. This salary movement is different to the LCI measures discussed in ‘Wage growth by sector’; LCI is a more refined measure of real wage movement.

The trend since 2000 is shown on the chart in first tab of the visualisation below. Since the global financial crisis in 2008/09 Public Service annual salary growth rate has averaged 2.6% over the last ten years (2010-2019), compared with the average growth rate of 4.5% in the previous nine years (2001-2009).

Median salaries measure the mid-point of the salary distribution (half of the employees are below or above this salary level). It is less affected than average salaries by a small number of employees with very high salaries. The median salary for Public Service employees was $69,800. The growth pattern is similar to that for average salaries, discussed previously.

Average salary varies widely amongst different occupations in the Public Service as shown on the chart in the second tab of the visualisation above. In June 2019, the average salary was highest for Managers ($140,700), followed by Policy Analysts ($100,900), ICT Professionals and Technicians ($96,500), Legal, HR and Finance Professionals ($95,100) and Information Professionals ($87,500). By contrast, Social, Health and Education Workers ($70,200), Inspectors and Regulatory Officers ($64,700), Clerical and Administrative Workers ($61,400) and Contact Centre Workers ($54,900) had lower average salaries.

Some of the lower and higher paid occupations are more prevalent amongst certain gender or ethnic groups. The different occupational composition within the gender and ethnic groups will have an impact on their pay gaps.

In the year to June 2019, average salaries increased the most (by 7.7%) for Social, Health and Education Workers. Over the past year there have been two significant pay equity settlements for social workers at Oranga Tamariki and Ministry of Education support workers (who support children in early childhood and primary schools with learning and behavioural challenges).

The average salary varies widely among departments. As at 30 June 2019, the average salary (excluding chief executives) ranged from $68,800 (Ministry of Justice) to $158,100 (Social Investment Agency).

Departments that have a higher proportion of staff in operational and service delivery jobs tend to have a lower average salary, e.g. Ministry of Justice, Department of Corrections, Ministry of Social Development, Department of Conservation and New Zealand Customs Service.

In contrast, agencies that have a larger proportion of staff in leadership, specialist professional and policy roles tend to have a higher average salary (e.g. Social Investment Agency, Pike River Recovery Agency, State Services Commission, Ministry of Defence, The Treasury and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Two new agencies had been added to the Public Service in 2019 including Te Arawhiti (Maori Crown Relations) and Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

The average salary of Social Investment Agency increased by 21% in 2019. This was due to its transition from a new agency setup in 2018 (with 1/3 permanent and 2/3 temporary fixed-term staff) to an established setup in 2019 with 94% permanent staff, mostly in management and information professionals.

[2]Calculated using average total hourly earnings for the private sector from Stats NZ’s Quarterly Employment Survey.

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