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How Public Service chief executives' pay rates compare across the State sector

Public Service chief executives are paid less than chief executives in the wider State sector based on comparable job size

A comparison of Public Service chief executives' remuneration with remuneration for chief executives in State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), local government, Crown companies and council controlled organisations shows that the remuneration received by Public Service chief executives is less than the remuneration received by chief executives within the wider public sector based on comparable job size, and sometimes significantly so.

The graph below plots remuneration by job size for Public sector chief executives (including SOEs, local government and the larger council controlled organisations (CCOs) and locally owned trusts) split into four groups. The graph clearly shows the inverse relationship between remuneration and the Commissioner's influence, with the lowest remuneration by job size paid to Public Service CEs for whom the Commissioner's influence is greatest.


Red line: Public Service CEs - the Commissioner sets remuneration for this group

Yellow line: CEs of Tertiary Education Institutions and district health boards - the Commissioner consents or concurs to remuneration for this group

Light blue line: CEs of other Crown entities - the Commissioner is consulted on remuneration for this group

Dark blue line: CEs of other public sector organisations (largely local government bodies and some SOEs) – the Commissioner has no influence on remuneration for these CEs

The measure used is “total cost”, defined as the sum of total fixed remuneration and any performance payment received in the last year.

Notes on the graph:

a)   The data for the red, yellow and light blue lines comes from the State Services Commission’s records: 

  • note that the recent changes to setting remuneration for Public Service chief executives are not expected to have any impact in terms of this comparison.
  • for the yellow and light blue lines, a standard percentage of the performance component in chief executives' remuneration packages was used.

b)   Summary data for the dark blue line was purchased from remuneration consultants Strategic Pay Limited.


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