Staff numbers

Staff numbers in the Public Service

In the year to 30 June 2008, the number of staff in the Public Service increased by 3.6% (1,599 employees) to a 45,934 headcount (43,569 FTEs). Public Service staff numbers have grown for eight consecutive years, at an average rate of 5.5% per year (1,987 employees per year). In percentage terms, the increase of 3.6% to 30 June 2008 was the smallest since the survey began in 2000. Table 1 shows the data since 2003.

Table 1. Public Service employment, 2003-2008

   

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

    Headcount

Open-term

32,200

34,477

36,612

38,661

40,976

42,404

Fixed-term

2,245

3,388

3,713

3,607

3,359

3,530

Total Headcount

34,445

37,865

40,325

42,268

44,335

45,934

Percentage change

4.9%

9.9% 3

6.5%

4.8%

4.9%

3.6%

               

    Full Time Equivalents (FTEs)

Open-term

31,107

33,131

35,231

37,340

39,499

40,879

Fixed-term

2,012

2,514

2,801

2,773

2,548

2,690

Total FTE

33,118

35,645

38,032

40,113

42,047

43,569

Percentage change

4.8%

7.6%

6.7%

5.5%

4.8%

3.6%

Changes in individual departments

Changes in FTE staff numbers varied between departments (refer to Appendix 1). Excluding the effects of machinery of government changes, the percentage change over the year ranged from -13% in the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs (MPIA) to 18% for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). These are two of the smallest Public Service departments, and the percentage changes are based on very small numbers (six in MPIA and five in SFO).

Staff increases were spread over 22 departments compared with 26 departments in 2007. One department recorded no change in staff numbers (two in 2007) and 10 departments decreased in size (five in 2007). See Appendix 1 for details of staffing in individual departments since 2003.

Most (86%) of the recent increase in FTE staff numbers can be attributed to five departments: Department of Corrections (471), Inland Revenue (285), the Department of Labour (200), the Ministry of Justice (194), and the Ministry of Health (154). These five departments provided additional information explaining the recent staff increases.

Staff increases at the Department of Corrections are a result of ongoing recruitment of staff to support the new Spring Hill and Otago Regional Corrections Facilities (both commissioned in 2007), and significant growth in the Community Probation and Psychological Services.

The Inland Revenue Department attributes additional staff numbers to an increase in infrastructure support for KiwiSaver and other government initiatives.

The majority of additional staff at the Department of Labour were front-line immigration staff employed to support the increase in work volumes over the past year. The staff increase is in line with the department's funding model for visa and permit services provided by Immigration New Zealand.

The Special Jurisdictions area within the Ministry of Justice has grown significantly over the last three years, following the transfer of new functions including Weathertight Homes, Adjudication, Coronial Services and Māori Land Court Projects. Additional staff in the Chief Electoral Office and the establishment of the National Transcription Service in Higher Courts account for much of the growth over the past year.

Staff increases at the Ministry of Health are attributed to significant new activity including information systems development 4 , the national Health Targets, regulatory changes to improve patient safety (Medsafe), and increased programme delivery within the national cervical screening programme 5 .  Some activities 6 are for a fixed period of time and do not reflect a permanent increase in staff numbers.

There was one significant 'machinery of government' change since the last survey, with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority established as a new Public Service department on 1 July 2007 (previously part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry).

Staffing changes by region

The HRC survey has collected regional data since the survey began in 2000. As at 30 June 2008, 41% of the Public Service workforce was based in Wellington, 20% in Auckland, 21% in other parts of the North Island, and 17% in the South Island. Table 2 shows Public Service headcounts, over the five years to 30 June 2008, within four broad regional groups.

Table 2. Headcounts by region, 2003 to 2008

 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Change over the year to 30 June 2008

Change over the five years to 30 June 2008

Auckland

6,732

7,558

8,177

8,539

8,901

9,406

5.7%

39.7%

Wellington 7

13,912

14,970

16,193

17,488

17,894

18,698

4.5%

34.4%

Rest of the North Island

7,703

8,669

9,060

9,134

9,880

9,750

-1.3%

26.6%

South Island

5,871

6,430

6,639

6,827

7,335

7,780

6.1%

32.5%

Overseas and Unknown

226

238

256

280

325

300

-7.7%

32.7%

Staffing changes by occupation

The Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) was introduced to the survey last year, replacing the outdated New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (NZSCO). With two years of ANZSCO data, changes in the occupational mix of the Public Service can now be examined.

Since the 2007 report, a set of customised Public Service occupation groups has been developed and tested with HRC survey users. These occupation groups are shown in Table 3 and provide a more tailored breakdown of the Public Service workforce than the standard ANZSCO top level groups 8 .

Four occupation groups had the largest impact on Public Service staff numbers. The number of 'Advisors and Policy Analysts' increased by 14%, and 'ICT Professionals and Technicians' increased by 11%. The 'Clerical and Administrative Workers' and the 'Inspectors and Regulatory Officers' groups had lower percentage increases (6% and 4%), but due to the size of these occupation groups they make a significant contribution to the overall increase in staff numbers.

Table 3. HRC occupation groups, 2007 and 2008

       
 

Headcount

Percentage change in Headcount

 

2007

2008

(%)

Managers

4,994

5,217

4

Advisors and Policy Analysts 9

3,094

3,516

14

Information Professionals

2,530

2,439

-4

Social, Health and Education Workers

7,962

7,976

0

ICT Professionals and Technicians

1,689

1,881

11

Legal, HR and Finance Professionals

2,384

2,476

4

Other Professionals

2,198

2,228

1

Inspectors and Regulatory Officers

8,634

9,011

4

Contact Centre Workers

2,101

2,058

-2

Clerical and Administrative Workers

8,119

8,632

6

Other Occupations

319

290

-9

Unknown

311

210

-32

Total

44,335

45,934

4

Secondments

This is the first year that both the host and home organisation in a secondment arrangement have been collected. Knowing which organisations are lending and receiving staff provides a richer view of secondments in the sector.

As at 30 June 2008, 89 Public Service employees were on secondment to another organisation. Of these 89 secondees, 56 were seconded to other Public Service departments, 21 were seconded to overseas or private sector organisations and 12 were seconded to another organisation within the public sector.

Comparison to wider public sector and labour market

Between 2003 and 2008, employment in the public sector as a whole increased by 36,452 to 335,012 (12.2%) compared with an increase of 232,000 to 2,163,800 (12.0%) in the employed labour force.

As at 30 June 2008, the Public Service made up 14% of total public sector employment (12% in 2003), and has grown more rapidly than the other parts of the sector over the last five years. Figure 1 shows relative size of the different parts of the public sector.

Figure 1. Public sector and labour market context - 2008

(For extra clarity, view Figure 1 here as a PDF file)

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Source: Statistics NZ, Household Labour Force Survey, Quarterly Employment Survey and State Services Commission, HRC Survey.

3 In 2004 1,035 employees were reclassified from casual employees (outside of the survey scope) to permanent or temporary employees. Without this change the percentage increase in headcount for 2004 would have been 7%.

4 Information systems development includes the National Systems Development Programme, and the New Zealand Health Information System.

5 Other activity includes B4 school checks (free health checks for 4 year olds), effective interventions in the criminal justice system, projects related to the Quality Improvement Committee, and increased capacity in the Sector Capability and Innovation directorate to assist with outcomes associated with "Building a Healthy Future".

6 For example, the National Systems Development Programme.

7 Regional data in the HRC is collected at a regional council level. The Wellington regional council includes four city councils (Wellington, Hutt, Upper Hutt, and Porirua) and five district councils (Kapiti Coast, South Wairarapa, Carterton, Masterton, and Tararua).

8 Top level ANZSCO groups include Sales Workers, Machinery Operators and Drivers, and Labours. Very few public servants are employed in these types of roles.

9 The 'Advisors and Policy Analysts' group is based on the single ANZSCO code 224412: Policy Analyst. Many advisory roles that can not be classified to another functional area are coded to 224412. Over 40% of the positions in this category contain 'advisor' in the job title.

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