05 November 2021

The inaugural Te taunaki e anga whakamua ai te Ratonga Tūmatanui | 2021 Public Service Census shows public servants are strongly motivated by a spirit of service and are in the job to make a difference for the communities they serve. 

The Public Service Census found:

  • Most public servants (84 percent) are strongly motivated to stay working in the Public Service because their work contributes positively to society
  • Making a positive contribution to society was the most common (57 percent) reason people join the Public Service
  • Nine out of ten (89 percent) public servants understand how their work leads to improved outcomes for communities

It also found 77 percent of public servants are in the job because their work helps people in the community. And 63 percent stay because of their belief in the purpose and principles of the Public Service.

Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes said the Census results were very pleasing and prove that what unites our Public Service is a spirit of service to the community.

“The results show what I have always believed - public servants are motivated by something bigger than themselves, a higher purpose,” said Mr Hughes.

“It’s coming to work every day wanting to make a difference for New Zealand and the communities we serve.”

Nearly 40,000 public servants from 36 agencies responded to the survey in May and June of this year.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a more visible example of the Public Service in action and the hard work of public servants who are in the job to make a difference for New Zealand.   

“It is in times of crisis when the spirit of service that unites public servants comes to the fore,” said Mr Hughes.

Monday night (8 November) is the annual Public Service Day awards event, a once-a-year opportunity to celebrate the spirit of service public servants bring to their work every day. Public Service medals recognising meritorious service, and commendations for frontline excellence, have been awarded since 2018.

“Every day all around the country public servants are doing great work to make a difference for New Zealand and New Zealanders,” said Mr Hughes. “They deserve our support. And recognition.”



Media queries: Grahame Armstrong 021 940 457 or grahame.armstrong@publicservice.govt.nz