Fair and equitable pay is a question of fundamental human rights and everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand should have the same opportunities to achieve their career aspirations. Closing pay gaps is the right thing to do.

Pay should reflect the level of skills, responsibilities, effort, experience and working conditions and not be negatively affected by gender or ethnicity. Work is underway in the Public Service to close gender, Māori, Pacific and ethnic pay gaps.

Women are often under-represented in higher-level jobs
In 2021, Men in Aotearoa New Zealand earn on average 9% more than women
Pay gaps for Maori, Pacific and ethnic women are wider than for European women


Gender, Māori, Pacific and ethnic pay gaps are indicators of workplace inequities. But it’s not just about pay. Factors that contribute to the pay gap are:

  • the jobs women, Māori and Pacific people do
    While there are some notable exceptions in Aotearoa New Zealand today, women, Māori and Pacific people are more likely to be employed in a narrow range of occupations and at the bottom or middle levels of an organisation. Māori and Pacific women are even more concentrated in lower paid occupations than their Pākehā or male counterparts.
  • the value placed on jobs identified as women’s work
    The skills, responsibilities, effort and working conditions required by jobs in female-dominated occupations are not recognised or valued as they are in other occupations.
  • work arrangements and caring responsibilities
    Women in all ethnic groups still take on most of the family caring work. More women work part-time or flexibly to balance their paid and unpaid work. Part-time or flexible work is more available in lower paid occupations and positions. In addition, women are more likely than men to take parental leave, which also reduces the rates at which they progress in their careers.
  • lack of women, Māori, Pacific people in leadership
    Women, Māori, and Pacific people are less likely to hold leadership roles. This is partly due to the impact of part-time work and career breaks on women’s career progress. But it also reflects biased beliefs that men, especially European men, are natural leaders.
  • bias and discrimination
    Bias and discrimination is based on deeply held societal beliefs about gender, ethnicity, work and family. It underpins all the factors above. For instance, a New Zealand study showed that women are just as productive as men but are paid less than their male counterparts. Wāhine Māori, Pacific women and women from ethnic communities face both ethnic and gender bias and are paid less than men in the same ethnic group.



Taking action on gender pay gaps has also helped to close Māori, Pacific and ethnic pay gaps in the Public Service.

The Public Service Act 2020 calls for the Public Service to reflect the society it serves. Taking action to close gender, Māori, Pacific and ethnic pay gaps will help make Public Service workplaces fairer, and more diverse and inclusive.

2018-2020 Gender Pay Gap Action Plan

The 2018-2020 Te Mahere Mahi mō te Rerekētanga o te Utu nā te Ira Tangata Gender Pay Gap Action Plan (The Plan) asked Public Service agencies to address workplace gender inequality in four key areas. The Plan recognised that pay gaps are driven by a combination of things like bias and discrimination, over-representation of women in low paid occupations, and under-representation in leadership. The success of this plan has contributed to a significant drop in the Public Service gender pay gap.

Read our Progress report on the Plan.

Public Service Gender Pay Gap at its lowest level ever

The gender pay gap fell from 12.2% in 2018 to 8.6% in 2021. Māori, Pacific and Asian pay gaps also fell over this same period.

  • The Māori pay gap fell from 11.2% in 2018 to 8.3% in 2021
  • The Pacific pay gap fell from 21.6% 2018 to 17.9% in 2021
  • The Asian pay gap fell from 12.6% in 2018 to 11.6% in 2021.

This is a fantastic result but there is still more work to do. Women continue to be paid less that men in every ethnic group, and pay gaps for Māori, Pacific and ethnic women are wider than they are for European women.

2021-2024 Kia Toipoto | Public Service Pay Gaps Action Plan

The new Pay Gaps Action Plan builds on the achievements and success of the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan.  It recognises that common barriers drive all pay gaps, with more targeted action needed to accelerate progress for wāhine Māori, Pacific women, and women from ethnic communities.

This Pay Gaps Action Plan is a collaborative initiative by the Taskforce, Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina/PSA, the Ministry for Women, Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, the Ministry for Ethnic Communities and Employee Led Networks.

2021-2024 Kia Toipoto | Public Service Pay Gaps Action Plan

An Introduction to Pay Gaps and Kia Toipoto (PDF, 999KB)

Guidance: Ensuring bias does not influence starting salaries (PDF, 1MB)

Guidance: Ensuring bias does not influence salaries for the same or similar roles (PDF, 1.3MB)

Guide Implementing Kia Toipoto in small organisations (PDF, 419KB)

Kia Tiopoto FAQ

Ngā kōrero āwhina me ngā rauemi mō te Āputa Utu ā-Ira | Gender Pay Gap guidance and resources

The Gender Pay Principles provide a framework for creating working environments free from gender-based inequalities, based on collaborative action between agencies, employees and unions. Eliminating gender pay gaps is a key aim of the Principles.

Although this guidance has been developed with a focus on gender, it will help employers close all pay gaps and create fairer workplaces for all their employees.

Te Āputa Utu ā-Ira | Gender Pay Gap

Te tono kaimahi, te kauneke, me te utu | Hiring, progression and remuneration

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