What is the 2021 Public Service gender pay gap?

The Public Service gender pay gap in 2021 is 8.6%, down from 12.2% in 2018 when the Public Service Gender Pay Gap Action Plan 2018-20 was launched. It is now the lowest it has been since 2000, when measurement began.

Why has the gender pay gap fallen?

A combination of factors contributed to the fall in the gap over the last three years, including:

  • agencies implementing the Public Service Gender Pay Gap Action Plan have:
  • corrected the salaries of employees who weren’t paid in line with their value to the agency or with comparable colleagues
  • increased the proportion of women in management and leadership roles
  • agencies have lifted the pay of their lowest paid employees, where women are over-represented
  • pay equity settlements for Oranga Tamariki Social Workers and Ministry of Education Support Workers.

Are ethnic pay gaps also falling?

Pay equity settlements and the Public Service Gender Pay Gap Action Plan have contributed to reductions in gender and other pay gaps in the Public Service. Since 2018 and the launch of the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan:

  • the Māori pay gap has fallen from 11.2 percent in 2018 to 8.3 percent in 2021
  • the Pacific pay gap has fallen from 21.6 percent in 2018 to 17.9 percent in 2021
  • the Asian pay gap has fallen from 12.6 percent in 2018 to 11.6 percent in 2021.

Isn’t the Public Service gender pay gap the same as the national gender pay gap?

No. The Public Service gender pay gap is lower than the national gender pay gap when they are measured the same way (using median pay). When calculated using median pay, the Public Service gender pay gap is 5.6% compared with the national gap of 9.1% for 2021. See Gender Pay Gap comparison.

Why are the national and the Public Service gender pay gaps measured differently?

Te Kawa Mataaho calculates the Public Service gender pay gap differently to the way StatsNZ calculates the national gender pay gap. We use mean pay, which captures the effects of pay differences in the highest and lowest paid groups, e.g. more women in low paid roles and more men in high paid roles. StatsNZ calculates the national gender pay gap using median pay as it considers this better represents the pay that the typical employee receives. See Gender Pay Gap comparison.

What are the pay gaps for Māori, Pacific and Asian women in the Public Service?  

  • Te Kawa Mataaho publishes average pay for men and women by gender and ethnicity, as this makes it easier to compare the pay of all groups. See Pay by ethnicity and gender.
  • We prefer this approach because gender pay gaps for women of different ethnicities can be difficult to interpret because it is not always clear which groups are being compared with each other.

Is gender pay gap reporting mandatory in the Public Service?

The Public Service has a high degree of pay gap transparency and this has helped drive action to reduce pay gaps. Public Service gender and ethnic pay gaps and individual agency gender pay gaps are available back to 2001, see Workforce Data. In 2020, agencies started publishing their own annual Gender Pay Gap Action Plans, with their own gender pay and representation data. These are published on the Ministry for Women website.

Gender pay gaps are binary but gender isn’t

Yes, this is true. Gender pay gaps are an important, but not the only measure of workplace inequalities. Many employees, including gender diverse employees face bias and discrimination in the workplace. The Gender Pay Taskforce’s guidance started from the point of gender, but aimed to help agencies create fairer, and more diverse and inclusive workplaces forr all. See Gender, Māori, Pacific and ethnic pay gaps.

Who developed Kia Toipoto the Public Service Pay Gaps Action Plan?

Kia Toipoto has been developed by Te Whakapiri, a working group including Te Kawa Mataaho, Te Runanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina (the PSA Māori Network), the PSA including representation from its Pacific and ethnic networks, the Ministry for Women, Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples and the Ministry for Ethnic Communities and representatives of pan-Asian public service employees, disabled employees and employees from rainbow communities.

Who does Kia Toipoto apply to?

Kia Toipoto has the same coverage as the Government Workforce Policy Statement May 2021, which applies to:

  • Public Service Departments and Departmental agencies
  • Statutory Crown entities
  • Crown Entity Companies
  • Tertiary Institutions
  • NZ Police, NZ Defence Force and the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

Aren’t some organisations too small to implement Kia Toipoto?  

Kia Toipoto is flexible, so small organisations can scale and focus their work in a way that reflects their size. We will develop advice for small agencies and entities to help them do this.

Kia Toipoto is high level and light on detail – how will this work?

Kia Toipoto is a statement of intent, with milestones for agencies and entities to achieve over the next three years. It sets specific expectations to generate momentum, but this is just the beginning. Over the next three years, Te Whakapiri (the Kia Toipoto union and agency working group) will work alongside agencies and entities to develop guidance, tools and initiatives to help them meet the milestones in Kia Toipoto.

How will Te Kawa Mataaho measure progress?

Progress will be measured by monitoring annual Public Service gender and ethnic pay gaps and through agencies and entities’ own annual pay gap action plans, which will be published.

Has the focus moved away from gender?

No. Gender is central to Kia Toipoto. Kia Toipoto, however, has a broader reach than the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan. It also recognises the intersection of gender and ethnicity in its goal of accelerating gains for wāhine Māori, Pacific women and women from ethnic communities, who face the compounding effects of gender and ethnic bias and discrimination.

Pacific people have the highest pay gaps in the Public Service - how will Kia Toipoto address this?

Pacific pay gaps will be a priority under Kia Toipoto, and we will develop actions to address them. We know Pacific women and men need to be represented at populations levels throughout the Public Service. Kia Toipoto, for instance, aims to substantially increase Pacific representation in leadership and make career pathways and progression opportunities equally available to all employees, including to Pacific employees.

Will gaps for disabled employees and those in Rainbow communities be addressed too?

While its starting point is gender and ethnicity, Kia Toipoto is committed to creating Public Service workplaces that are fairer for all. The working group, Te Whakapiri, has representatives of disabled employees and employees who are members of rainbow communities, to ensure these voices are heard at all stages of implementing Kia Toipoto.

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