Rainbow is an umbrella term used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and others with diverse sexualities and gender identities.

SSC worked with the Cross-Agency Rainbow Network (the Public Service rainbow network) to develop the WeCount 2019 Survey to measure gender and sexual diversity in the Public Service, and to measure aspects of inclusiveness within the Public Service for the Rainbow communities. This survey was conducted in the first half of 2019.

Findings from the WeCount 2019 survey indicate the rainbow population count of the public service workforce from this survey is 1,191. This count is greater than the number of complete responses (1,078) as some people have multiple identifiers e.g. someone may identify as both gay and transgender.[1]

Findings from the Workplace Dynamics Survey 2016[2] indicate that approximately 7% of public servants identify as having a non-heterosexual sexual orientation, although this may be under-reported. Based on this estimate that this survey captured around 30% of the public service rainbow population. Given the response rate and survey methodology the following results may not always reflect the whole rainbow population.

There were respondents from all age groups. The highest proportion of respondents were 25 to 34 year olds at 37.7%. This is a higher proportion than in the overall public service workforce.

95.6% of respondents answered the ethnicity question. Of those, 93.1% of respondents identified as European and 12.1% identified as Māori (some people identified with more than one ethnicity).

Respondents to WeCount were more likely to be European, than the overall public service workforce.

13.4% of respondents were managers, 64.4% of respondents were professionals and 22.2% of respondents were in non-professional roles. Respondents were more likely to be in professional roles than the overall public service workforce.

The full findings can be found on our Diversity and Inclusion page. 



[1] This is a similar approach to how Stats NZ analyses people with multiple ethnicities.

[2] Jones, D., Blumenfeld, S., and Plimmer, G. (2018, June) LGBTIQ+ experiences in the New Zealand Public Service (including some NGO and local government data). Presentation to State Service Commission, with PSA (Public Service Association, 26 June 2018. Work in progress. Deborah Jones, Stephen Blumenfeld and Geoff Plimmer, Centre for Labour, Employment and Work, Victoria Business School, Victoria University of Wellington.

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