The average age of the Public Service workforce as of 30 June 2021 was 44.0 years. The average age of the workforce has been trending down slightly from a peak in 2015–16 of 44.8 years. Before then, the workforce had been aging steadily, with the average age in 2000 being 40.8 years.
The proportion of the Public Service workforce that is 55 years or older has dropped slightly in 2021 to 23.5%. This follows increases from 10.3% in 2000 to 23.8% in 2020. This broadly reflects what happened in the overall New Zealand labour force where the proportion of workers aged 55 years and over went from around 12% to 24% over the same period. Public servants under the age of 35 now make up 30% of the workforce, compared with 24% in 2012.
This suggests that the ageing of the workforce has slowed. Contributing to this is the increase in the Public Service workforce over the past few years. New recruits are generally younger and more ethnically diverse than the existing workforce. The average age of those recruited into Public Service departments in the year to 30 June 2021 was again 37 years, compared to 46 years for the existing workforce.
The following graph shows that for most occupational groups the proportion of staff aged 55 and over has increased over the past decade. However, the rate of increase has slowed in recent years. Over the same period, the average age for most occupational groups has stayed broadly level. By occupational group, the most notable change is in the average age of policy analysts, which has decreased from 40.8 to 38.6 over the past decade. Pacific and Asian employees have a younger age profile than European staff, and this may contribute to greater diversity in the Public Service in coming years.