The Public Service Commission has reported the Public Service gender pay gap using average (mean) pay since 2000. This differs to Stats NZ’s approach [1] of using median pay when reporting the gender pay gap for the entire workforce. Median pay is the middle amount of pay earned - half of employees earn less and half earn more. Median pay better reflects the pay a typical employee receives. On the other hand, mean pay better reflects employees with very low or very high pay and the fact that women are overrepresented in the low paid groups and underrepresented in high paid groups.

In 2020, the Public Service gender pay gap using median pay was 5.8%. This slight decrease from 6.2% in 2019 follows a large fall from 10.7% in 2018.

The gender pay gap using median pay for the entire workforce, as reported by Stats NZ, was 9.5% in 2020, similar to the last three years (9.4% in 2017, 9.2% in 2018, 9.3% in 2019). The graph below shows:

  • how the gender pay gap measured using median salaries have declined over time for both Public Service (down from 16.7% in 2000) and the overall New Zealand workforce (down from 14.0% in 2000)
  • the gender pay gap for the overall New Zealand workforce has plateaued in the last few years
  • that the Public Service gender pay gap has dropped substantially below the New Zealand workforce gender pay gap.

Note that the Public Service gender pay gap using median pay is more volatile over time than that using mean pay. The structured nature of pay for many parts of the Public Service workforce, with large numbers of employees receiving the same pay, are driving this volatility in gender pay gaps using median pay.

Notes:
[1] Stats NZ (2014). Measuring the gender pay gap. Available from www.stats.govt.nz.

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