The gender pay gap in the Public Service has continued to decrease. As at 30 June 2021, the average salary was $92,600 for men and $84,600 for women, up 3.0% for men since 30 June 2020 and up 4.2% for women. This means the gender pay gap decreased by 1.0 percentage point to 8.6%.
Contributing to the decline in the gender pay gap is the record high female share of senior leaders, at 53.5%. The gender pay gap for senior leaders is 4.6% for 2021, down from 5.7% in 2020, This is the lowest senior leader gender pay gap since data was first collected in 2001.
Analysis of the Workforce data has generated the following insights:
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 of using median pay when reporting the gender pay gap for the entire workforce.1 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 2021, the Public Service gender pay gap using median pay was 5.6%. This slight decrease from 5.8% in 2020 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 9.1% in 2021, similar to the last three years (9.6% in 2018, 9.3% in 2019 and 9.5% in 2020). The graph below shows:
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.
1Statistics New Zealand (2014). Measuring the gender pay gap. Available from www.stats.govt.nz.
The graph below shows that in the Public Service men are paid more on average than women in each ethnic group, and Europeans are paid more on average than other ethnicities. Pacific women and Pacific men have the lowest average salaries in the Public Service, but they received the largest pay increases of $4,000 (5.6%) and $3,700 (5.4%) respectively. Overall, the largest percent increases went to the lowest paid groups.
The Māori pay gap (the difference between average pay for Māori and non-Māori employees) has fallen from 9.3% in 2020 to 8.3% in 2021. The Pacific pay gap has fallen from 19.5% to 17.9%. The Asian pay gap has also fallen, from 12.8% in 2020 to 11.6% in 2021.
Like the gender pay gap, ethnic pay gaps can relate to occupational segregation or the occupation profile of a particular ethnic group. Māori, Pacific and Asian public servants are over-represented in lower-paid occupation groups.