The public sector employed around 429,500 people (headcount) in 2020, 18.5% of New Zealand’s total workforce (2,317,402), as measured by Stats NZ’s Business Demography data. The majority (88%) work in the State sector (376,200) and 12% in local government (53,300).
Over the last five years, the overall public sector workforce increased by 12.7% (with the State sector up 12.1% and local government up 16.5%). This compares with a 12.9% growth in the private sector over the same period.
The sector composition of workforce varies amongst the regions (see the interactive dashboard below).