Workforce resources to support discussions and collective thinking on the future of work.

New Zealand is growing and becoming more diverse. Like many developed nations we are grappling with how to successfully address the complex issues resulting from rapid social and economic change. New Zealand is not immune from macrotrends influencing work and workforces globally.  These ‘Future of Work’ trends include ageing populations, differing social values and expectations around work which are already shifting as people seek to balance work with other life demands. All of these factors and more will intensify competition for talent in the workforce and shift the value proposition for the public. Furthermore, new technologies will continue to transform how work happens and much of this has emerged since the appearance of Covid-19 in early 2020. 

Other factors will also impact on the work landscape. Climate change and the transition to low emission economies will impact work as new jobs are created and others disappear.  Immigration, both inbound and outbound will impact upon the workforce as well as other domestic trends such as property prices and regional-urban drift. This last year, we have seen the impact on the workforce through the COVID pandemic, which has accelerated changes to how we work.

Changes in the New Zealand Public Service, supported by the Public Service Act 2020, are aimed at ensuring a more modern, joined-up and more citizen-focused Public Service. This will better meet the needs of a rapidly changing, more diverse New Zealand. Building a Public Service that works with the Government of the day and New Zealanders to successfully address the complex challenges ahead, requires a strong focus on growing future capability and flexibility of our workforce response.

Preparing for tomorrow, today

During 2019/20 the Commission worked across the Public Service to explore what the Public Service workforce could look like 10 to 15 years from now. The goal of this early work was to develop resource documents to enable a conversation across the public sector on how we build the future public service workforce and to support agencies’ thinking about their own workforce planning and strategy approach.

These documents should not be read as formal policy. They are intended as working documents to support discussion and our collective thinking. The views expressed are open to debate and challenge.

Key documents

The resources are published below:

A workforce environment scan

Outlines the major trends shaping the Public Service workforce now and into the future. Provides links to other relevant resources of interest for those wanting further information.

Public Workforce 2035 – Futures Scan (1.2 MB | PDF)

Draft vision for the future public service workforce

Based on our starting point in 2020, this working vision, developed by people from across the public service, paints an early view of how our public service workforce could look in 2035.

The future public service workforce for Aotearoa New Zealand – a draft vision for 2035 (1.3 MB | PDF)

Workforce change - enablers and levers

Provides a high level picture of the tools/mechanisms to support and effect workforce change.

Shaping the Future Workforce – Enablers and Levers (116 KB | PDF)

For more information …

Background papers developed as part of the investigative work undertaken for the future public service workforce are available here for your interest:

Demographic & workforce change

Explores demographic change in New Zealand and the current public sector workforce and implications for the future:

Future of Work Environmental Scan – Demographic and Labour Force Change (923 KB | PDF)

Future ‘Kiwi’ Public Servant

Considers the range of capabilities that future public servants will need based on readings from New Zealand and overseas:

Future ‘Kiwi’ Public Servant? (369 KB | PDF)

Interview Series: Change Themes

Summarises key workforce change themes and challenges for the New Zealand Public Service workforce from in-depth interviews with a diverse group of 25 public sector leaders and a small number of external commentators and experts:

Future Public Service Workforce Interview Series Oct 2019 -Jan 2020 - Summary of Key Change Themes (415 KB | PDF)


We welcome additions to the resources on this page from public sector agencies.  Please contact Josh Masson, Strategic Information.

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