20 October 2022

The data we collect gives us information about part-time, permanent and fixed-term public servants, as well as secondments and hours contracted versus hours worked.

Part-time employees

The graph below shows the percentage of public service staff in part-time work between 2012 and 2022 — a part-time job is defined as someone working less than 0.75 of a full-time equivalent position.

Over this period, despite legislative reforms that widened access to flexible working arrangements, the percentage of part-time workers has been trending downwards (7.2% in 2012 to 3.8% in 2022). Figures from Stats NZ’s Household Labour Force Survey shows there’s also a downward trend in the wider labour market (from 22.7% in the year to June 2012 to 19.5% in the year to June 2022).

On average, part-time workers are paid 11.8% less than full-time workers on a full-time equivalent basis (as at 30 June 2022).

The use of part-time employment as a flexible working option can be better understood by analysing the demographic profile of people who work part-time, as well as other factors (for example, their occupation and the type of employment agreement). These factors are explored in the visualisation below.

The visualisation above shows that part-time work is high in early career (probably in conjunction with study), during the ages when caring for children is more likely, and near retirement age.

Part-time work is considerably more likely to be taken up by females than males. This is likely due to social norms around women’s role as carers.

Part-time work is more prevalent in some occupational groups: social, health and education workers and clerical and administrative workers. These are also the occupations most held by women. Occupations that are male dominated (for example, ICT professionals and technicians) are less likely to be worked part-time.

A higher proportion of fixed-term employment agreements are for part-time work compared to permanent employment agreements.

Employment type: permanent and fixed-term

Fixed-term employees are employed on a full-time or part-time basis for a specified period of a project or event. The visualisation shows the number of public service employees on fixed-term employment agreements for the years 2017–2022.

At 30 June 2022, 92.2% of public service employees were on permanent employment contracts with the remaining 7.8% of employees on fixed-term contracts. This is down from 9.7% last year and is the lowest proportion of employees on fixed-term contracts since 2018.

The five organisations with the highest proportion of staff on fixed-term employment contracts were:

  • Ministry of Ethnic Communities (50.7%)
  • Ministry of Defence (34.0%)
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (29.1%)
  • Department of Internal Affairs (26.1%)
  • Ministry of Women (22.5%)


There were 385 public service employees on secondment as at 30 June 2022. This is down 22 on the 407 secondments in 2021 and is the second highest number since the Workforce Data collection started in 2000. Note secondments within departments are not included in these figures.

The number of secondments in leadership and management positions increased from 91 as at 30 June 2021, to 95 in 2022 — an increase of four.

Hours contracted versus hours worked

In Te Taunaki Public Service Census 2021 participants worked on average 41.1 hours per week against a contracted rate of 38.1 hours, leading to an overall gap of 3 hours.