20 October 2022

The data we collect gives us information about whether public servants are planning to leave their current role and how long they’ve been in that role.

Intention to leave

In Te Taunaki Public Service Census 2021, 13% of respondents were actively applying for another role (including secondments), while another 19% were applying for a new role or secondment in the next 12 months. A small number (4%) would like to leave but didn’t think they could. Overall, 56% of respondents had no immediate plans to leave their current position.

For those who were thinking of leaving their role, most were looking for roles within their own agency (61%). Many were looking at other Public Service departments (53%) or within the public sector (37%). Relatively few were seeking roles outside the sector (37%).

Tenure in role, Public Service and public sector

More than half of Public Service staff have been in their current role for 3 years or less, with nearly 3 in 10 being in their role for less than a year. Around 3 in 10 public servants have been in the same role for more than 5 years.

More than half of the Public Service has been working for less than 10 years in the New Zealand Public Service. A quarter have less than 3 years in the Public Service and just under a third have been in the Public Service for 15 years or more. Tenure in the public sector (which also includes working in other central or local government organisations) has a similar pattern.

On average, public servants who responded to the survey have worked in 2 public sector organisations.

Of those responding to the survey, 9% had entered the Public Service through a formal Early in Career programme (such as a cadetship, an internship or a graduate programme).