02 November 2023

The data we collect gives us information on public sector occupations, workforce size, the regional workforce and workforce diversity and inclusion.

As at 30 June 2023, there were the equivalent of 63,117 full-time public servants working in New Zealand across a wide range of occupations. These public servants delivered high-quality services, responded to global challenges, while implementing Government priorities. Just under half work in the Wellington region, with 55% spread across the rest of the country.

The Public Service workforce increased by 2,736 full-time equivalent roles (or 4.5%) in 2023. Contributing to this growth was increases in workforces delivering frontline services, and new staff to deliver on Government priorities.

This is a return to growth in the Public Service workforce after the pause between 2021 and 2022 (when there was a decrease of 1.2%, or a very small increase of 0.3% if machinery of government changes in the health sector were excluded).

The growth in 2023 remains below that seen in the five years from 2017 to 2022, when the average annual increase was 5.0%. Labour market conditions remain tighter than usual, which has tended to make it more difficult for agencies to recruit than pre-2020. However, these conditions have somewhat eased in the last 12 months and as a result, unplanned turnover levels, while still above average, have decreased from last year’s record high. Some of the overall Public Service workforce growth this year is attributable to filling vacancies.

Find more information about contractor and consultant expenditure in Workforce Data — Workforce size.