The data we collect provides us with information on the Public Service gender pay gap, pay by gender and ethnicity and ethnic pay gaps. 

Public Service gender pay gaps

The gender pay gap in the Public Service has continued to decrease. As at 30 June 2023, the average salary was $101,700 for men and $94,500 for women, up 6.6% for men since 30 June 2022 and up 7.3% for women. This means the gender pay gap decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 7.1%.

GPG by occupation and age group(XLSX, 59 KB)

Contributing to the decline in the gender pay gap is the record high female share of senior leaders, at 55.9%, and the high increases in average salaries in the lowest paid and female dominated Clerical and Administrative and Contact Centre occupation groups.

Analysis of the Workforce Data has generated the following insights:

  • Pay gaps in general are lower when people in equivalent roles are being compared. For this reason, gender pay gaps tend to be lower for specific occupations than the overall gap. For example, the gender pay gap for senior leaders is 4.9% for 2023. This is lower than for all management roles (6.2%) and the Public Service as a whole (7.1%).
  • Age groups under 40 years have gender pay gaps of under 5%. Gender pay gaps increase with age, starting from 0.6% for those aged 20 to 24 and rising to 11.4% for those aged 55 to 59.
  • Gender pay gaps vary greatly among departments, ranging from 23.6% in the Ministry of Defence to -3.4% in Oranga Tamariki (a negative gender pay gap means the average salary for women is higher than the average salary for men).
  • Differences in the gender pay gap across departments are generally driven by the extent to which departments have gender imbalances in their workforces, and this is influenced a lot by whether they operate in traditionally male or female dominated sectors. Occupations that are traditionally male dominated tend to be more highly valued than are occupations that are traditionally female dominated, and this influences salaries. For example, some traditionally male fields (such as IT or procurement) tend to be highly paid, whereas lower paid clerical and contact centre roles tend to be female dominated. This occupational segregation — women being more likely to be working in lower-paid occupations — is a key driver of the gender pay gap for many departments.
  • There can be compositional differences between the genders in terms of seniority and experience within occupational groups as well, although there is evidence that these gaps are reducing. For example, women made up 57% of policy roles at the advisor level in the Public Service in 2013, versus 37% of principal advisor positions. This gap has narrowed substantially by 2023, with women making up 62% of roles at advisor level and 55% at principal advisor level.

Gender pay gap comparison

The Commission has reported the Public Service gender pay gap using average (mean) pay since 2000. This differs to Stats NZ’s approach of using median pay when reporting the gender pay gap for the entire workforce. 

Measuring the gender pay gap — Stats NZ

Median pay is the middle amount of pay earned — half of employees earn less, and half earn more. Median pay better reflects the pay a typical employee receives, which is one of the reasons Stats NZ uses median pay in its reporting across the workforce.

On the other hand, mean pay better captures the effects of employees with very low or very high pay. This is important in calculating gender pay gaps because women are overrepresented in the low paid groups and underrepresented in high paid groups. The Public Service gender pay gap using mean pay is shown in the preceding section.

In 2023, the Public Service gender pay gap using median pay was 5.8%. This is similar to previous years (it was 6.8% in 2022, 5.6% in 2021, and 5.8% in 2020) but still substantially below the 2018 figure of 10.7%.

The gender pay gap using median pay for the entire New Zealand workforce, as reported by Stats NZ, was 8.6% in 2023, down from the 9.2% reported for 2021. The graph below shows:

  • How the gender pay gap measured using median salaries has generally declined over time for both Public Service (down from 16.7% in 2000) and the overall New Zealand workforce (down from 14.0% in 2000).
  • The gender pay gap for the overall New Zealand workforce has plateaued in the last few years.
  • The Public Service gender pay gap remains substantially below the New Zealand workforce gender pay gap.

GPG in NZ(XLSX, 10 KB)

GPG in PS and NZ(XLSX, 11 KB)

Note that the Public Service gender pay gap using median pay is more volatile over time than that using mean pay. The structured nature of pay for many parts of the Public Service workforce, with large numbers of employees receiving the same pay, are driving this volatility in gender pay gaps using median pay.

Pay by gender and ethnicity

The graph below shows that in the Public Service men are paid more on average than women in each ethnic group, and Europeans are paid more on average than other ethnicities. This reflects the way that gender and ethnic bias compounds for Māori, Pacific and ethnic women.  Pacific women and Asian women have the lowest average salaries in the Public Service. Overall, the largest percent increases this year went to Pacific men and women, and Māori men and women.

Ethnic Pay gaps(XLSX, 10 KB)

Ethnic pay gaps

The Māori pay gap (the difference between average pay for Māori and non-Māori employees) has fallen from 6.5% in 2022 to 5.4% in 2023. The Pacific pay gap has fallen from 17.7% to 16.6%. Both the Māori and Pacific pay gaps are the lowest since measurement began in 2000. The Asian pay gap has risen, from 12.4% in 2022 to 13.0% in 2023, the highest it has even been since measurement began.  Asian representation in the Public Service has been growing strongly in recent years and this means an increasing number, and proportion, of Asian employees are new recruits than in the past. This is likely to be counteracting improvements in pay gaps.

Ethnic pay gaps trends(XLSX, 10 KB)

Alongside the impact of bias and discrimination has on pay gaps, gender and, ethnic pay gaps can reflect occupational segregation or the occupation profile of a particular ethnic group. Māori, Pacific and Asian public servants are over-represented in lower-paid occupation groups.

Pay for disabled public servants

Te Taunaki Public Service Census 2021 found that, in general, disabled public servants were overrepresented in the lower salary bands and their average full-time equivalent annual salary was $79,600 compared to $90,500 for non-disabled public servants.[1] 

Labour market statistics from Stats NZ provides evidence that disabled people in the wider labour market also tend to have lower earnings than non-disabled people.  

The occupations that disabled public servants are more likely to work in tend to be lower paying and disabled public servants were also more likely to have lower-level qualifications, and these factors are likely contributing to the differences in average salaries. 

More information on disabled public servants can be found on our Disability diversity page: 

Diversity and Inclusion - Disability 

A more in-depth look at pay for disabled public servants is available in the Te Taunaki deep dive report: 

Disability Deep Dive

Pay for rainbow public servants

Te Taunaki found that, in general, rainbow public servants were overrepresented in the lower salary bands and their average full-time equivalent annual salary was $84,900 compared to $91,000 for non-rainbow public servants.[1] 

A driver for this lower pay is likely to be that rainbow public servants tended to be younger than their non-rainbow colleagues - this is similar to what is seen in Aotearoa’s LGBT+ population overall (Stats NZ).  Once salary differences are broken down further by age groups, the differences were much smaller and the average salary is actually higher for the rainbow public servants across the older age bands.

In terms of the different rainbow communities, the average full-time equivalent annual salaries were:

  • $90,900 for gay public servants
  • $90,500 for lesbian public servants
  • $81,200 for bisexual public servants
  • $80,900 for public servants with other sexual identities
  • $81,700 for intersex public servants
  • $80,800 for transgender public servants and
  • $74,400 for public servants of another or multiple gender/s

More information on the different rainbow communities can be found on our Rainbow diversity page:

Diversity and Inclusion - Rainbow

A more in-depth look at pay for rainbow public servants is available in the Te Taunaki deep dive reports:

Deep Dive Trans

Deep Dive Sexual Identities

Deep Dive Rainbow Gender

Deep Dive Intersex

[1]   The response rate for Te Taunaki was 63.1%, representing the views and experiences of about 40,000 public servants. More information on is available from the Te Taunaki webpage.

We have used a Stats NZ methodology to estimate average salaries from the detailed salary bands, using salary band midpoints as the basis of the estimation.  Using this particular methodology with Te Taunaki data alone overestimates average salaries and the size of discrepancies between groups, compared to results from our administrative Workforce Data collection. For this reason, we used the actual salary distribution sourced from the Workforce Data, which has high quality salary information for all public servants, to improve the accuracy of some of the Te Taunaki midpoints.  This has increased the accuracy of the Te Taunaki salary estimates, although they still tend to be higher than comparable results from the Workforce Data.