State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has published the 2017 Public Service Workforce Data report, which provides a comprehensive overview of the Public Service workforce.

The report is based on the Human Resource Capability survey which collects workforce data on staff in all 29 Public Service departments. The State Services Commission has collected and published this data since 2000.

The report provides information about and identifies characteristics in five main areas of the Public Service:  Workforce; Remuneration; Workplace; Career and Diversity and Inclusion.

“The report is a useful tool for shining a light on trends and areas that need to improve and informing public debate about important issues such as the representation of women, the number of women in senior leadership and chief executive roles, progress on gender pay, ethnic pay and the recruitment of graduates,” Mr Hughes said.

Highlights from the 2017 report:

  • Women in senior management roles continues to increase at 48% - up from 45% last year and 38% in 2008
  • The number of women in chief executive roles has increased from 23% to 41% since 2008
  • Women represent 61% of employees in the Public Service, up from 59% in 2008
  • The gender pay gap continues to shrink, down from 18.6% in 2000 and 13.5% last year to 12.5% in 2017
  • While ethnic diversity overall is increasing the ethnic pay gap is not, with Maori, Pacific and Asian ethnicities under-represented in the top tiers of management and over-represented in lower paid occupations
  • The number of graduates recruited into the Public Service is increasing but the retention of graduates is still low
  • Public servants are becoming more qualified because younger employees tend to be more educated and public servants are also more highly qualified than most other sectors
  • The number of public servants increased by 1,357 (3%) to 47,252 full-time equivalent employees at the end of June. This is largely due to operation of Mount Eden Prison returning to the Department of Corrections (it was previously run by private provider Serco). The Department of Corrections is now the largest Public Service department
  • The average annual salary in the Public Service in 2017 was $75,416. Average salaries vary greatly among departments, ranging from the lowest at $65,701 (Ministry of Social Development) to the highest average of $134,658 at the State Services Commission.
  • The proportion of part-time workers continues to trend downwards. Part-time workers in the Public Service are paid on average 16% less than full-time workers.
  • Public servants taking sick or domestic leave decreased slightly in 2017 to an average 8.4 days, against 8.6 days in last year.

“I’m very pleased to see that we are continuing to make positive progress in the Public Service on some important issues, in particular the increased representation of women in leadership roles and the narrowing of the gender pay gap,” Mr Hughes said.

“The challenge now is to continue to make progress on these issues, and we will.”

Mr Hughes said one of the benefits of the report was in identifying problem areas that require concerted attention.

“The ethnic pay gap and the lack of diversity in senior leadership roles is not good enough and we need to redouble our efforts in these areas,” Mr Hughes said. “Reducing the ethnic pay gap and getting more diversity in senior leadership roles are major priorities for me and Public Service chief executives.”

The report is available online as a fully interactive information portal with data stretching back to the year 2000. This means users can filter and customise the information based on their interests and clearly see trends over time.

“We are being open and transparent about our challenges as well as our achievements as part of our commitment to building a Public Service that fully reflects the communities we serve”, said Mr Hughes.

The 2017 report is available here.


Media queries: Grahame Armstrong 021 940 457 or

Last modified: