The Deputy State Services Commissioner, John Ombler, today released the results of the Human Resource Capability Survey for 2011.

The report provides a summary of workforce statistics for the Public Service, for the year to 30 June 2011.  The report covers five main topics: staff numbers, pay and benefits, recruitment and retention, equality and diversity, and leave.

Latest figures from the report show that the number of full time equivalent employees fell for the second consecutive year by 959 to 43,595 – a decline of 2.2 percent.  By contrast, between 2001 and 2009 Public Service staff numbers increased by an average of 4.9 percent per year.

“This continued downward trend is a clear demonstration of how Public Service departments are responding to increasing financial pressures by managing their people resources and effectively delivering on the Government’s expectations around capping the core government administration.”

While the number of redundancies in the Public Service increased in the year to 30 June 2011 by 13 percent, the average redundancy payment decreased in 2011 to $45,749, down from $48,891 in 2010.

The latest HRC survey figures show the average base salary in the Public Service increased slightly by 2.4 percent in 2011, up from 1.5 percent in 2010.  However, estimated annual expenditure by departments on base salaries remained unchanged in 2011 at a total of $2.8 billion.  

Public Service wages and salaries are increasing at a slower rate than in the private sector.  Information from the Labour Cost Index shows an increase of 1.1 percent in Public Service wages over the last twelve months to 30 June 2011 compared with a 2.0 percent increase in private sector wages for the same period.

The rate of public servants leaving their jobs during the year increased from 9.2 percent in 2010 to 10.9 percent in 2011.  Twenty three departments reported increases in core unplanned turnover during the period to 30 June 2011 pushing up the overall turnover rate across all thirty three Public Service departments by 1.7 percent.

The average number of sick and domestic leave days taken by public servants dropped from 7.7 days in 2010 to 7.4 days in 2011.

The Human Resource Capability Survey is published on the SSC website at


Contact: Marian Mortensen (04) 495 6620 or 021 244 1475

HRC Report FAQs

What does the survey cover?

This HRC survey report covers the Public Service - the 33 core departments as at 30 June 2011. It does not cover any of the wider State Services agencies, like Crown entities, Crown Research Institutes or State Owned Enterprises.

The survey includes all permanent and fixed term employees but does not include contractors or employees who work on a casual or as-required basis.

Where does the data come from?

Information in this report comes mainly from the Human Resource Capability (HRC) survey, which has collected anonymous unit-record data on staff in Public Service departments annually since 2000. Data from Statistics New Zealand's labour market surveys are also used to allow comparisons with the labour force as a whole.

How does this differ from the Capping data?

The capping data is collected to monitor the Government's cap on the number of positions in core government administration, which is not the same as the Public Service. The capping data focuses on the number of FTE positions within the cap on core government administration. The latest data on capping can be found on the SSC website at

The HRC report provides more detailed analysis of the Public Service workforce.

What is new in the 2011 HRC survey?

The survey was updated in 2011 to simplify the set of information collected from departments. The new survey structure is outlined here

New information on the number and cost of personal grievances was added to the survey this year. The 2011 HRC report contains baseline information on the number and cost of personal grievances that will be tracked in future surveys.

Why has the structure of the survey changed?

This year, the amount of detailed employee level information has been reduced significantly from 48 variables to 20 variables. Most of the 28 variables that have been removed from the employee file have been replaced with aggregate information that will now be collected at the organisation level.

The survey structure was changed to:

  • Ensure that employee information is only collected where required for the suite of HRC reports.  
  • Make the calculation of metrics more transparent and create a set of definitions that can be used in a standard way across the public sector.
  • Reduce the time taken to process and report on the information.

Even though the survey structure has changed, there are minimal changes to the content of the HRC report.

Last modified: