The number of women in senior leadership roles in the Public Service has grown from 38.4% to 44.2% since 2008, and 38% of current or acting Chief Executives in the Public Service are women - the highest proportion ever - while the total spend on employing Public Service chief executives has remained similar since 2008/2009 according to two State sector workforce reports released by the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today.

The reports, the 2014/15 Report on Remuneration of Public Service and State Sector Chief Executives, and the 2015 Human Resource Capability Survey, provide a wide range of information and let New Zealanders take a closer look at the workforce their taxes pay for to provide essential public services, says Mr Rennie.

“Overall, increases in Public Service and Crown entity chief executives’ remuneration are within the guidelines I set and therefore are in line with movements in the broader State sector,” he said.

The total amount spent on remuneration for Public Service chief executives employed by the Commissioner has been largely constant over recent years, reflecting continuing control of remuneration levels. Annual expenditure on Public Service chief executive remuneration has been similar since 2008/2009.

The 2014/15 Report on Remuneration of State sector Chief Executives sets out the remuneration received by chief executives between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015.

“How much we pay Chief Executives requires a careful balance between ensuring we can attract and retain highly qualified and skilled leaders while being prudent and restrained when spending public money.” Mr Rennie described many of the roles as large and complex with significant levels of responsibility for critical public services.

The proportion of Asian, Māori and Pacific senior leaders in the sector in the last five years shows an upward trend, while the unadjusted gender pay gap has remained flat over the past five years but is down from 16.1% ten years ago to 14%.  (When the pay gap calculations are adjusted for age, seniority and occupation the gender pay gap is 5.3%.)

“It is very satisfying to see more women, Maori, Pacific and Asian senior leaders – it’s a very promising trend and I believe a direct result of our focus on diversity and tactical development of leaders.  We still have work to do and this reporting helps us see where what we are doing is working really well and where we need to focus.” 

Mr Rennie said that strong leadership at every level in the State Sector, that reflects the diversity of the population the sector serves, will transform the experiences of New Zealanders. 

The 2014/15 Report on Remuneration of Public Service and State sector Chief Executives is available on the SSC website

The 2015 HRC is available on the SSC website

Media enquiries:  Tim Ingleton 04 495 6648


  • Remuneration for Public Service (central government departments and ministries) chief executives is set by the State Services Commissioner, except for three set by the Remuneration Authority (SSC, Crown Law and GCSB).
  • Remuneration for Crown Entity chief executives is set by their Board (as the employer) following consultation with the State Services Commissioner. The Commissioner provides guidance to Board chairs to achieve remuneration movements that are in line with those in the broader State sector workforce.  
  • The Chief Executive Remuneration Report is based on total remuneration received over the course of the year including base salary, performance related payments, superannuation contributions and any other benefits received, such as additional leave. It may include entitlements paid at the end of a contract, such as payment of outstanding annual leave balances.
  • At the level of individual chief executives, movements in remuneration from year to year need to be interpreted with caution for a number of reasons. The timing of fortnightly salary payments, performance reviews and performance payments and job size reassessments can all influence year-on-year movements in remuneration. In this report many chief executives received 27 fortnightly pays due to the way standard pay days fell between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015.
  • The total remuneration of a number of Public Service Chief Executives has decreased this year, although these changes are not actual but reflect the timing effect of a change in when Public Service Chief Executives have their performance reviews still working its way through the disclosure system. This year levels appear to fall, after appearing to rise last year. Levels will appear to rise again next year then stabilise. This effect was signalled in the Remuneration Report and media statement last year.
  • From 1 January 2014, Public Service chief executives moved to a standard performance review date.  They are now on a common assessment year (ending 30 June) rather than on a year that starts on their appointment date.
  • The move to a common performance review date meant that chief executives could not access performance related payments to which they would otherwise have been entitled. A transition payment was made, on a pro-rata basis.
  • Due to the timing of this pro-rated payment, it was able to be reported in the 2013/14 disclosure report.  This has resulted in the performance payments paid in the 2014/15 year being less, because they only covered 6 months of the year.
  • Salary increases for Public Service staff through collective settlements and progression were generally between 1.5% and 2.5%.
  • The average remuneration increase for Public Service chief executives in the 2014/15 year was 0.7%, and the median increase for Crown Entity chief executives was 2.5%. 
  • Parliament sets a cap on Public Service Chief Executive Employment Costs for the State Services Commissioner to manage within. In 2014/15 the total amount spent was $12.189 million, $1.413 million below the cap.
  • The unadjusted gender pay gap is 14%, and has remained flat over the past five years but is down from 16.1 % ten years ago.
  • When the pay gap calculations are adjusted for age, seniority and experience the gender pay gap reduces to 5.3%.
  • Previous reports contained details of staff earning more than $100,000. This information is now contained in the Human Resource Capability Survey.
  • The Human Resource Capability Survey Report sets out a wide range of information about the State sector workforce, focusing on the Public Service. It includes the location of workers, agency staffing levels, remuneration levels and movements as well as the composition and diversity of the workforce

Last modified: