State Services Commission
Wellington: State Services Commission
Area of focus: 
New Zealand

This report on diversity statistics within the Public Service was prepared by the State Services Commission, and focuses primarily on diversity in senior management.

The Commission set targets in 1997 which it has yet to achieve, but progress has been made. The report presents trend analysis of employment data from 2001 to 2010, a literature review of international research on diversity in the public and private sectors, and qualitative data from interviews with Chief Executives and senior managers within the sector. Women comprise 59.7 percent of the public sector workforce, and 39.8 percent of senior management, a significant increase from 2001 statistics and much higher than the private sector's figure of 19 percent.

The report highlights international findings that diversity has been correlated with improved performance at the national, organisational and team levels, and sets out four features of sustainable gender diversity in the public sector. Barriers to reaching targets are identified as the difficulty of achieving work-life balance, stereotyped beliefs, and a lack of visible role models. The interviewees were unanimously behind achieving diversity targets but expressed concern over slow progress, and some felt the situation might be getting worse; they identified the issue of "like begetting like" in terms of senior role placement, and the long tenure of senior roles meaning that initiatives take a long time to yield results. An appendix provides diversity statistics by agency.