Fitzpatrick, A.
Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies
Primary Research
Area of focus: 
New Zealand

This research study and report from the Institute of Policy Studies identifies a significant recent downturn in the number of female public sector Chief Executives appointed by the State Services Commissioner, from 35 percent in the period 2000-2004, to 4 percent in 2005-2010.

The study examines SSC appointment data and Human Resource Capability survey results to determine the extent to which women apply for, and are shortlisted for these roles, and finds that while there has been a downturn in applications, it is not as significant as that in appointments. An analysis is conducted of the talent pool accessed for CE appointments, which is predominantly senior management in the New Zealand public sector, where women held 40 percent representation in 2010. Qualitative interviews were conducted with staff involved in, or observing, the appointments process, and a variety of barriers and recommended actions for aspiring women are described.

The report includes a description of the SSC appointments process, and concludes with recommendations to the SSC on how the process might be altered to ensure greater fairness and gender representation.