Human Rights Commission
Human Rights Commission
Primary Research
Area of focus: 
Data Story
New Zealand

A review by the Human Rights Commission of equal employment opportunity (EEO) outcomes in the workforce of 29 public service departments, among the four groups of women, Maori, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

The public service is found to have a higher proportion of women in its workforce (60 percent) than New Zealand’s general population, but lower representation within senior management (at 41 percent); the gender pay gap is also slightly higher (14 percent) in the public sector than the workforce average.

Five departments are profiled that have excelled in EEO practice, including the Department of Corrections where women make up 44 percent of the workforce and 51 percent of senior management.

Perceptions of merit in recruitment may differ based on the belief systems of an organisation; organisations which believe they operate a "level playing field" may be ignoring capable candidates (such as women and Maori) who are reluctant to apply for roles. The report finds there is little reportage of EEO programmes in the departments, and it is unlikely these metrics are being used to inform Human Resource practice. Ten recommendations are made to enhance EEO within the sector.