New Zealand civil service looking to introduce name-blind recruitment

By on 08/07/2016 | Updated on 27/01/2022
Iain Rennie, Former State Services Commissioner, in discussion at Global Government Forum's Global Government Finance Summit

New Zealand’s civil service is looking to introduce name-blind recruitment in an effort to close the gender pay gap.

A report released in December showed the pay gap between male and female civil servants was 8.9% in the year to June 2015 for the whole workforce, and 14% among senior ranks.

Now, outgoing state services commissioner Iain Rennie has said that the civil service is looking to introduce name-blind recruitment, following the UK’s lead. Britain announced a move to the practice for posts below the senior civil service last autumn.

Speaking exclusively to Global Government Forum before he left office on Thursday, Rennie said the move would represent “quite a big shift,” and that there is strong evidence suggesting that this will “reduce biases” as well as “support women and candidates from a more diverse range of backgrounds.”

Rennie said it was helpful for the government to be able to learn from the UK’s experience.

However, he also said that New Zealand may go further than Britain, which restricted the practice to roles below the senior civil service.

“I think you want to be open about the potential to take that kind of approach at more senior levels and more technical types of roles,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that you adopt it in a slavish way but we need to be very open to the logic and evidence that’s behind it, so you certainly wouldn’t rule out applying that to more senior roles unless you had some really good reasons for that.”

The change is one of a range of measures the government is currently considering to tackle pay inequalities among men and women in the civil service.

Asked when it will be implemented, Rennie said it was up to his successor to make detailed decisions.

Rennie left the civil service after 30 years in government, including eight years in its most senior post.

He has been succeeded by education chief Peter Hughes.


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Interview: Iain Rennie, state services commissioner, New Zealand

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Interview: Jane Halton, Secretary, Department of Finance, Australia

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Interview: Gabriel Makhlouf, Treasury, New Zealand

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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