Report shows gender pay gap up among New Zealand’s senior government leaders

By on 03/12/2015 | Updated on 25/09/2020
An all-day workshop is being organised by the State Services Commission (SSC)

The gender pay gap among senior civil servants in New Zealand has grown, according to a new workforce report which also shows that more women are now holding senior government roles than ever before.

The Human Resource Capability (HRC) survey of New Zealand’s government departments, published last week, shows that the pay gap in senior leadership was 8.9% in the year to June 2015, up from 8.3% in 2014, and compared to 9.1% in 2013, 11% in 2012 and 8% in 2011. This, the report states, “is low compared to the gender pay gap for all management roles (13.7%) and compared to the Public Service as a whole (14.0%).”

The report also says that “a higher proportion of women work in the lower-paid occupational groups compared to men and this contributes to the gender pay gap” and that, women, for example, “make up 60% of the public service workforce in 2015, but make up 82% of Clerical and Administrative roles.”

Currently, women make up 52% of managers in the public service, but only 44% of senior managers – although this is up from 38% in 2008.

The factors contributing to the gender pay gap are complex, the report says, but adds that these “need to be addressed if we are to reduce the gender pay gap further.”

The survey also shows that a record number of women now hold senior leadership roles: the proportion of women at senior levels in tiers 1, 2 and 3 is 44.2% in 2015, compared to 42% in the previous year, 41.5% in 2013, 42.1% in 2012 and 39.6% in 2011.

If this trend continues, the report states, the public service will reach 50% female representation in senior leadership by 2021.

The increase of women in senior roles is part of an overall trend which shows a record number of women in the public service overall: In the year to June this year, 60.5% of the workforce were women, which is the highest proportion recorded, up from 60.2% in 2014, and 56.2% in 2000.

It also shows that the proportion of Asian, Maori and Pacific senior leaders in the sector in the last five years shows an upward trend.

State services commissioner Iain Rennie said: “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.”

Other findings in the survey show that the average salary of public service employees has increased by 2.7%; and that the mobility of senior leadership has increased.

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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