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Employment survey shows strong public service


Employment survey shows strong public service

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard today released the results of the State Services Commission’s latest employment survey which shows a strong and stable public service.

The Human Resource Capability Survey collects and analyses anonymous data on all staff in public service departments.

Trevor Mallard said the 2002 results show the Government is delivering on its commitment to rebuild a strong state sector focussed on delivering a high standard of service to the New Zealand public.

“The number of permanent staff in the public service has continued to increase. In the year to 30 June 2002, the growth in permanent staff was just over 1,400 employees, or 5 percent,” Trevor Mallard said.

“I’m pleased that this survey shows New Zealand is well served by a stable and strong public service - that is able to rely on its own expertise and less on outside consultants.”

The growth was spread across the public service, with 31 departments reporting an increase. The increase is consistent with growth in the overall labour force, as measured by Statistics NZ's Quarterly Employment Survey.

Trevor Mallard said the public service continues to remain a stable working environment with fairly constant turnover rates. The number of staff on collective employment agreements has also not changed much over the past year.

“A significant and encouraging finding of the survey was more women moving into senior management, with women making up 53 percent of new senior managers,” Trevor Mallard said.

“The proportions of staff who are Maori or Pacific peoples is also ahead of the wider labour force.”

The survey shows a continuing decline in the number of public service staff with a disability. However it is believed that this is due to a reworking of the definition applying to this category.

“Nevertheless the low level of representation is of concern,” Trevor Mallard said.

In response, the State Services Commission is developing an EEO disability resource containing practical help for managers, which will encourage greater recruitment of people with disabilities and improve career progression opportunities for current employees. It will be launched before Christmas.

Trevor Mallard said that, for the first time, the 2002 survey compared salary levels in the public service with other sectors of the economy, using job size points.

The survey results show a gap between public service pay levels and those in the wider labour market.

“The Government is aware of this gap, which the data shows developed during the 1990s. The Government is committed to addressing this issue, as part of its commitment to rebuilding a quality public service,” Trevor Mallard said.

“However, we can’t provide a quick fix to issues that developed over many years. The issue of pay level affects some sectors of the public service more than others, and in fairness to the taxpayer, the Government needs to carefully assess which areas are the priority for attention. For example, in the last budget, the Government provided significant funding for wage increases for courts and customs staff.”

Questions and Answers

How many people are employed in the public service? As at 30 June 2002, there were 32,835 employees (31,587 Full time equivalents) in the public service. The public service of 2002 was approximately the same size as the public service of 1996.

In the year to 30 June 2002, the growth in permanent staff was just over 1,400 employees, or 5 percent but this figure reduced to around 1,000 employees, or 4 percent, once structural government changes (such agencies re-entering the public service) were taken into account.

The public service made up 2.1 percent of all jobs in both 2001 and 2002.

How many people make up the State sector? The public service makes up a small proportion of total State sector employment, as measured by Statistics NZ. In 2002 the public service made up only 13% of the 260,000 State sector jobs.

What are job size points? Job size points are based on a range of job evaluation systems. They broadly cover the level of knowledge, skills and accountabilities required to do different jobs. Points are available for just under half of the Public Service jobs.

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