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Public service strengthens further

Public service strengthens further

The government is delivering on its commitment to deliver strong public services, with a new survey showing public service staff numbers up by six per cent this year, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

Trevor Mallard today released the results of the State Services Commission’s latest survey on employment in the public service. The Human Resource Capability Survey 2004 collected and analysed anonymous data on all staff in the 35 public service departments as at 30 June 2004.

"These results show the Labour-led government is continuing to deliver on its commitment to ensure New Zealanders are well served by a strong and stable public service.

“The survey results show the number of permanent staff in the public service has continued to increase. In the year to 30 June 2004, the growth in permanent staff was just over 1,890 employees, or 6 per cent, once changes affecting the scope of the survey were taken into account.

"Many of the reported increases in staff numbers were in frontline occupations that directly serve or interact with the public, such as social workers, prison officers and call centre staff.

“The growth was spread across the public service, with 31 departments reporting an increase in the number of permanent staff. The public service of 2004 is still slightly smaller than the public service of ten years earlier.

“Despite the growth in numbers, the public service only makes up around 2.3 per cent of all New Zealand jobs, compared with 2.2 per cent last year.”

Trevor Mallard said the public service continues to provide a stable working environment with turnover rates remaining fairly constant for the past five years (12 per cent in 2004) and the number of staff on current collective agreements increasing over the past year.

“In addition, the number of employees who received redundancy payments during 2003/2004 was at the lowest level since data was first collected on this in 1991.”

The pay gap between salary levels paid in the public service and those paid in the labour market as a whole has closed noticeably over the past year, although the public service still tends to pay less, particularly for more senior positions.

Trevor Mallard said the new State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme (SSRSS) had made an important contribution to the long-term security of public servants. About 45 per cent of eligible employees joined the new scheme, taking the total number of public servants who are members of an employment-based superannuation scheme to 51 per cent, compared with 14 per cent before the scheme was introduced.

“A high performing public service is important to New Zealand’s success as a society. I am 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,” Trevor Mallard said.

Questions and Answers

What is the Human Resource Capability Survey? The survey is carried out each year by the State Services Commission. It gathers anonymous unit record data on all staff in Public Service departments. The survey includes a wide range of information relevant to Human Resource (HR) management and Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO).

How long has the data been collected? The unit-record survey has been carried out since 2000. However aggregate survey information, showing overall employment levels in Public Service departments, has been gathered for many years.

How many people are employed in the public service? As at 30 June 2004, there were 37,865 employees (35,645 full-time equivalents) in the Public Service. The Public Service of 2004 was slightly smaller than the Public Service of ten years earlier in 1994.

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 2004 the Public Service made up only 14 per cent of the 275,000 state sector jobs.

The state sector includes all organisations owned by the government, including schools, hospitals, public service departments, and state-owned enterprises. How much of the increase involves frontline positions?
Around 38 per cent of the increase in permanent staff was in frontline positions, including jobs such as social workers (the number of whom increased by 10 per cent), call centre operators (9 per cent), prison officers (6 per cent) and customs officers (25 per cent). Where can I find previous reports?

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