Lowest ever Public Service Gender Pay Gap

Women who work in the Public Service are becoming more fairly paid, thanks to the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan delivering on Government’s commitment to women. The Gender Pay Gap Action Plan Progress Report was released today by Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter.

“Gender equity matters now more than ever - women, particularly non-European women, are more impacted by the labour market effects of pandemics and economic downturns. As we rebuild after COVID-19, our commitment to gender equity in the Public Service remains firm - the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan provides a framework for delivering on this commitment, and has achieved big gains for women in a short time,” Julie Anne Genter says.

“Today we are marking the biggest drop on the public service gender pay gap in 17 years.

The Action Plan has been a real team effort between the Public Service, employers and unions, especially the PSA, which has enabled rapid progress, and I want to thank everyone who had a part to play in reaching this milestone.

The latest data from the annual Public Service Workforce Data Report, shows that the Public Service gender pay gap fell from 12.2% in 2018 to 10.5% in 2019.

The Action Plan creates a model for other employers to learn from, so they can tackle their gender pay gaps – by measuring their gaps, enabling flexible work, equalising starting salaries, ensuring equal pay for the same jobs, and developing women for senior and higher paid roles.

“We now have a good understanding of what works and what challenges need to be overcome to close gender pay gaps – the Public Service is getting its own house in order and by doing this, creates an example for other employers in New Zealand.

“This Government is delivering for women - by passing equal pay legislation, delivering record pay settlements for female dominated workforces, and proving the gender pay gap can be closed with the Action Plan in the public sector, this Government is taking action to ensure women are paid fairly.

“This proves that it is possible to reduce the gender pay gap - with the public and private sectors working together and sharing ideas and initiatives, we can make more gains for more New Zealand women,” says Julie Anne Genter.


The national gender pay gap (which is calculated using median pay rather than mean) is currently 9.3%. The comparable figure in the Public Service using that method of calculation is now 6.2%.

The report and guidance developed to help agencies implement the Action Plan so far is publicly available on the SSC website - https://ssc.govt.nz/our-work/the-gender-pay-gap-and-pay-equity/.

Public agencies are working on their own action plans to progress changes they need to make to ensure women are paid fairly. They will publish their gender pay gap action plans on their websites by the end of July, so that employees and other employers can see what they are doing to address their gender pay gaps.

The results in the four key focus areas are:

  • Equal pay
    • Two-thirds of Public Service agencies have closed pay gaps in the same or similar roles and individual employees, of all genders, have received salary corrections as a result.
  • Flexible work by default
    • By the end of 2020, all agencies will be flexible-by-default
  • Bias and discrimination
    • By the end of this year all agencies, covering over 52,000 employees, will have ensured they have no gaps in the same or similar roles, including in starting salaries
    • The Action Plan is also contributing to closing gaps for Māori, Pacific and Asian women who experience greater pay gaps than Pākehā women on average, but there is still more work to do.
  • Gender-balanced leadership
    • The proportion of women in leadership in the Public Service is at an all-time high. Women now hold half of the positions in the top three tiers of leadership, and half of Public Service chief executive roles, this is a fantastic result for the Public Service.

By doing all of this work, we are making faster progress on closing the gender pay gap in the Public Service. It has meant the biggest drop on the public service gender pay gap in 17 years.

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