Photo 1 PSC Young Aboriginal leaders NCIE 195

Driving public sector diversity

Published 14th October, 2016

Increase the number of women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles

Why is this important?

The NSW Government is working to:

  • Increase the proportion of women in senior leadership roles in the NSW government sector from 33 to 50 per cent in the next 10 years by 2025.
  • Double the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles in the NSW government sector in the next 10 years, from 57 to 114 by 2025.

Diversity in leadership strengthens service delivery, productivity and capability.

Strength in diversity

A diverse public service is agile and resilient and can achieve better results for our state. It's a workplace built on diversity of people that drives creativity and innovation.

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Women hold 65 per cent of jobs, but only 36 per cent are in senior leadership roles. Aboriginal staff hold three per cent of jobs, with only 63 leaders across the sector.

How is the government tracking?

Number of Aboriginal people & % of women in government senior leadership roles

What is the government doing?

Women in senior leadership

With 36 per cent of senior leadership roles held by women, the NSW Government is more progressive than the private sector, where women’s share of directorships is 25 per cent in the ASX 200 (according to Australian Institute of Company Directors' Progress Report September 2016). Already, certain groups of departments have achieved gender equity in senior leadership and we are using their stories to build best-practice across the sector. Other departments have a way to go to meet the Premier’s 2025 target. Like other Australian employers, the public sector faces hurdles such as more women in lower grades, occupational segregation and cultural factors.

Department heads have committed to six key strategies used in best-practice organisations.

  • Changing culture and structures to advance women.
  • Setting gender equity targets.
  • Prioritising flexible work options.
  • Raising awareness of gender equity.
  • Fostering collaboration and information sharing.
  • Gathering and analysing data.

Watch this video with audio descriptions

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership

Aboriginal employment levels in the NSW public sector are the highest they’ve ever been at three per cent. While many Aboriginal staff choose to work in specialist roles that provide services to Aboriginal people and communities, there is potential for more Aboriginal staff to bring their capabilities to other departments. We would like the distribution of our Aboriginal employees to be across all classifications of our workforce.

The NSW Government has three key strategies to achieve greater Aboriginal leadership.

  • The NSW Public Service Commission Aboriginal Workforce Development team works with NSW public sector agencies to drive job and career development opportunities.
  • Championing Aboriginal representation in senior roles through the NSW Public Sector Aboriginal Employment Strategy  (AES). An initiative of the AES is the Aboriginal Employment and Development Program. The 2016 pilot attracted 10 new people to the NSW public sector, half of whom are located in regional locations.
  • Partnering with the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) to deliver an Aboriginal Career and Leadership Development Program. 100 participants have graduated from the program since it commenced in 2014, including 48 graduates from regional areas. 

Watch this video with audio descriptions

What can you do?

Work with us

The NSW public sector has plenty of opportunities available across its various departments and agencies. No matter what your skills or background, if you’d like to make a real difference in shaping our state’s future, apply for a role with the NSW public sector.

Partner with us

We are keen to hear about new ways to achieve a diverse, inclusive workforce and to partner with the private sector and not-for-profit sector. If you have a new idea to improve diversity in leadership, email the Public Service Commission

Published 14th October, 2016