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Young Aboriginal leaders

Driving public sector diversity

Published 10th September, 2018

Increase the number of women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles by 2025

Why is this important to the people of NSW?

Strength in diversity

A workplace built on diverse people drives creativity and innovation. Having diverse leadership ensures that the NSW Government represents the community it serves.

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Women currently make up over 60 per cent of the NSW public sector workforce, but only 37 per cent of senior executive roles are held by women. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders represent three per cent of all NSW public sector employees, but there are only 71 in senior leadership roles.

Meeting the Premier’s Diversity Priority will make the sector more representative of the community it serves, and its leadership more representative of its workforce.

How are we tracking?

We are working to:

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

In 2017:

  • women in senior leadership increased by approximately four percentage points since 2014 (an additional 600 women in senior leadership)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in senior leadership increased by 14 people.

What are we doing?

Increasing the number of women in senior leadership

Currently, 37 per cent of senior leadership roles in the government sector are held by women.

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. 

Watch the video below for reflections from public sector senior leaders on why gender diversity and inclusion matters.

Leaders have committed to six key strategies used in best-practice organisations:

  1. changing culture and structures to advance women
  2. setting gender equity targets
  3. prioritising flexible work options
  4. raising awareness of gender equity
  5. fostering collaboration and information sharing
  6. gathering and analysing data.

The NSW Government runs the NSW Leadership Academy, which promotes excellence in the NSW public sector by enhancing the skills and capabilities of high-potential leaders through a unique suite of development programs. Both women and Aboriginal people have designated places in this program, with women making up 62 per cent of participants since the academy commenced in 2015.

Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership

At three per cent, Aboriginal employment levels in the NSW public sector are the highest they’ve ever been. 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. Our goal is to ensure that Aboriginal employees are in roles across all classifications of our workforce.

We have four key strategies to achieve greater Aboriginal leadership:

  1. Championing Aboriginal representation in senior roles through our Aboriginal Career and Leadership Development Program. 132 participants have graduated from the program since it commenced in 2014, including 60 graduates from regional areas.
  2. Building a pipeline of Aboriginal talent through the Aboriginal Employment and Development Program. Since the program's inception in 2016, it has attracted 21 talented Aboriginal people to join the NSW public sector. Eight roles are located in regional locations.  
  3. Creating a network of senior Aboriginal leaders and alumni to foster a sense of community and collaboration.
  4. The NSW Public Service Commission Aboriginal Workforce Development team works with NSW public sector agencies to drive job and career development opportunities.

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 10th September, 2018
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