World-class public service

Implement best-practice productivity and digital capability in the NSW public sector. Drive public sector diversity by 2025 through: 

  • having 50% of senior leadership roles held by women 
  • increasing the number of Aboriginal people in senior leadership roles 
  • ensuring 5.6% of government sector roles are held by people with disability. 
Young leaders

Why is this important?

NSW has a world-class public service and our focus is to continue to work hard to drive improved outcomes for the people of NSW. To do this we need to adopt best practice and build a workforce of diverse people, which drives creativity and innovation. Having diverse leadership ensures that the NSW Government represents the community, which gives us a deeper understanding of the communities we serve, and enables us to deliver better outcomes. 

Research shows that by valuing workplace inclusion and diversity we see improved organisational performance, employee engagement, attraction and retention of talent and better customer service.

Delivering this priority by 2025 will achieve parity for women in leadership, double the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles over 10 years, and result in 10,000 more people with disability employed across the NSW Government sector.  

How are we tracking?

We are making progress towards building a more inclusive and diverse workplace that enables people of all backgrounds to thrive as public sector employees.


The proportion of women in senior leadership roles has continued to increase since the start of the Priority. We are accelerating our efforts to develop a pipeline of female leaders and remove the obstacles that impede women’s advancement to senior levels. For every 10 senior leadership roles advertised, the NSW public sector needs to recruit 6 women. 

We have exceeded the target to double the number of Aboriginal senior leaders to 114 by 2025 and will continue to work on initiatives to further increase representation. 

In 2022, the proportion of public sector employees choosing to share that they have a disability through reporting in our HR system was 2.5%. Achieving this 2025 target is particularly ambitious as disability is multifaceted and complex. We are committed to building strong foundations that will support the public service to be regarded as an attractive employer for people with disability, with an inclusive workplace culture that fosters talent and allows people to thrive. 


The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of change in the way we live and work. Remote working, as a result of the pandemic, has been a benefit for many employees including people with disability. There is greater awareness and practice of alternative working arrangements, which anecdotally has made a positive impact in terms of reasonable adjustment and flexibility.

Download the World Class Public Service data information sheet (PDF 216.62KB)

What are we doing?

Women in senior leadership

We continue to support women's advancement to senior levels through a number of initiatives, including:

  • continuing the implementation of diversity and inclusion KPIs in senior executive performance plans.
  • implementing flexible working arrangements across the sector in a way that maintains or improves service delivery, to support women to balance work with other responsibilities and priorities.
  • introducing the inaugural Women’s Opportunity Statement in the 2022 Budget, which positions the NSW Government as a leader in promoting best practice policies to support women and increased economic participation across the sector.
  • promoting greater sharing of caring responsibilities through enhancements to public sector paid parental leave arrangements, including removing the primary/secondary carer distinction in paid parental leave.
  • implementing a program of work under the Equity and Respect framework that will support the NSW public sector to address sexual harassment in the workplace.
Aboriginal senior leaders

On 30 August 2022, the NSW Public Service Commission launched the refreshed Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2019-2025. The refreshed strategy has 3 strategic focus areas: 

  • attracting and recruiting a talented Aboriginal workforce
  • creating inclusive and respectful workplaces for our Aboriginal workforce
  • supporting the career mobility and growth of our Aboriginal workforce. 

Our refreshed Aboriginal Employment Strategy commits us to: 

  • supporting the continued leadership growth of our existing Aboriginal talent through the Leadership Academy Aboriginal Career and Leadership Development Programs 
  • establishing the Aboriginal Senior Leadership network with up to 4 forums per year aimed at professional development 
  • developing an Aboriginal senior leadership talent strategy, including talent review and mobility guidance. 

We remain committed to a culturally capable workforce where Aboriginal employees thrive and are encouraged to take up senior roles. The Everyone’s Business training resources are helping to build a trauma informed and culturally capable workforce. The training includes information about the impacts of past forcible removal policies and practices on Aboriginal communities. It has been developed in conjunction with Stolen Generations organisations and survivors.

Our refreshed strategy also commits us to lead the NSW public sector in anti-racism interventions and designing cultural capability guidance and tools for the sector. The guidance and tools will supplement the Everyone’s Business training materials and include materials for all parts of the employee life cycle – including recruitment.


We remain focused on disability employment, in particular linking and mobilising the sector to collaborate and embed practices that have a broad impact across all agencies.

We have developed a significant culture change campaign and a range of tools to support hiring managers and employees with disability. Each government agency has committed to implementing a range of initiatives which focus on:

  • inviting people with disability to apply for more roles and then helping them to stay in their jobs longer by giving them the support and tools they need to do their best work
  • building a culture of inclusion across the NSW public sector workforce
  • removing barriers so that our workplaces and spaces are easy to access and use by everyone.

To accelerate efforts, we are also implementing a number of targeted initiatives to improve disability employment in the NSW public sector. Some of these include: 

A sector-wide digital workplace adjustment passport

A purpose built, user-friendly portal and system to enable employees to make updates, capture and track adjustments, and share relevant adjustment information as they move between teams, managers, and agencies across the NSW Government sector. 

Training and support to upskill people managers

The Building a Barrier Free Workplace eLearning course is a key initiative to support people managers across the diverse NSW Government sector and embed a culture of disability inclusion. This eLearning course aims to increase knowledge and understanding of disability; build empathy and disability confidence; help managers identify and remove barriers that people with disability may encounter in the workplace and foster an inclusive and positive working environment for all staff.

Adopting a consistent, contemporary definition of disability informed by the Social Model of Disability

This definition sees disability as the result of the interaction between people living with impairments and environmental barriers and recognises that a person’s abilities are limited by society, not their condition. The new definition will be communicated to the sector and reflected in all systems.

Digital capability

We have developed a Digital and Customer Capability Framework which identifies the critical skills and capabilities our employees need to respond to the changing nature of work and provide better outcomes for citizens.

We have developed learning content and pathways based on the Digital and Customer Capability Framework and are piloting delivery of this learning via a Learning Experience Platform. The platform will enable learning to be available anywhere, anytime so employees can develop digital skills that enable and encourage smarter ways of working.


To support sector focus on productivity, the NSW Public Service Commission has implemented an approach to identifying and measuring best practice productivity across the sector. The approach aligns with NSW Treasury’s Outcome Budgeting and reporting of outcomes that indicate workforce productivity, including program performance or measures that have emerged from the new ways of working impacts from COVID-19. 

At a sector level, engagement of our people is our sector-wide indicator of productivity. In 2021, employee engagement was unchanged from the result in 2020 and was sustained during the onset and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each cluster has also identified 2 or 3 major outcomes to be used as productivity indicators at the cluster-level. A total of 24 outcomes are included in the productivity outcomes for this priority. Clusters reported productivity on-track for 20 of the 24 outcomes, at risk and being monitored for 4 outcomes.

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.  

World class public service (Premier Priority) logo
On this page
Top of page