PMES Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate in the survey?

All employees working in the NSW Public Sector, including independent agencies and state-owned corporations, are invited to participate in the survey.  This includes all full-time and part-time employees, casuals, graduates, apprentices, temporary employees, contractors, and employees on leave.

Volunteers and external consultants who are not on the payroll are not included in the survey.

What do you mean by ‘NSW Public Sector’?

The public sector includes a wide range of services relating to health, education, transport, justice, family support, finance, planning, the environment, and many other areas.  Employees provide services direct to the public or work behind the scenes in research, policy, programs, clerical, corporate or other types of jobs.


The survey provides an important opportunity for almost 400,000 employees to have a say about their workplace and to help make their workplace and the public sector a better place to work.

It aims to measure employee perceptions about work practices, experiences and culture.

Your feedback will help to identify strengths and opportunities for improving work practices in your organisation and the wider public sector.  It will assist your organisation and the Public Service Commission to focus on initiatives that are needed in the future.


The survey is open between Thursday 30 May 2019 and Friday 28 June 2019.

You can complete the survey any time during this period.

If you are completing a paper survey it must be posted to ORC International in the reply paid envelope no later than Wednesday 26 June 2019 to ensure it is included in the results.


How do I find the survey?

For most employees the survey is online, and the link will be sent to you in an email from your organisation.  The survey link may also be available on your organisation’s intranet.

For some non-office based employees, paper surveys will be provided.

I work in a service delivery role and can’t take time out of my shift to participate.  How do I complete the survey?

Talk with your supervisor about a suitable time and place to complete the survey e.g. during, before or after a shift or during a designated break.

If you cannot complete the survey during work time, you can send the link to your personal email address and complete it from home on your own device.

I’m going to be on leave during the survey period, can I still do the survey?

Yes.  The survey can be completed anywhere at any time between 30 May and 28 June 2019.  If you have internet access, ask a colleague or supervisor to send the survey link to your home email address.

I am seconded to another public sector organisation; do I complete the survey in my current organisation or my ‘home’ organisation?

You should complete the survey for the organisation that sent you the invitation.  In most cases this will be the place to which you are seconded.


No, the survey is not compulsory.  However, the Public Service Commissioner and the leaders of public sector organisations are very keen to hear from all employees about how they feel about working in their organisation so they can identify strengths and opportunities for improving work practices in your organisation.

What sort of questions will be asked?

The People Matter survey will ask you about your experiences and work practices relating to:

  • Your role
  • Your workgroup
  • Your manager and senior managers
  • Your organisation
  • Different matters such as performance and development and diversity and inclusion.

It will also ask about you (age group, gender etc.) and your job (role, salary etc).


Why am I being asked about my gender and age group etc?

The personal and work related demographic questions are required to ensure that responses to the survey are representative of the public sector workforce.

Looking at the results for different groups (e.g. women, men, part-time employees, full-time employees) helps an organisation understand how experiences differ across a diverse workforce.

This analysis will help your organisation and the Public Service Commission to work out whether to develop workforce initiatives that will benefit all employees or tailor initiatives for specific groups.


How is my privacy protected?

The survey is anonymous.

The survey link is sent to you by your organisation.  It is the same for all employees in your organisation, not unique to you.

No unique identifying information (such as name, date of birth, email address, employee ID, computer IP address) is collected about any individual who completes the survey.

You will be asked to choose a password at the beginning of the survey. This password is not stored anywhere and cannot be retrieved if lost.

Individual answers cannot be connected to a particular person because of the way views of employees are merged together, not reported individually.  Responses cannot be traced back to individuals by your organisation or the Public Service Commission.

Your organisation will receive the results of the survey in a way that protects your privacy.  Strict rules are built into the process, requiring all answers be merged not reported individually.  Where people work in small teams the results are merged with larger teams before they are released to any organisation. 

Who is responsible for the survey?

The survey is co-ordinated by the Public Service Commission working in collaboration with approximately 100 departments and agencies.

An independent research organisation, ORC International, has been engaged by the Public Service Commission to administer the survey and collate the results.  ORC International meets the necessary accreditation and certification requirements and operates in accordance with research best practice and privacy legislation.  View ORC International’s privacy policy.


The Public Service Commission uses the results to report on the overall performance of the public sector in the State of the NSW Public Sector Report that is presented to Parliament annually.  The results also inform different types of sector-wide workforce initiatives.

Most importantly, the results of the survey can be used throughout the sector by employees and managers.  The Public Service Commission encourages all employees and managers to engage with the results of the survey and think about how change can be affected at an individual, organisational and systems level to improve workplace practices.

Who will see the results?

Public sector organisations will receive reports that summarise the responses from their employees.

Reports for individual agencies, departments and related agencies and comprehensive, whole-of-sector results will be publicly available on the Public Service Commission website. Any reports below this level will not be published. The need to meet validity and privacy considerations may mean that some very small agencies will not be provided with reports.

View the reports from the 2018 People Matter Employee Survey.


Do I need to gather any information before I start

You will be asked about your annual salary, so check your payslip before you start, if needed.

How long will it take to complete?

Approximately 15-20 minutes.

How am I expected to respond?

There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers to the survey. You are asked to be thoughtful, honest and candid when you complete it.

You will mostly be asked the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statements in the survey.  Some questions have a yes/no answer and others require you to select from multiple options. There is one open question where you will be able to write a response in your own words.

What if none of the answers match what I want to say?

You are encouraged to pick the answer that most closely matches your view.  Some questions may not apply to your situation, in which case you can select the ‘neither agree nor disagree’ option.

Why does the first question ask where I work?

This question is required so responses are allocated to the right part of the organisation.  If you work in a small team your answers will be merged with a larger team.

If you can’t find your work location, go back to the start of this question and try other options.  Alternatively, ask your manager or your Human Resources team.  Your HR team will most likely have the work locations for all employees.

Can I save the survey part way through and return later to finish it?

Yes, however it is best to complete the survey in one session.  Allow half an hour for this although you may complete it in a much shorter time (e.g. 15-20 minutes).

The survey does not time out due to inactivity at your computer. If you leave your survey for 20 minutes or more, you will be able to continue from the point you stopped but not change previously answered questions. If you are using a shared computer and cannot complete it in one session, it’s recommended that you save your progress and log out of the survey.

Be sure to take note of the password you create at the start of the survey.  To save and exit then return to the survey, use your password to return to where you left off.  You will be able to go forward in the survey but not back to questions completed in an earlier session.

I lost my password; can it be resent to me?

No.  To maintain confidentiality, passwords are not stored and cannot be retrieved.  You will need to start the survey again and create a new password.

Who do I contact about technical problems?

If you experience technical difficulties accessing the survey, or while you ae completing it, please contact ORC International at

I don’t have access to the internet at work; can I still do the survey?

Yes.  Discuss with your supervisor/manager whether you can use a computer that has internet access to complete the survey (e.g. a portable computer, computer hub, shared computer or training facility).  Alternatively, take note of the survey link and you can complete the survey from your personal computer at home.

You may receive a paper survey to complete if your organisation has requested them for particular groups of employees.

Can I access the survey from home?

Yes.  The survey link can be accessed using a range of web browsers.

Will the survey work on my tablet computer (e.g. iPad)?

Yes.  This survey is compatible with tablet computers.

Will the survey work on my phone?

Yes. This survey is compatible with smart phones. It may not work as well on older or less powerful phones.

The web link sent to me doesn’t work

It should work unless blocked locally for some reason (e.g. by the IT system in your organisation).

Please contact ORC International at for assistance.


Technical Queries

If you experience technical difficulties with the survey, please contact ORC International at

Agency Enquiries

Ask your manager or Human Resources section.  Survey Champions are available in some agencies to answer enquiries.  Ask your HR section for contact details.

Public Service Commission

If you have further questions about the survey, please contact the Public Service Commission at

The Public Service Commission acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which our office stands.