Chapter 1: Workforce capability and diversity

Chapter at a glance

The NSW public sector is focused on leadership development and implementing frameworks to enhance performance at all levels.

  • Employees are generally more positive about learning and career development than they were two years ago.
  • Agencies target different groups for talent programs, including managers, graduates and other employees.
  • Employee perceptions of performance management show a modest improvement.

Workforce capability is a high priority across all industries and at all levels of the workforce.

Moreover, research suggests that promoting diversity and inclusiveness – in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, education, talent and other less visible factors such as culture, working style, professional background and life experiences – can be important in improving overall workforce capability.

The public sector is focused on enhancing the capability of its workforce by standardising how capabilities are defined, introducing a wider range of rigorous tools for assessing capability, and creating recruitment pools to fill positions more readily. These efforts are important because a capable, diverse and flexible workforce is seen as a significant indicator of organisational success.

There is a particular focus on leadership development and implementing the frameworks and tools required to enhance performance at all levels of the public sector, with a growing interest in talent management as a strategy for building capability.

In this section, we provide findings from the 2014 People Matter Employee Survey (the People Matter survey) and the State of the Public Sector Agency Survey (the Agency survey) to show the current state of progress in terms of workforce capability and indicate further areas for improvement.

Leadership capability

The 2014 executive capability assessment identified strong overall performance in a range of leadership areas, such as optimising business outcomes, communicating effectively, and inspiring direction and purpose. The ability of participants to manage change and reform is the area requiring the most improvement.

The details of this program are in Chapter 4. Collectively, those results and the results of the Employee and Agency surveys signal the need for continued and concentrated focus on improving management and leadership within the sector.

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