The capability of NSW Government senior executives was
assessed in 2014 by evaluating all 20 of the capabilities in the
NSW Public Sector Capability Framework at the advanced
level. Nine assessment activities were undertaken by 296
executives in Band 2 and the lower half of Band 3. Results
were compared to the 2012–13 program, in which senior
executives were assessed against 15 capabilities.
These results (see Table 5) form a valuable evidence base that
assists agencies and PSC to understand and act on executive
capability strengths and gaps at agency and sector-wide
levels. They can also help individual executives identify
their personal drivers, strengths and areas for development.
The 2014 program revealed that NSW public sector executives
consistently demonstrate capability at the required level
with the majority of executives rated as competent and
above in all the capabilities (see Table 5).
The highest rated capabilities are Optimise Business
Outcomes, Communicate Effectively, and Inspire Direction
and Purpose. The lowest mean scores are for Manage Reform
and Change, Technology, and Think and Solve Problems.
Finance has a slightly higher mean score but the proportion
of executives rated competent and above is at the second
lowest level, along with Technology. The most significant
decrease since the previous program is in Manage Reform
The areas for development can all have a significant impact
on the work of the public sector. A number of programs
are in place to assist in building capability. They focus
on innovation, leadership essentials, values and ethical
behaviour, and delivering business results (which covers
finance, technology, optimising business outcomes,
procurement and contract management). Programs targeting
individual capability are also available, and forums provide
executives with opportunities to discuss topical issues and
develop a shared sense of stewardship across the sector.
Table 5: Executive capability – 2014 assessment results
The results for an additional five capabilities measured by
360-degree feedback were very positive, with all executives
rated as competent and above in Act with Integrity, Manage
Self, Deliver Results, Demonstrate Accountability and Value
Differences among senior managers
The average capability scores of women (91 participants or 31%) were higher than those for men in all but three capabilities. However, only Finance was found to have a statistically significant difference. For the capabilities where women outperformed men, 11 of the 17 results were statistically significant. Given the under-representation of women at senior manager levels, these results show it is important to the performance of the sector to eliminate barriers affecting the career progression of women and to utilise the significant capabilities of the women already in senior roles.
Few significant differences in capability scores were evident between age groups or salary bands. There was also little variation in capability scores by service cluster, suggesting there is a strong foundation for deployment of senior managers where they are most needed, and that there are no significant capability gaps limiting the benefits of mobility.