Chapter ThreeOur Leaders

4,230 executive employees in the Government Sector

At June 2017, there were 4,230 executive employees in the Government Sector. These were primarily in the Public Service (45.8%) and the Transport Service (33.1%).

Table 3.1: Senior executives in Government Sector, headcount at census, 2017

Service Headcount at census date, 2017
NSW Health Service 154
NSW Police Force 67
Other Crown Services 669
Public Service 1,939
Transport Service1 1,401
Total Government Sector 4,2302

The term ‘leaders’ is used throughout the Workforce Profile Report and the State of the Public Sector Report, and its definition depends on the context in which it is being used. The term may be used to refer to the following cohorts:

  • Senior Leaders for the Premier’s Priority on Diversity
    This cohort is in scope for the Premier’s Priority on driving NSW public sector diversity. Two aims of this priority are to establish gender equality among senior leaders and to double the 2014 number of Aboriginal senior leaders, with both to be achieved by 2025. This cohort includes all Government Sector employees with remuneration of $153,915 and above who lead people and/or services. Excluded are roles with a unique statutory or institutional character (judges, barristers, and magistrates), and roles of a specialist or technical nature with no leadership or management accountabilities, such as some of the roles found in the medical profession.
  • Government Sector Senior Executives
    This cohort is a subset of the previous cohort and includes all executive employees who work within the Government Sector and have remuneration of $153,915 and above. This is the cohort most typically referred to when discussing the number of senior executives in the Government Sector.
  • Public Service Senior Executives
    This cohort consists of Public Service Senior Executives (PSSEs3), that is, those executives who have transitioned to, or been employed under, the four band structure of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (GSE Act) and who are employed in the Public Service (at census date 2017 there were 1,923 PSSEs4).

Figure 3.1: Different classifications of leaders within NSW Government Sector

Senior Leaders for the Premier's Priority on Diversity
Headcount: 8,331

Government Sector Senior Executives
Headcount: 4,230

Public Service Senior Executives
Headcount: 1,923

PSSE's are 45.5% of Government Sector executives

The transition of senior executives in the Public Service to the arrangements under the GSE Act formally concluded in February 2017. As at June 2017, there were 1,939 senior executive employees in the Public Service, a net reduction of 239 (or 11%) from June 2014 (see Figure 3.2 for trend data and Figure 3.3 for the distribution of PSSEs by band).5


New executive employment arrangements commenced for executives in Health on 1 January 2017 under the Government Sector Employment Legislation Amendment Act 2016 (GSELA Act). Starting from this date, the employment arrangements of Health Service senior executives were aligned to those of PSSEs. As at June 2017, all executives in Health had transitioned to the new employment arrangements.

The GSELA Act also aligned the senior executive employment arrangements for the NSW Police Force and the Transport Service to those of the Public Service. Executives in the Transport Service began to transition to the new arrangements on 1 July 2017, and the NSW Police Force commenced its transition on 31 October 2017.

Diversity of Senior Leaders

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Senior Leaders - 71

Female Senior Leaders - 37.4%

While there has been a focus on improving the diversity of the Premiers’ Priority senior leader cohort, in 2017 this cohort of employees was still less diverse overall than the Government Sector workforce as a whole6. In 2017, 37.4% of all senior leaders were female, up 1.3 percentage points from 2016. While this percentage was the highest it has ever been, women were still substantially underrepresented in this cohort, especially given their prominence in the Government Sector (65.6% of all NSW Government Sector employees were female in 2017).

The number of senior leaders of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders background also increased between 2016 and 2017, from 63 to 71. However, not surprisingly, their proportional representation in the senior leader cohort was still lower than the proportional representation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person in the broader sector (3.2%).

The representation of senior leaders with a first language that was not English was at 8.6%, 5.7 percentage points lower than representation of this diversity group in the sector. Further, only 8.2% identified as being from a racial, ethnic, or ethno-religious minority (2.0 percentage points lower than total sector). The self-reported representation of people with a disability in the senior leader cohort (1.7%) was still 0.4 percentage points lower in the Government Sector (2.1%).

To inform progress on the Premier’s Priority goal of 50% female representation among the Government Sector’s senior leadership cohort by 2025, the Public Service Commission used Workforce Profile data to forecast the gender profile of this cohort based on current trajectories. It was found that going forward approximately 6 in every 10 new hires for this cohort would need to be female for the target to be reached.

Within the smaller cohort of senior executives in the Public Service, it is estimated that 43.7% of employees were female at the commencement of the GSE Act in 20147. The completion of this transition in 2017 saw female representation in this group of executives rise to almost 50% (see Table 3.2).

Table 3.2: Senior executives in the Public Service by gender, census headcount, 2014–2017

Gender 2014 2015 2016 2017
Male 1,226 (56.3%) 1,178 (58.2%) 1,051 (54.2%) 1,005 (51.8%)
Female 950 (43.7%) 847 (41.8%) 887 (45.8%) 934 (48.2%)
Total 2,176 2,025 1,938 1,939

End Notes

1 - The figure for the number of senior executives in the Transport Service has historically included both Transport Senior Executives, and Transport Senior Managers (whose remuneration has historically been higher than a Clerk Grade 11/12). From the commencement of the Transport Service’s senior executive transition on 1 July 2017 under the GSELA Act, Transport Senior Managers ceased to be considered senior executives. In the 2018 Workforce Profile Report, the number of Transport senior managers will be reported separately from the number of GSSEs.
2 - During the 2017 Workforce Profile Collection the Department of Family and Community Services did not submit records for 20 employees, two of which pertained to PSSEs employed at census date. Across the sector an additional 8 PSSEs and 2 Senior Executives in the Public Service were misclassified and only identified after the collection closed. All headline numbers of senior leaders, GSSEs reported in Chapter 3 have been adjusted to include the twelve additional Senior Executives in the Public Service.
3 - At census date 2016 only 1,237 senior executives in the Public Service had transitioned to the GSE Act and were considered PSSEs.
4 - At census date 2017 there were 15 senior executives employed under legislation other than the GSE Act, who resided in a Public Service agency and who are not statutory appointees.
5 - This chapter reports on number of senior executive employees (headcount) and not the number of senior executive roles.
6 - All figures in this section are considered actual figures rather than estimated figures. Estimated figures are used for sector-level statistics to account for missing data (see Chapter 4). The amount of missing diversity data for senior leaders is too high to allow for estimation.
7 - Excludes Indeterminate/Intersex, missing and withdrawn gender data (.03% of total headcount).