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Public Service Commission

Our organisations

How we experience our organisations' practices.

Our organisations exist to deliver high-quality services to the people of NSW. To do this, they need to attract and recruit top talent and ensure that organisational structures are effectively designed to achieve stated strategies and missions.

Mission, vision and strategy

Employees in the public sector should understand how their role fits into their organisation’s overall mission, vision and strategy. Understanding their role in the context of the wider organisation will enable every employee to understand how their individual contribution adds value in the overall mission of delivering for our customers. This, in turn, will increase employee engagement.

My manager communicates how my role contributes to my organisation's purpose

67.8% in 2021

Source: People Matter Employee Survey (PMES) (2021)

Governance, risk and innovation

To ensure we deliver the highest quality services, our approach to governance, risk and innovation is critical.

  • Governance revolves around the rules, processes and systems by which an organisation is controlled and operates. It includes decision-making processes and how the organisation and its employees are held accountable. Accountability is one of the four core NSW public sector values. It is about taking responsibility for decisions and actions, and can add meaning to work and foster engagement.
  • Risk refers to the effect of uncertainty in achieving work goals. Risk can also be an opportunity.
  • Innovation in the public sector context means creating new and better products, processes, services and technologies to improve outcomes for the people of NSW. A healthy risk appetite can help promote innovation.

Employee perceptions of decision-making and accountability

Question 2021 (% favourable) Change from 2020 (pp)
I have confidence in the decisions my manager makes 72.6 0.2
People in my organisation take responsibility for their own actions 49.8 2.1

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Employee confidence in the way their organisation handles grievances: 46.1%

up from 44.8% in 2020


Employee perceptions of risk and innovation: 74.8%

favourable overall

up from 74.6% in 2020

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Employee perceptions of risk and innovation

Question 2021 (% favourable) Change from 2020 (pp)
I am comfortable notifying my manager if I become aware of any risks at work 87.3 -0.9
My manager encourages people in my workgroup to keep improving the work they do 75.9 0.6
My manager encourages me to learn from my mistakes 72.7 0.4
My organisation is making improvements to meet future challenges 62.3 0.2

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Case study: Infrastructure traineeship program boosts job opportunities for NSW youth

School Infrastructure NSW introduced a two-year paid traineeship program for NSW school leavers. Find out how the agency collaborated across government to produce a unique program giving trainees valuable exposure to the public infrastructure industry.

Read more

Organisation and role design

Organisational and role design refers to defining the organisational structures, employee roles and workforce plans to support the business to deliver results. These are critical to ensuring an agency has the workforce capability and structure to effectively deliver services to customers.

Employee perceptions of job purpose and enrichment

71.8% favourable overall

Employee perceptions of job purpose and enrichment

Question 2021 (% favourable)
In the last 12 months, I have received feedback to help me improve my work 64.8
My job gives me opportunities to use a variety of skills 81.0
I have a choice in deciding how I carry out day-to-day work tasks 73.3
My manager communicates how my role contributes to my organisation’s purpose 67.8

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)


Employee perceptions of role clarity and support

66.7% favourable overall 

up from 65.7% in 2020

Employee perceptions of role clarity and support

Question 2021 (% favourable) Change from 2020 (pp)
I understand what is expected of me to do well in my job 85.3 0.9
I get the support I need to do my job well 65.9 1.1
I have the tools and technology to do my job well 71.0 -0.4
I have the time to do my job well 56.0 -0.9
My performance is assessed against clear criteria 57.3 2.0
I have received the training and development I need to do my job well 64.8 3.1

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Employee perceptions of being paid fairly for the work they do


down from 62.6% in 2020

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)


Recruitment refers to the process of attracting, screening and onboarding people. It is an important, high-volume activity for the sector, which is the largest employer in Australia. In 2021, over half a million applications were submitted through the I work for NSW recruitment system.

Growing the sector’s capabilities means recruiting the right people. Although employee perceptions of recruitment remain poor, they have improved this year. Time to hire has also decreased each year since 2017 and is now at a record low of 38.6 days.

517,929 job applications

completed via I work for NSW in 2021

Source: Recruitment data collection (2021)

Note: The 2021 recruitment data now includes data from Cornerstone for 2019 to 2021, and from SuccessFactors and PageUp for the 2020–21 financial year, for selected agencies, with slight adjustments to time-to-hire methodology.

Source: Recruitment data collection (201721)

Employee perceptions of recruitment

Question 2021 (% favourable) Change from 2020 (pp)
I have confidence in the way recruitment decisions are made 41.5 3.3
My organisation generally selects capable people to do the job 54.9 2.6

Source: PMES (2020, 2021) 

Case study: Department of Customer Service uses 'recruitment accelerator' to deliver world-class recruitment journey for candidates and hiring managers

NSW Department of Customer Service (DCS) wanted to improve the hiring process for its staff and applicants. Find out how it used human-centred design to create its 'recruitment accelerator' – a one-stop shop for fulfilling all its recruitment needs.

Read more


Exploring new opportunities is an exciting part of the I work for NSW employee value proposition. A mobile workforce makes it easier to redeploy resources to match priorities and respond effectively to change and emerging trends. It is a powerful way to get the right person into the right job quickly and infuse innovative ideas and practices into a workplace. Employee mobility is also widely regarded as one of the best ways to develop leadership capability, provide enriching careers, and build and retain capability and ‘know-how’.

Employees who moved to another agency: 1.8%

up from 1.6% in 2020

Employees considering another role within the sector: 38.0%

down from 40.3% in 2020

Employee perceptions of the barriers to moving to another role

Question 2021 (%) 2020 (%)
Personal/family considerations 28.9 29.6
Lack of visible opportunities 28.6 32.2
Lack of promotion opportunities 27.4 30.9
Geographic location considerations 23.8 27.2
The application/recruitment process is too cumbersome or time consuming 21.4 23.7
Insufficient training and development 14.3 15.9
Lack of support for temporary assignments/secondments 13.7 15.9
Lack of required capabilities or experience 11.9 12.7
Lack of support from my manager/supervisor 11.0 11.9
Other 9.8 9.8
There are no major barriers to my career progression 28.8 25.7

Source: PMES (2020, 2021) 

Case study: Multicultural NSW supports the community during NSW’s pandemic lockdowns

Multicultural NSW has traditionally focused on supporting the multicultural community of NSW through community engagement and the provision of interpreting and translation services. These services were vital during the first COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, and again in the face of the Delta outbreak and lockdown this year.

Read more

Digital and customer service

Customer satisfaction is a key measure of the performance of the NSW public sector. The multiple and varied parts of the sector share a common goal – delivering services that make NSW a great place to live, work, visit and invest in. We want our services to be easy to use, high quality and accessible to all.

The Customer Experience Unit in the Department of Customer Service developed the Customer Satisfaction Measurement Survey (CSMS) in 2013. A key survey output is the Customer Satisfaction Index. The index assesses:

  • how satisfied customers are with a government service
  • how close their experience is to their expectations of that service
  • how close their experience is to an ideal service.

It is scored out of 100. A higher score means that customers are more satisfied overall. Scores can be averaged across services to produce a score for the whole sector.

The Department of Customer Service is redesigning the CSMS in 2021. The data from the redesigned CSMS is not yet available and will not be comparable to previous years’ data. As such, we have used the latest results, from 2020, to highlight the sector’s increasing ability to meet customer needs.

Source: CSMS (201620)

Employee perceptions of customer service

72.9% favourable overall

Question 2021 (% favourable) Change from 2020 (pp)
I am empowered to make the decisions needed to help customers and/or communities 70.7 -
Senior managers communicate the importance of customers in our work 70.2 -0.1
The processes in my organisation are designed to support the best experience for customers 60.7 3.0
My workgroup considers customer needs when planning our work 83.3 -
My organisation meets the needs of the communities, people, and businesses of NSW 69.9 1.1
People in my workgroup can explain how our work impacts customers 81.4 -

Source: PMES (2020, 2021) 

Case study: NSW Health’s mass vaccination centre increases capacity to vaccinate our employees and the people of NSW

NSW Health had an extraordinary year of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hope arrived with an exciting milestone that protects the sector’s frontline workers and the wider community: vaccines. Find out more about the rollout of the NSW Health vaccination program.

Read more


The 14 Premier’s Priorities cannot be achieved by a single agency operating in isolation. Delivering for the people of NSW requires agencies to work together and share knowledge, internally and with other sectors.

Well-executed collaboration enables agencies to share knowledge, ideas, resources, skills, networks and assets, leading to better outcomes for our customers. Across the sector, employee perceptions of teamwork and collaboration within and across organisations have improved slightly since 2020. This is encouraging, especially in a sector that has had to adapt to the challenges of hybrid and flexible ways of working.

Employee perceptions of teamwork and collaboration: 67.3%

favourable overall

up from 66.0% in 2020

Question 2021 (% favourable) Change from 2020 (pp)
My workgroup works collaboratively to achieve its goals 79.2 0.8
There is good team spirit in my workgroup 75.6 1.5
There is good co-operation between teams across my organisation 56.7 2.3
Senior managers promote collaboration between my organisation and other organisations we work with 56.5 0.5

Source: PMES (2020, 2021) 

Case study: Emergency Services Portfolio Project Team provides rapid support during emergencies

The people of NSW have experienced a range of life-disrupting emergencies over the past two years, from bushfires and floods to a global pandemic. Find out how Service NSW supported the creation of several specific project teams to deliver services quickly to the people most affected.

Read more