A NSW Government website
Public Service Commission

Our people

Who we are and how we feel at work.

Our people are the key to having a world class public service. The sector would not be able to deliver world class services without an inclusive and diverse workforce that is fully engaged.

This section touches on many aspects important to our people, including wellbeing, employee engagement, inclusion and diversity, learning and development, tenure, intention to stay and remuneration. 

Employee engagement

Employee engagement is about a person’s connection to their organisation. It is a global measure of employee experience and an important measure for the sector as it can be a proxy for productivity and, therefore, the sector's overall performance. 

Many factors influence engagement, including leadership, a positive and inclusive work culture, manager support, accountability and flexible work. Employee engagement has remained steady since 2020, which is encouraging given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: People Matter Employee Survey (PMES) (201721)

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Source: PMES (2020,2021)

Job satisfaction: 69.5%

69.7% in 2020

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Source: PMES (201721)

Learning and development

Access to learning and development helps employees achieve their performance and career goals. Learning and development also helps agencies to develop the most useful employee capabilities to deliver business outcomes. 

The People Matter survey consistently shows that learning and development is a key driver of employee engagement. Encouragingly, there has been an increase from last year in employees stating that they have received the training and development needed to do their job well. Employee satisfaction with opportunities for career development has also increased since last year.

Employee perceptions of learning and development

57.1% favourable overall

up from 54.4% in 2020

Questions 2021 
(% favourable)
Change from 2020 (pp)
I am satisfied with the opportunities available for career development in my organisation 50.5 2.7
My organisation is committed to developing its employees 55.8 2.0
I have received the training and development I need to do my job well 64.8 3.1

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)


Wellbeing means feeling good, functioning well and experiencing satisfaction and fulfilment in work and life. The wellbeing score is an aggregate of an employee’s self-rating of their general wellbeing, on a scale of 0 to 10, and their responses in two other People Matter survey sections in which they rate their agreement with the statements:

  • There are people at work who care about me.
  • I can keep my work stress at an acceptable level.

The wellbeing of public sector employees has decreased only slightly since 2020, which is encouraging considering the challenges the sector has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Employee wellbeing score: 69.2%

70.1% in 2020

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Employees with a diagnosed mental health issue: 9.4%

8.7% in 2020

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Hours of paid unscheduled absence per full-time equivalent employee, 2017-21


Hours of paid unscheduled absence per full-time equivalent employee, 2017–21: text version of diagram

2017: 64.1, 2018: 65.2, 2019: 64.1, 2020: 63.5, 2021: 65.1

Source: WFP (201721)

Inclusion and diversity

Building an inclusive and diverse workforce is a key pillar in the NSW public sector’s plan to provide a world class public service. 

  • Inclusion enables a genuine sense of participation and contribution so that everyone feels valued, accepted and supported to thrive at work regardless of background, identity or circumstances. 
  • Diversity refers to the seen and unseen characteristics that make each individual different. For the public sector, a diverse workforce reflects the breadth of differences within the community it serves.

A diverse workforce alone does not equate to a successful workforce. To realise the benefits of diversity, it must also be inclusive. In an inclusive workplace, the culture, leadership, systems and work practices help employees feel safe and belong. It also encourages them to be open and to be themselves. Inclusion enables genuine participation and contribution, regardless of seen and unseen individual differences, and drives greater innovation and better customer service (Diversity Council Australia, 2017).

Employee perceptions of inclusion and diversity

74.0% favourable overall

74.4% in 2020

Questions 2021 
(% favourable)
Change from 2020 (pp)
People in my workgroup treat each other with respect 81.2 1.4
My organisation respects individual differences 79.3 0.2
Personal background is not a barrier to participation in my organisation 80.2 0.8
Senior managers support the career advancement of women 63.0 -1.4
I can speak up and share a different view to others in my organisation 69.3 0.2
I feel as if I belong in my organisation 70.8 -

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Employee voice score: 69.1%

68.6% in 2020

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)

Sources: WFP (2020, 2021); ABS (2020a, 2016a)

Sources: WFP (2020, 2021); ABS (2018a, 2018b)

Source: PMES (2020, 2021)  

Source: WFP (201221)

Case study: Increasing diversity in the Transport cluster

Sydney Trains’ apprenticeship program and Transport for NSW’s Aboriginal career development and mentoring program are two of many initiatives that promote diversity in the Transport cluster.

Read more

Premier’s Priority for a world class public service

The Premier’s Priority for attaining a world class public service involves implementing best practices to increase productivity and digital capability, and increasing diversity so that by 2025: 

  • 50% of senior leadership roles are held by women 
  • there are 114 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles 
  • 5.6% of government sector roles are held by people with a disability. 

A public service that is diverse and inclusive will better represent and reflect the communities we serve.

Sources: WFP (2020, 2021); ABS (2021c, 2021d)

Source: WFP (201721)

Women in senior leadership, 2014–21 and 2025 target and projections

The PSC has used Workforce Profile data to forecast the level of representation of women in senior leadership by 2025, under three different scenarios. To achieve its target, the NSW public sector needs to recruit a woman for six out of every 10 senior leadership roles. This improvement will only be achieved if the NSW public sector accelerates its efforts to develop a pipeline of female leaders, and identifies and removes the obstacles in the recruitment process that impede women’s advancement to senior levels.

Source: WFP (201421)


  • Scenario 1 = average historical recruitment rate.
  • Scenario 2 = minimum 50% female recruitment.
  • Scenario 3 = minimum 60% female recruitment. Senior leaders are non-casual government sector employees with a salary equal to or higher than $166,247 at 1 July 2020, excluding Health roles of a specialist or technical nature with no leadership or managerial responsibilities, and Justice roles with a statutory or institutional character (such as judge, magistrate and barrister).

Sources: WFP (2020, 2021); ABS (2016b, 2015)

Source: WFP (201721)


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership, 2014–21, and 2025 target projections

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership, 2014–21, and 2025 target projection (text version of diagram)

57 in 2014

55 in 2015

63 in 2016

71 in 2017

87 in 2018

98 in 2019

105 in 2020

130 in 2021

114 in 2025

Case study: Dedicated staff at Wirrimbirra transform the lives of Aboriginal families and children in Western NSW

Wirrimbirra is an Aboriginal family preservation service that is transforming the lives of vulnerable children and families in Western NSW.  Find out how the service is working to keeping children safe, protect our most vulnerable children and break the cycle of disadvantage.

Read more

Sources: WFP (2020, 2021); ABS (2016c, 2016d)

People with disability, 2014–21, and 2025 target and projections

People with disability, 2014–21 and 2025 target and projections (text version of diagram)

3.8% in 2012

3.5% in 2013

3.0% in 2014

2.9% in 2015

2.8% in 2016

2.7% in 2017

2.5% in 2018

2.5% in 2019

2.4% in 2020

2.5% in 2021

Target: 5.6% by 2025

Case study: DPIE’s workplace adjustment portal and passport improve the experience for employees seeking workplace adjustments

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) is committed to creating a workplace where the health and wellbeing of its people are at the forefront. Find out how the department improved the experience for people with disability requesting an adjustment.

Read more

Tenure and intention to stay

‘Tenure’ refers to the time that an employee has spent in an organisation. ‘Intention to stay’ refers to an employee’s desire and willingness to remain with their current organisation. Intention to stay can be influenced by many aspects of the employee experience, including engagement. 

Intention to stay is a leading indicator of turnover. However, intention doesn’t always translate into action. A certain amount of turnover in any organisation is healthy. The greatly varying nature of functions performed by NSW public sector agencies makes it difficult to determine if the sector’s overall level of turnover is healthy or unhealthy. It is important for agencies to combine intention to stay and turnover data with other People Matter survey data and with information obtained from staff exit surveys. This will help agencies understand what is driving employee turnover within the context of their specific workplaces.

Median agency tenure: 8.1 years

8.4 years in 2020

Source: WFP (2020, 2021)

Source: PMES (2021)


Remuneration or pay for NSW public sector employees is determined by several Acts, regulations and rules managed by various NSW Government agencies. Employees’ remuneration and conditions vary according to the legislation and industrial instrument that applies to their job type and employing agency.

Median salary: $90,394

$90,123 in 2020

Source: WFP (2020, 2021)

Source: Workforce Profile Collection (2012-2021)

Median salary: $94,299 for men, $90,394 for women

2020: $92,176 for men, $90,123 for women

Gender pay gap: $3,905 or 4.1%

2020: $2,053 or 2.2%

Source: WFP (2020, 2021)

Note: Employee salary is the full-time base remuneration for the role, regardless of whether the employee is working part time or full time.

Source: WFP (2020, 2021)