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Public Service Commission

About this report

State of the NSW Public Sector Report 2023

The State of the NSW Public Sector Report is the Public Service Commissioner’s independent assessment of the performance of the NSW public sector. It discusses the sector’s achievements and priorities, as well as the challenges it faces in delivering positive and enduring outcomes for the people of NSW.

How to read the data discussed in this report

This report draws on evidence from a range of sources, including the NSW Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) People Matter Employee Survey (People Matter survey) and the Workforce Profile. The following points will help you to better understand the information in this report.

  • The abbreviation ‘pp’ stands for ‘percentage points’.
  • ‘Full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce’ describes the total number of full-time employees required to account for all ordinary paid hours worked. 
  • All diversity statistics are based on self-disclosed information.
  • Representation of cultural background, non-binary representation, LGBTIQ+ representation, and representation of people who provide care for someone outside work is based on results from the People Matter survey.
  • CALD stands for ‘culturally and linguistically diverse’ and is used to refer to People Matter survey respondents who nominated at least one non-English speaking cultural background.

People Matter Employee Survey

The People Matter survey asks NSW public sector employees about their experiences at work; with their teams, managers and leaders; and in their organisations more broadly. The 2023 survey was open from 21 August to 15 September 2023. Around 230,000 employees across the sector responded to this year’s People Matter survey, representing a 53% response rate. This was the highest response rate since the survey was first conducted in 2012.

Most of the survey results are presented as ‘per cent favourable’, which combines the number of ‘agree’ and ‘strongly agree’ responses to a question or set of questions. In this report, some questions have been grouped for theoretical or practical reasons. Responses that are considered ‘favourable overall’ are reported as a percentage for these questions. These scores provide an overview of workplace practices that affect employee experience, and they are each assessed through multiple survey questions.

Workforce Profile

The Workforce Profile is an annual and comprehensive report of the demographic characteristics and employment arrangements of all NSW public sector employees. The PSC and all public sector agencies jointly collect and contribute to this report. The census date is the last payday of the financial year, and the census period comprises the two weeks leading up to and including the census date. The data in this report are for the census date, unless otherwise specified. The census date was 22 June 2023.


Throughout this report, ‘metropolitan’ refers to the Greater Sydney metropolitan area and the Newcastle and Wollongong local government areas (LGAs). ‘Regional’ refers to the remainder of NSW.

The maps showing the geographic distribution of NSW public sector employees use the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS’) Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) classification. SA4s are the largest sub-state regions in the Main Structure of the ASGS and are designed for the output of a variety of regional data. They represent labour markets. Those that make up the Greater Sydney metropolitan area have been grouped into Sydney East and Sydney West sub-classifications for ease of reporting.

Areas of government covered in this report

This report discusses the performance of the Public Service, government sector and public sector, each of which has a specific definition.

  • The Public Service of New South Wales means those employed under Part 4 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (NSW) (GSE Act) by the Government of New South Wales in the service of the Crown.
  • The government sector, as defined in the GSE Act, comprises the Public Service, the Teaching Service, the NSW Health Service, the Transport Service of NSW, the NSW Police Force, and any other service of the Crown (including services of any NSW Government agency). It also covers services of certain persons or bodies constituted by or under an Act or exercising public functions that are prescribed by the regulations.
  • The public sector incorporates the government sector and other government agencies, including the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Audit Office of New South, the staff of the Parliament of NSW, the Judicial Commission of New South Wales judicial officers of NSW, and State owned corporations such as water and energy companies.

The data in this report relate to the public sector, unless otherwise specified.

The 2023 State of the Customer report was unavailable for reference in this year’s report.


The Public Service Commissioner would like to acknowledge the assistance of:

  • the PSC staff members who contributed to the preparation of this report and the lead authors: Sally Davies, Raveena Harrison, Donna Fox and Emilie Priday
  • the PSC Advisory Board: Sandra McPhee AM (Chair), Jordan O’Reilly, Geoff Stalley, Simon Draper PSM and Michael Coutts-Trotter
  • NSW public sector agencies, for supporting the People Matter survey and Workforce Profile collections, and for sharing their stories as case studies.