Senior executives in the government sector

3,680

senior executives in the government sector

+10.4pp vs 2020

Note: ‘pp’ stands for percentage points.

A key objective of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 was to create a simpler executive structure that gives this cohort greater mobility across the sector. The Government Sector Employment Legislation Amendment Act 2016 supported this by aligning the senior executive employment arrangements of the NSW Health Service, Transport Service and NSW Police Force with those of the Public Service.

Table 3.1: Senior executives in public sector, census headcount, 2020–21

Service  2020  2021  Change (%) 
Public Service  2,098 2,280 8.7
NSW Health Service  188 200 6.4
NSW Police Force 74 74 0.0
Transport Service 675 854 26.5
Other Crown services  298 272 -8.7
Total government sector  3,333 3,680 10.4
State owned corporations  243 281 15.6
External to government sector  61 58 -4.9
Total public sector 3,637 4,019 10.5

 

At June 2021, there were 4,019 senior executives in the public sector. Of these, 3,680 were in the government sector, which was a 10.4% increase, compared to the previous year.

Across services in the government sector, the largest growth occurred in the Transport Service (+179 or 26.5%) and the Public Service (+182 or 8.7%). The number of senior executives increased by 125 at Transport for NSW and 55 at Sydney Metro, compared to 2020. These increases reflect the growing portfolio of major infrastructure projects in NSW. 

There were 2,280 senior executives in the Public Service in 2021, an increase of 182 compared to 2020 (see Figure 3.1).

 

Table 3.2: Senior executives in the Public Service by cluster, census headcount, 2020-21

Cluster  2020  2021  Change  Change (%) 
Customer Service  254 258 4 1.6
Education 372 416 44 11.8
Health 116 114 -2 -1.7
Planning, Industry and Environment  436 489 53 12.2
Premier and Cabinet 240 315 75 31.3
Regional NSW 143 166 23 16.1
Stronger Communities 388 409 21 5.4
Transport 1 1 0 0.0
Treasury 148 112 -36 -24.3
Total 2,098 2,280 182 8.7

 

The number of senior executives increased across most clusters in the Public Service, as shown in Table 3.2. The largest increase occurred in the Premier and Cabinet cluster (+75 or 31.3%), which was largely due to the establishment of Investment NSW. Destination NSW, and Jobs, Investment and Tourism moved from the Treasury cluster to Investment NSW, leading to the decrease in Treasury. Also, the Western Parkland City Authority moved from the Treasury cluster to the Premier and Cabinet cluster. 

The Planning, Industry and Environment cluster also had an increase in senior executives (+53 or 12.2%). More than 80% of this increase (43) was in the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. This reflects the project and program requirements of the NSW economic and social recovery plan, as well as the establishment of Water Infrastructure NSW and the Energy Corporation of NSW. 

The increase in Education was partly due to 26 TAFE Commission Senior Executives becoming classified as Public Service senior executives due to a change in their employment arrangements.

Figure 3.2 shows that in 2021, 78.1% of Public Service senior executives (PSSEs) and aligned services executives were classified as Senior Executive Band 1, while 17.7% were in Band 2 and only 4.2% were in Band 3. The distribution of PSSEs and aligned services senior executives between bands is similar, with 77.0% of PSSEs and 80.0% of aligned services senior executives at Band 1, 18.6% and 16.3% at Band 2, and 4.5% and 3.7% at Band 3, respectively.

Premier's Priority for diversity in the senior leader cohort

Percentage of female senior leaders

33.4 in 2014, 33.8 in 2015, 36.1 in 2016, 37.4 in 2017, 38.7 in 2018, 40.3 in 2019, 41.1 in 2020, 42.7 in 2021. Target: 50 by 2025

 

View data table of above diagram

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
33.4% 33.8% 36.1% 37.4% 38.7% 40.3% 41.1% 42.7%

Target: 50.0% by 2025

Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior leaders

57 in 2014, 55 in 2015, 63 in 2016, 71 in 2017, 87 in 2018, 98 in 2019, 105 in 2020, 130 in 2021. Target: 114 by 2025

View data table of above diagram

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
57 55 63 71 87 98 105 130

 

Target: 114 by 2025

 

One component of the Premier’s Priority for a world class public service is driving senior leader diversity.1 The priority includes targets to achieve gender equity in senior leaders and increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles by 2025.

There has been steady progress towards achieving these targets since the Premier’s Priority was announced in 2014. The proportion of female senior leaders increased by 1.6pp to 42.7% in 2021. Since 2014, female representation in each band has largely increased each year, and cumulatively is up 8.9pp for Band 1 senior leaders, 12.2pp for Band 2 and 16.7pp for Bands 3 and 4. Higher salary bands had fewer women than men, but the gap has narrowed since the target was introduced. Since 2016, the proportion of female leaders in Bands 3 and 4 combined has increased at around double the rate for Band 1 roles.

Table 3.3: Female senior leaders by equivalent band, 2014–211

  2014 (%) 2015 (%)  2016 (%)  2017 (%)  2018 (%)  2019 (%)  2020 (%)  2021 (%) 
Band 1  33.9 34.4 36.6 37.7 38.8 40.5 41.2 42.8
Band 2 30.9 31.2 35.0 37.4 40.5 40.3 42.1 43.1
Bands 3 and 4  22.2 20.8 24.8 28.3 30.6 34.6 36.2 38.9
Total 33.4 33.8 36.1 37.4 38.7 40.3 41.1 42.7

Table 3.4: Female senior leaders by cluster, 2020–21

Cluster  2020 (%)  2021 (%) 
Customer Service  49.9 51.1
Education 56.0 56.0
Health 43.1 44.1
Planning, Industry and Environment  46.5 47.7
Premier and Cabinet 52.9 52.6
Regional NSW 27.7 27.4
Stronger Communities 29.5 31.5
Transport 32.2 35.7
Treasury 45.4 42.3
Total public sector 41.1 42.7

 

Female senior leader representation varies across clusters (see Table 3.4).

The Education, Premier and Cabinet, and Customer Service clusters had more than 50% female representation (56.0%, 52.6% and 51.1%, respectively). While the Transport cluster had one of the lowest rates, it improved representation by close to 3.5pp in 2021. 

More improvements are needed if the sector is to reach the Premier’s Priority target in 2025. Forecasting based on turnover and gender ratios indicates that the sector will fall 5% short of the target if the current trend continues. Modelling indicates that the NSW Government could reach the target by 2025 if six in every 10 senior leader appointments go to women. 

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior leaders increased from 105 to 130 in 2021, exceeding the Premier’s Priority target for 2025 of 114. This is an exceptional result for the sector. Three clusters accounted for most of the increase: Education (+12), Planning, Industry and Environment (+5) and Premier and Cabinet (+4). The Customer Service, Transport and Treasury clusters also increased their number of senior leaders (+2 each).

Apart from a slight decrease in 2015, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior leaders has increased each year since 2014, bringing a total increase of 128.1%.

Table 3.5: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior leaders by band, census headcount, 2014-211

  2014  2015  2016  2017  2018  2019  2020  2021 
Band 1  52 51 57 63 78 88 97 118
Bands 2, 3 and 4  5 4 6 8 9 10 8 12
Total 57 55 63 71 87 98 105 130

 

Figure 3.4 highlights that while most of the increase in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cohort occurred in the lower salary range (66 appointments), the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior leaders in Senior Executive Bands 2–4 has increased by 7 since 2014.

Notes

1 Senior leaders are non-casual government sector employees earning $166,247 or more (adjusted annually with wages policy), excluding Health Service roles of a specialist or technical nature with no leadership or managerial responsibilities and Justice roles of a statutory or institutional character (judges, magistrates and barristers). When displayed in bands, these are aligned to the salary ranges of Public Service senior executives. Band 1 includes non‑executives paid below the minimum PSSE salary level.