A NSW Government website
Public Service Commission


Chapter 6


66.3% in 2022

+0.6pp vs 2021


33.7% in 2022

-0.6 pp vs 2021


177 in 2022

+118 vs 2021

Note: ‘pp’ stands for percentage points.

Representation overview

The proportion of women in the NSW public sector has been increasing for more than a decade. Workforce Profile data shows that 66.3% of employees in 2022 were women, compared to 61.9% in 2013. 

The NSW public sector continues to employ a higher proportion of women than the broader NSW labour market.1 Women made up 45.6% of the total NSW workforce in 2013, and 47.7% in 2022. The 2 biggest contributors to female employment in the public sector are from the 2 largest clusters: Education (76.8%) and Health (74.4%). Together, they represent 52.4% of total headcount in the sector. Table 6.1 shows that the lowest female representation in 2022 was in the Transport cluster (34.1%). The movement of Essential Energy, a majority male agency, from Planning, Industry and Environment to Treasury has resulted in a large drop in female representation. 

Table 6.1: Public sector representation of women by cluster, census headcount, 2022 

Cluster Women employed in cluster Percentage of women in cluster
Customer Service 7,295 63.1
Education 109,508 76.8
Enterprise, Investment and Trade 2,631 56.1
Health 117,667 74.4
Planning, Industry and Environment 7,116 47.4
Premier and Cabinet 1,076 63.2
Regional NSW 2,536 48.7
Stronger Communities 26,809 45.8
Transport 10,093 34.1
Treasury 2,324 38.5
Total public sector2 287,283 66.3


In 2022, the occupations with the highest number of female employees were Nurses (86.7%), School Teachers (77.8%), and Clerical and Administrative Workers (75.7%). Together, these occupations accounted for more than half of female employees in the sector (51.8%).

Despite the high level of representation across the sector, women remained under-represented at higher salary levels.

Figure 6.2 shows there was a trend towards a higher proportion of women in lower-paid roles and a lower proportion of women in higher-paid roles, although the gap between men and women is slowly narrowing. In 2014, women held less than a third of roles paid at the senior executive level (30.6%). In 2022, 42.1% of these roles are held by women, an increase of 11.5pp since 2014 and an increase of 1.4pp from 2021. This was the largest year-on-year increase since 2016 (2.6pp).


Analysis of gender balance in NSW public sector recruitment data can provide insights into the ability to shift the gender imbalance in higher-paid roles.3

In 2022, a higher proportion of males than females were appointed to roles with a salary of $169,638 or higher, noting that senior executive roles are included in this range. Female appointments were higher across lower salary ranges. Women were appointed to 44% of roles with a salary greater than $281,551.

Senior leader gender equity

The proportion of women in senior leadership roles varied across clusters and has been increasing since the introduction of the gender parity target. Figure 6.4 shows the progress towards achieving the Premier’s Priority target of women holding 50% of senior leadership roles across the sector.

One challenge in increasing the proportion of female appointments in higher-paid roles is that fewer women apply for the roles than men. In 2022, 45.4% of the people appointed to senior leader roles were women. Modelling has confirmed that 6 female appointments are required for every 10 roles to achieve gender equity in this cohort. 

Gender pay gap

Median remuneration, men


+2.4% vs 2021

Median remuneration, women


+2.0% vs 2021

Gender pay gap


+0.3pp vs 20214 

In 2022, the gap in median remuneration between men and women in the NSW public sector was 4.5% ($4,304), compared to 4.1% ($3,905) in 2021. For a second year in a row, this represents the highest gender pay gap in the last decade (see Figure 6.5; pay gap is calculated using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development method which is not comparable to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency methods and published national figures). 

When describing a set of data, the median is less sensitive to extreme values in the upper and lower ranges compared to the mean. However, it is affected by large groups around the middle remuneration value. For women, the median remuneration applies to Nurses, and the large size of this cohort means the pay gap is being driven by any changes in the distribution of the remuneration of men. While there were larger increases in the number of women than men in 2022 across all higher salary ranges, this did not reduce the pay gap (see Figure 6.6).

The increase in the median remuneration of men was mainly due to the decrease in the number of men paid below the median. Figure 6.6 shows that there were over 2,000 fewer men in the lower salary ranges in 2022 than 2021. This is mainly due to the privatisation of the State Transit Authority, where remuneration for bus drivers was below the median. Without this cohort exiting the sector, the pay gap would have been unchanged from the level of 2021 (4.1%). 

Within the government sector, other Crown services had the largest pay gap in 2022. This mainly related to School Support Staff, who made up 53.4% of other Crown services. These employees had a lower median remuneration of $57,818, and 91.2% were women.

The median remuneration for Transport Service increased by 25.0%. In the Transport Service, the median remuneration for women increased (10.9%), from $113,322 in 2021 to $125,712 in 2022. For men, median remuneration increased (43.6%), from $90,949 in 2021 to $130,623 in 2022. This mainly stems from the privatisation of the State Transit Authority, where 2,660 bus drivers with a median remuneration of $61,157 left the public sector, of which 95.2% were men.

The Public Service was the only service where the median remuneration of women was equal to that of men. Overall, 56.7% of employees in the Public Service and 51.2% of senior executives were women. 

The gender pay gap in 2021 for Senior Executive bands 1–3 was 2.3%. Across the bands, the gender pay gap decreased 0.2pp in Band 1, decreased 0.1pp in Band 2 and increased 0.2pp in Band 3. 

Only 44.3% of senior executives paid above the median salary were women across the 3 bands. This is a 3.2pp increase from last year (40.9%). Band 1 had the lowest representation of women paid above the median salary for the band (41.6%), in line with the wide pay gap in this band. The representation of women paid above the median salary in bands 2 and 3 was 48.7% and 45.1%, respectively. 

Employment arrangements

Employment arrangements varied between genders, with more women working part time than men (see Table 6.2). In 2022, 34.3% of non-casual female employees in the NSW public sector worked part time, compared to 10.7% of male non-casual employees.

Table 6.2: Employment arrangement by gender, non-casual census headcount, 2022

Employment arrangement Male Male (%) Female Female (%)
Full time 117,621 40.8 170,831 59.2
Part time 14,022 13.6 89,295 86.4


Of the 108 public sector departments and agencies that employed people on a part-time basis in 2022, 90 agencies had at least 75% female part-time employee representation.

Figure 6.9 shows the proportion of part-time employees by gender for each service. In 2022, the NSW Health Service continued to have the highest proportion of men in part-time employment (20.0%) and the second-highest proportion of women working part time (42.7%).


1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (June 2022), ‘Table 4. Labour force status by sex, New South Wales - trend, seasonally adjusted and original’, [time series spreadsheet], 6202.0 Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, accessed 29 September 2022.

2 Some public sector entities do not align to a cluster, so the public sector total differs from the total of the clusters.

3 Recruitment data is collected from public sector agencies’ source systems where available. The main exclusions are the Health cluster and most of the Transport cluster in 2021.

Rounding error

In scope: senior executives in bands 1–3 in the NSW government sector, specifically Public Service senior executives and aligned executive services (Health Service, Transport Service and NSW Police Force). Excluded: any executives not reported under the band structure in the Workforce Profile collection; Senior Executive Band 4; contractors; and non-executive employees with salaries between $169,638 and $197,400 in 2021–22 and whose position falls between Grade 11/12 and the Executive Band.