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Public Service Commission


Chapter 5

Diversity response rate

77.7% in 2023

–0.8pp vs 2022

Employees reporting disability – estimate

2.6% in 2023

+0.1pp vs 2022

6.7% in the 2023 People Matter Employee Survey

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – estimate

3.9% in 2023

+0.1pp vs 2014

People whose language first spoken as a child was not English – estimate

19.4% in 2023

+1.3pp vs 2022

People from racial, ethnic and ethno-religious minority groups – estimate

14.8% in 2023

+1.0pp vs 2022

Note: ‘pp’ stands for percentage points.

Diversity response rates

Diversity data in the Workforce Profile is subject to several factors, including public sector employees self-identifying their diversity characteristics when their agency collects this data. This is facilitated by a culture of inclusion within agencies, and employees being encouraged to update their data. Higher diversity response rates increase the accuracy of diversity data.

The public sector’s diversity response rate was 77.7% in 2023, a 0.8pp drop from 2022.  Despite this slight decrease, the response rates for most portfolios increased, reflecting efforts to improve visibility of their workforce diversity (see Figure 5.1). 

People with disability

Despite the decreased diversity response rate this year, the estimated proportion of employees with disability increased by 0.1pp from 2.5% in 2022 to 2.6% in 2023. In comparison, 6.7% of respondents to the 2023 People Matter Employee Survey identified as having disability, which is 1.2pp higher than in 2022 (noting that this is an anonymous survey). 3

The small increase in the proportion of employees with disability relates to increases in the Public Service (+0.4pp), Transport Service (+0.2pp) and NSW Health Service (+0.1pp) (see Table 5.1).  The Public Service continues to have the highest representation of people with disability, at an estimated 4.6%. 

Table 5.1: Representation of people with disability by service (estimate), 2022 to 20235

Service 2022 (%) 2023 (%)
Public Service 4.2 4.6
NSW Health Service 1.7 1.8
NSW Police Force 0.6 0.6
Teaching Service 2.7 2.6
Transport Service 2.8 3.0
Other Crown services 3.2 3.2
Total government sector 2.5 2.6
State owned corporations 3.2 4.5
External to government sector 2.1 2.3
Total public sector 2.5 2.6

While the rate of commencement of people with disability has increased to be similar to the broader public sector, the rate of separation remains higher than for the public sector.

Figure 5.4 shows the gap has closed between the commencement rate of people with disability and the public sector over the past 3 years.  In 2023, the rate of people with disability commencing in public sector agencies was 0.04pp higher than the broader public sector. 

The separation rate of people with disability remains higher than that of the broader public sector (2.0pp gap in 2023). This is impacted by the age profile of people with disability as a higher proportion of people with disability are aged 55 and over (+13.1pp compared to people without disability, see Figure 5.5). 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The representation of employees who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples has progressively increased over the past decade. In 2023, the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples increased by 1.0pp compared to 2014, to an estimated 3.9% of non-casual employees in the NSW public sector (see Figure 5.6). 

This trend is also reflected in salary bands. From 2014 to 2023, the estimated proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees increased by 0.8pp or more in all salary bands below the level of Senior Executive (see Figure 5.7). 

The Public Service Commission refreshed the NSW Public Sector Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) in 2022, maintaining Aboriginal employment targets including the aim to achieve 3% Aboriginal representation at all non-executive salary levels by 2025. The AES is closely aligned with the NSW Closing the Gap Implementation Plan.  

Progress towards the target continues, with increased representation in 2023 in the three salary bands that have not yet reached the target. The largest improvement in these occurred in the Grade 5/6 band, which had an increase of 0.3pp compared to 2022.

Cultural diversity

The estimated proportion of employees in the sector who first spoke a language other than English (LOTE) increased from 18.1% in 2022 to 19.4% in 2023, driven by increases in the NSW Health Service (+3,262, 1.4pp) and the Public Service (+2,231, 1.5pp). Nearly half (44.5%) of all employees in this diversity group also identified as being from a racial, ethnic or ethno-religious minority group. 

There was a 1.0pp increase in the proportion of employees in the sector who identified as being from a racial, ethnic or ethno-religious minority group, from an estimated 13.8% in 2022 to an estimated 14.8% in 2023 (see Figure 5.8). The largest proportional increases were in the Transport Service (+2.6pp) and State owned corporations (+5.8pp). In contrast, representation in the NSW Police Force decreased slightly (−0.1pp).

Figure 5.9 shows the representation of LOTE and non-LOTE employees across salary bands, with the largest difference in the proportion of LOTE employees in Grade 5/6 (+4.3pp) and Grade 7/8 (−3.5pp). 

Figure 5.10 shows the gap between minority and non-minority group employees in these middle salary bands is much narrower (both 1 pp), however, the gap in the upper and lower salary ranges are much wider, with a relatively large proportional difference in General Scale (−6.7pp) and Grade 11/12 (2.3pp).

Noting these are not distinct groups as nearly half of LOTE employees also identify as being from a minority group, LOTE employees generally have higher representation in the lower salary ranges than employees from a minority group. Conversely, employees from a minority group generally have higher representation in the upper salary ranges. This suggests that language may be a greater barrier to employment in higher-paid roles than identifying as belonging to a minority group.


1The decrease in the Treasury portfolio relates to a change in Essential Energy’s diversity data.

2See the Glossary for the diversity estimation method used.

3The People Matter Employee Survey is a sample rather than a census.  

4Ibid, 2.

5Ibid, 2.

6The percentage point gap is calculated by subtracting the rate for people without disability from the rate for people with disability.

7Ibid, 2.

8Ibid, 2.

9Ibid, 2.