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Public Service Commission


Chapter 6


66.5% in 2023

+0.2pp vs 2022


33.4% in 2023

−0.2 pp vs 2022


369 in 2023

+192 vs 2022

Note: ‘pp’ stands for percentage points.

Representation overview

The proportion of women in the NSW public sector has been trending upwards for more than a decade, and the NSW public sector continues to employ a much higher proportion of women than the broader NSW labour market1.  Women made up 46.0% of the total NSW workforce in 2014, and 47.3% in 2023. In contrast, 66.5% of NSW public sector employees were women in 2023, up from 62.4% in 2014.

Table 6.1 shows the two biggest contributors to female employment in the public sector are from the two largest portfolios: Education (76.7% female) and Health (74.5% female). Together they represented just over 50% of the total headcount in the sector in 2023. In contrast, Transport had the lowest female representation of all portfolios (35.2%). 

Table 6.1: Public sector representation of women by portfolio, census headcount, 2023 

Portfolio Census headcount (%)
Communities and Justice 28,003 46.5
Customer Service 8,221 63.3
Education 113,806 76.7
Enterprise, Investment and Trade 2,403 60.4
Environment and Planning 8,145 49.0
Health 122,584 74.5
Premier and Cabinet 1,254 63.0
Regional NSW 2,996 50.2
Transport 10,819 35.2
Treasury 2,733 40.1
Total public sector 301,212 66.5

In 2023, the occupations with the highest number of female employees were Nurses (86.7%), School Support Staff (83.7%), Social and Welfare Professionals (84.0%), School Teachers (77.8%), and Clerical and Administrative Workers (75.4%). Together, these occupations accounted for more than half of female employees in the sector (68.9%). 

While there is a high representation of women in the sector, they have historically been under-represented at higher salary levels. Figure 6.2 shows while there is a higher proportion of women in lower-paid roles and a lower proportion of women in higher-paid roles, the gap between men and women is narrowing in the higher-paid roles. In 2014, women held less than a third of roles paid at the senior executive level (30.6%). In 2023, 43.2% of these roles were held by women, an increase of 12.6pp since 2014 and an increase of 1pp from 2022. 

The available 2023 recruitment data showed that most appointments were female across most salary ranges. Female appointments were higher across lower salary ranges. Also, a higher proportion of females than males were appointed to roles with a salary of $173,930 or higher, noting that senior executive roles are included in this range. Women were appointed to 50% of the roles with a salary greater than $287,201, an increase of 6pp from 2022. A continuation of this trend will further narrow the gap in the gender split in the higher paid roles. 

Gender pay gap

Median remuneration, men


+4.4% vs 2022

Median remuneration, women


+2.5% vs 2022

Gender pay gap


+1.7pp vs 2022 

In 2023, the gap in median remuneration between men and women in the NSW public sector was 6.2% ($6,205), compared to 4.5% ($4,304) in 2022. For the third year in a row, the gender pay gap has increased. This represents the highest gender pay gap in the last decade2 (see Figure 6.4).  


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 2023 across all higher salary ranges, this did not reduce the pay gap (see Figure 6.5). 

The median remuneration for women increased in alignment with the 2.5% salary increase and remained equal to the median remuneration for Nurses from $92,236 in 2022 to $94,568 in 2023.  

The median remuneration for men increased 4.4%, which was a result of a range of changes in the composition and remuneration of the male cohort rather than key driving factors.  

In the government sector, other Crown services had the largest pay gap in 2023. This mainly related to School Support Staff, which made up 54.4% of other Crown services. These employees had a lower median remuneration of $59,280, and 90.6% were women. 

The median remuneration for the Transport Service increased by 5.4% from 2022 to 2023. In the Transport Service, the median remuneration for women increased (4.1%), from $125,712 in 2022 to $130,877 in 2023. For men, median remuneration increased (5.9%), from $130,623 in 2022 to $138,284 in 2023.  

The only service in the government sector with a positive pay gap was the Public Service where the median remuneration of women ($101,947) was more than men ($98,982).  Overall, 57.4% of employees in the Public Service and 52.5% of senior executives were women.  

The gender pay gap in 2023 for Senior Executive bands 1–3 was 2.6%, notably lower than that of the broader workforce. Across the bands, the largest change in gender pay gap was in Band 3, which decreased 0.9pp in 2023. Bands 1 and 3 had the lowest pay gap, each at 2.1%.  

Only 44.9% of senior executives paid above the median salary were women across the 3 bands. This is a 0.6pp increase from last year (44.3%). Band 1 had the lowest representation of women paid above the median salary for the band (42.4%), in line with the wide pay gap in this band. The representation of women paid above the median salary in bands 1 and 3 was 48.1% and 49.7%, respectively.  

Employment arrangements

Employment arrangements varied between genders, with more women working part time than men (see Table 6.2).  

Table 6.2: Employment arrangement by gender, non-casual census headcount, 2023

Employment arrangement Male Male (%) Female Female (%)
Full time 121,300 40.5 178,370 59.5
Part time 15,066 13.8 93,923 86.2

In 2023, 34.5% of non-casual female employees in the NSW public sector worked part time, compared to 11.0% of male non-casual employees. 

Of the 102 public sector departments and agencies that employed people on a part-time basis in 2023, 92 agencies had at least 75% female part-time employee representation. 

Figure 6.8 shows the proportion of part-time employees by gender for each service. In 2023, the NSW Health Service continued to have the highest proportion of men in part-time employment (20.4%) and the second-highest proportion of women working part time (42.4%). The highest proportion of women working part time were in other Crown services (75.4%). This was due to the part-time employment arrangement in School Administrative and Support roles where 9 in 10 employees were women.  


1Australian Bureau of Statistics (June 2023), ‘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 26 September 2023.

2Pay 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.

3Scope: senior executives in bands 1–3 in the NSW government sector; includes Public Service senior executives and aligned executive services (Health Service, Transport Service and NSW Police Force).