Frequently asked questions

Select a question below to find out more:

In their annual reports, Departments and statutory bodies must report on their workforce diversity achievements during the reporting year and their key workforce diversity strategies proposed for the following year (see Annual Reports (Departments) Regulation 2015 Schedule 1 and Annual Reports (Statutory Bodies) Regulation 2015 Schedule 1).

The 2016 workforce diversity benchmarks and targets are shown below. Please note that these benchmarks and targets are currently being reviewed with plans for revised 2017 figures.

Benchmarks compare the workforce composition against a standard, for example, comparing diversity of NSW public sector workforce against the demographics of the NSW working age population, whereas targets are set for the NSW public sector workforce and are to be achieved by a specific timeframe.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: 2.6%
    Target set by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) for all classification levels.
  • Women: 50%
    Benchmark of 50% for all classification levels, which will support the Premier’s Priority for women in senior leadership roles.
  • People with disability: N/A
  • People with disability who require work related adjustment: 1.5%
    EmployABILITY set a target to increase the employment of people with a disability requiring a workplace adjustment to 1.5%.

  • People whose first language was not English: 19%
    Based on ABS 2001 Census of Population and Housing.

Targeted and identified roles facilitate the employment of groups disadvantaged in employment.

Targeted Roles – although being from a particular group (e.g. people with disability) is not a genuine occupational qualification, the role is being targeted and advertised for people from a particular group to prioritise and improve employment outcomes.

Identified Roles – where being from a particular group (e.g. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) is a genuine occupational qualification for the role and only people from that group are eligible for appointment to the role.

To facilitate the employment of individuals from groups disadvantaged in employment:

  • merit selection requirements can be modified in relation to certain groups identified as being disadvantaged in employment under rule 26 of the Government Sector Employment (General) Rules 2014; and
  •  individuals of a particular race or age can be afforded access to facilities, services or opportunities to meet their special needs or to promote equal or improved access to those facilities, services or opportunities under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.

The legal framework to promote equal employment opportunity (EEO) in the NSW public sector has been largely unchanged since it was introduced in 1980. Significant progress has been achieved in addressing the historic disadvantage experienced by particular groups in society when looking for employment. However, the highly prescriptive planning process of EEO may have resulted in the diversity objectives and initiatives of some agencies separating from strategic workforce planning in many instances, rather than being integrated into it. Further, the employment context for some groups on which EEO focused has changed over the years.

The GSE Act changes the NSW public sector’s approach for workforce diversity by broadening the concept of diversity and integrating it within each agency’s workforce planning, rather than operating as an add-on. It allows the PSC and agencies to focus on outcomes rather than process. The GSE Act:

  • repeals Part 9A of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 and reflects a wider, more contemporary concept of workforce diversity, including but not limited to gender, cultural and linguistic background, Aboriginality and disability
  • enshrines in legislation the responsibility of Department Secretaries and agency heads for their organisation’s conduct and management, including making the agency head responsible for workforce diversity within their organisation, and ensuring it is integrated into strategic workforce planning, which will in turn support business planning and customer service
  • requires the Public Service Commissioner to provide periodic reports on workforce diversity, and enables the Commissioner to make rules regarding workforce diversity that are binding on Department Secretaries and agency heads.

Following the commencement of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (GSE Act), and its repeal of Part 9A of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (ADA), NSW government sector agencies are no longer required to prepare and implement Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) plans.

Agencies must continue to comply with all other legislative requirements not covered by the GSE Act and its supporting instruments, including the remaining sections of the ADA.

The Public Service Commission acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which our office stands.