NSW public sector: older, more women, pay inequity

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NSW public sector: older, more women, pay inequity

A third more women work in the NSW public sector than generally in the workforce, and they earn less than their male counterparts, according to a review carried out by the Premier's Department.

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A third more women work in the NSW public sector than generally in the workforce, and they earn less than their male counterparts, according to a review carried out by the Premier's Department.

The Public Sector Workforce Profile Overview Report, released today but covering only until the end of June 2000, also foreshadowed a problem with an ageing workforce, that can not be supplemented quickly enough to make up for retirements.

The breakdown

The report showed that women in the public sector workforce were making only 69% of the average gross earnings their male counterparts made. This reflected the high proportion of women working part-time, as well as the high proportion of men earning extra payment through overtime, the report found. Women made up 58% of the public sector workforce, compared to 43.5% of the overall NSW workforce, and these numbers are growing.

Women were also disproportionately represented in the different employment categories within the public sector, comprising 55% of permanent employees, 64% of temporary staff and 70% of casuals.

The report also found a serious issue with the ageing of the public sector workforce, with as much as 40% of the current staff eligible for retirement within the next 10 years. Workers under the age of 25 were under-represented in the public sector (5%) compared to the workforce generally (18.2%).

While the number of employees aged between 19 and 25 was growing, as was the percentage of the workforce under the age of 35, the rate of growth was too slow to compensate for the forecast exit of older employees.

Other findings include:

  • The public sector itself has decreased as a size of the NSW workforce. There are almost 325,000 employees - 11.7% of all employed people in NSW. But while their number has remained stable, the number of employed persons in NSW has increased.
  • Some 14% of public servants were casual employees, working only 6.5% of total paid hours worked. Around 80% of employees were permanent staff, 5.4% were temporary staff and less than 1% were contract-based executives, specialists and trainees.
  • The workforce is relatively stable, with low commencement and separation rates. After one year, 90% of all public sector employees are still working in the same agency. Despite this, there was relatively high movement in and out of a limited number of positions by women, younger and temporary staff.
  • Some 59% of employees work in the state's two largest agencies - the Department of Education and Training, and NSW Health. The next largest agency, police, accounts for only 6.3% of all full-time public servants. Outside the metropolitan areas, these figures are even greater, with education and health employees accounting for 69% of public sector employees. There are 136 agencies in total.

 

 
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