26 September 2023

Research raises PS gender equality obstacles

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The Public Service Commission (PSC) has released the results of its research into gender equality barriers for senior leadership roles in the NSW Public Sector.

The PSC undertook the research in partnership with the NSW Behavioural Insights Unit, Customer Service, Stronger Communities and Transport Clusters.

The PSC said the research had identified 10 opportunities to remove obstacles preventing women rising to senior roles, including: setting KPIs for flexible work; only including essential criteria in job ads; and giving comparable and actionable feedback on performance.

“Over the last three years the representation of women in senior leadership roles has steadily increased from 33 per cent to 38 per cent,” the PSC said.

“While this increase is an important step towards gender parity, there is still a considerable way to go,” it said.

The PSC said that during the research process it had analysed over 1.1 million NSW Government job applications from the past five years.

“We held in-depth interviews with 65 male and female employees in leadership pipeline and senior leader roles across the NSW Government Sector,” it said.

“We received approximately 500 responses to our survey, which we circulated to approximately 2,500 people.”

It said the research uncovered two promising signs that gender parity in senior roles by 2025 was achievable.

“Looking at an aggregate level across the NSW Government Sector, when women apply for roles, they are significantly more likely to be successful compared with men,” the PSC said.

“Our research showed that the clear majority of women (75.5 per cent) were interested in applying for more senior roles in the next five years,” it said.

The PSC said that despite these promising signs, women submitted fewer applications for senior roles than men and that this appeared to be the greatest challenge to achieving gender equality in NSW Government Sector leadership.

The 14-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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