annual report cover

We place a high priority on developing our people

We continued to strengthen our people capability and leadership

We are continually focused on developing our people, making the best use of their talent, building strong capability and improving performance. This is particularly important given the increased complexity of the needs of those who receive our services and the way in which we support them.

We remain committed to our strengths-based approach to development, increasing our internal capability and expertise to coach and support our leaders and teams to make the most of their collective talents and strengths.

We reinforced the celebration and development of our culturally diverse workforce through four regional Māori staff hui and two Pasifika fono. Events such as these provide an opportunity for our people to celebrate their culture, which is fundamental to establishing informed relationships with our communities and our work.

We successfully launched myLearning, a new system for managing personal learning and development, to all employees. The system will provide a strong platform from which to deploy, track, record and evaluate progress.

Our focus on employee induction has seen the redevelopment of our online induction programme, MSD Getting Started, launched in 2018 for all new employees, as well as a revised manager induction programme, Managing the MSD Way.

Building the capability of our client-facing employees is an ongoing priority. We deployed a range of learning modules to meet the needs of this group of staff, including modules for call centre representatives. We have created tailored learning programmes for specific business groups and roles, providing clear learning and career pathways.

Our extensive National Qualifications programme continues to provide formal training and learning opportunities, with 400 employees enrolled across 12 different qualifications.

We believe that everyone in MSD can be a great leader and deserves a great leader. We continued to evolve our leadership development programmes this year to empower existing, new and emerging leaders.

We also developed a consistent approach and guiding principles to help us identify, retain and grow the great leadership talent we need. We have developed simple, effective tools and resources that support talent conversations, and a cascaded deployment has commenced.

We continued to embed good practices for health, safety and security

We focused on embedding and further developing the core frameworks and critical risk management processes that underpin our Health, Safety and Security (HSS) operating model, which was introduced in 2016/2017. We defined our HSS critical risks, and established robust reporting structures that allow us to monitor the effectiveness of our risk management controls. The reporting structures also support our Leadership Team to discharge their due diligence obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Over the last year we strongly emphasised worker participation and engagement, working with the Public Service Association to embed and improve our HSS model. In March 2018 we held the first election for Health and Safety Representatives under the Health and Safety at Work Act; over 800 staff members have been elected to this critical role.

We furthered our reputation as credible and trusted expert technical and operational HSS advisors. Our regionally-based advisors proactively engaged with staff across the country to build local HSS awareness and capability, and to provide immediate support to managing incidents.

With our core systems and processes now firmly in place, we are focused on continuing to build the capability and resources at all levels of the Ministry to shape and mature our HSS culture. We continued to support Oranga Tamariki through the transitional services agreement that supported its move towards establishing its own HSS capability from 1 July 2018.

In April 2018 Cabinet approved a business case so that we could improve our 126 client-facing service centre sites. We have already started pilots in New Plymouth, Flaxmere, Wellington and Rotorua to create friendlier, warmer environments for our clients and staff. We will deliver these changes in up to 20 sites at a time, and we expect to complete the whole programme in two to five years. Planning for the first full tranche of 20 sites is well developed, with physical changes to be completed by April 2019.

These physical changes to our sites will be complemented by a redesign of our publicly accessible areas. This will take into account how physical security supports our strategic direction and enhanced service culture.

We are supporting a diverse and inclusive workplace

In 2017 we began work on an organisation-wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to guide our approach to equity and fairness, health and wellbeing, accessibility, and leadership capability.

The Strategy will promote an internal culture in which our people feel comfortable about being accepted for who they are and are treated fairly and with respect at work. It will focus on removing systemic barriers, and will harness the diversity of staff to meet the needs of clients and their families.

We remain committed to supporting the State Services Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion approach. This addresses the gender pay gap, assessing the root causes of the ethnic pay gap, employing disabled people and making workplaces accessible, and building networks, knowledge and information to enhance visibility and inclusion of Rainbow groups.

We established three staff networks: the Disability Network, MSD Women’s Network and proud@MSD for sexual orientation, gender identity, gender express and sexual characteristic-diverse staff. We now have four networks for staff, with the Pasifika Heleva Collective supporting our Pacific staff.

Balancing family and work obligations

We have a range of policies and practices to support employees with caring responsibilities to have a good work-life fit and balance family and work obligations. This includes parental leave, parental leave payment on return to work (ex gratia payment), flexible working arrangements, preferential re-engagement after childcare and a range of leave options that support caring responsibilities. We are currently exploring opportunities to enhance and promote family-friendly practices as part of our wider Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.

Leading the way for disabled people

If we want to improve employment outcomes for disabled people and people with health conditions in the labour market, we need to lead the way ourselves.

We launched the Accessibility Charter in February 2018, which sets expectations for government to make information technology and communications accessible. We developed the Charter in consultation with Deaf Aotearoa, People First, the Association of Blind Citizens and Kapo Māori.

The Lead Toolkit is a set of resources we developed in 2015 to provide advice about employing disabled people in the State sector. We have since developed a new resource to provide practical tips for people managers, which is now part of our manager training. Our recruitment partners are increasing their knowledge by using the Lead Toolkit to support managers around recruiting and employing disabled people.

During the recruitment process we do not ask candidates to provide information relating to living with a disability – we only ask for this information once the hiring is complete so that we can understand what support the new staff member needs.

Our internal training includes a module about disability, and we also provide an intranet-based Accessibility Toolkit to help managers feel confident about employing and retaining disabled employees. Other employees can access the toolkit for advice on how they might support their colleagues. We test our recruitment processes and provide training courses to increase our people’s understanding of disability and health issues.

We continued to champion equal employment opportunities

We are committed to the principle of equal employment opportunities (EEO) and to growing and creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce and workplaces. Our EEO policy promotes equality, diversity and inclusion within a positive work culture based on respect, fairness and valuing individual difference.

Equal opportunities

For example, we:

  • recognise the aims and aspirations of Maori and the need for greater involvement of Maori within our organisation and across the public service
  • identify, and minimise or remove, organisational barriers to staff participation
  • collaborate with the State Services Commission to support the Lead Toolkit for employing disabled people
  • provide training and educational resources to increase awareness in relation to supporting individuals with disabilities and mental health conditions, and to reinforce an inclusive and diverse working environment
  • work with other agencies to share best EEO practices, policies and procedures.

We committed to fair pay for all our employees

The Government Expectations on Employment Relations in the State Sector highlight the need to reduce the gap between the lowest-earning and the highest-earning employees.

To embed our support for fair pay, from 2 April 2018 we introduced new pay structures to ensure that all of our employees receive at least the prevailing level of the official Living Wage rate. The Living Wage rate is reviewed annually. This change improved the remuneration of about 200 of our 7,000 employees.

We’re working to address our gender pay gap

We are committed to supporting the Gender Pay Principles for the State Sector and to reduce our gender pay gap. We work with the State Services Commission to support the new Government Expectations on Employment Relations in the State Sector, which require that the core public service takes a leading role across key areas including closing gender pay gaps.

Key findings on our gender pay gap, which sits at 15.1 percent as at June 2018[41] , show that the primary driver is our higher proportion of women in lower-paid roles in public-facing sites, with the percentage of women declining at more senior levels.

We have identified four areas of focus to help us reduce the gap:

  1. taking steps towards normalising flexible work
  2. introducing inclusive family-friendly policies to allow our people to balance work and caring responsibilities
  3. creating more gender balance in all roles
  4. removing pay parity issues at executive/senior management level, where we currently have a significant gap.

Gender distribution by level of seniority

Image showing Gender distribution by level of seniority

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Executives and senior managers

  • Male: 57.9%
  • Female: 42.1%

Middle management

  • Male: 44.3%
  • Female: 55.7%

Other staff

  • Male: 27.4%
  • Female: 72.6%.

Diversity statistics by gender

Image showing  Diversity statistics by gender

Text description

All employees - MSD [42]

  • Undeclared: 0.1%
  • Others: 0.1%
  • Male: 29.7%
  • Female: 70.2%

All employees - Public service [43]

  • Male: 39.5%
  • Female: 60.5%

All employees - NZ workforce [44]

  • Male: 52.4%
  • Female: 47.6%

Senior management - MSD

  • Male: 52%
  • Female: 48%

Senior management - Public Service

  • Male: 52.1%
  • Female: 47.9%

Gender distribution by ethnicity [45]

Image showing gender diversity of employees. All employees - MSD  Undeclared: 0.1%, Others: 0.1%, Male: 29.7%, Female: 70.2%. All employees

Text description


  • Middle Eastern, Latin American, African ethnicities: 1.1%
  • Asian: 13%
  • Pacific: 15.6%
  • Māori: 23.5%
  • European: 61.7%

Public service

  • Middle Eastern, Latin American, African ethnicities: 1.3%
  • Asian: 9.4%
  • Pacific: 8.7%
  • Māori: 16%
  • European: 69.1%

NZ workforce:

  • Middle Eastern, Latin American, African ethnicities: 1.1%
  • Asian: 13.6%
  • Pacific: 5.7%
  • Māori: 11.9%
  • European: 66.1%.

We maintained stable industrial relations

Our Employee Relations Strategy is focused on strengthening our relationship with all employees. We have a constructive relationship with the Public Service Association (PSA) and are exploring opportunities to develop a high-performance and high-engagement approach.

We have engaged with Ngā Kaitūhono (PSA Runanga) and we are incorporating their Runanga representative in our Māori Responsiveness Strategy governance.

In 2017/2018 we successfully renegotiated the Work and Income Northland staff collective contract, which covers 70 employees.


[41] By comparison, the gender pay gap for the whole public service at 30 June 2017 (latest available) was 12.5 percent.

[42] At 30 June 2018.

[43] At 30 June 2017.

[44] Statistics NZ, Household Labour Force Survey, June 2018.

[45] MELAA refers to Middle Eastern, Latin American, African ethnicities.

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