Gender pay action plan


The purpose of this plan is to signify the undertakings between the Public Service Association (PSA) and ERO as to our work plan to make ongoing reductions in the gender pay gap (GPG) within ERO.

The plan is developed under the guidance provided by the document ‘Developing Public Service Agency Gender Pay Gap Action Plans 2021-2022’ which outlines the purpose for the plan is to:

  • understand and monitor trends in GPGs and gender representation
  • engage employees and unions in our work to close the GPG
  • identify the impact of actions taken to date
  • decide if our actions need adjustment or new actions are needed
  • be transparent and accountable about progress and challenges
  • signal our commitment to fairness, to implementing the Gender Pay Principles and to closing our GPG
  • align ERO’s gender strategy with diversity and inclusion commitments in the Public Service Act 2020 (Section 75).



ERO is a small government department with 230+ staff whose role is to review/report on the quality of education in the pre-tertiary education sectors in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Characteristics of the organisation include a high percentage of female staff (80%), an average age across the organisation of 52.6, and a substantial number of employees across three roles: Managers Review and Improvement Services, Review Officers, and Administration Support roles.

There is a high union membership in ERO, 85% across the organisation and 92% of those eligible to join the Collective Employment Agreement (CEA) are union members.  Salary ranges and movements are provided for all staff covered by the CEA, with movement through identified steps for the Review and Improvement Services (including Business Enablement) and Education and Policy roles in the CEA.

ERO’s Gender Pay Gap Plan 2020 had identified the following objectives:

  • review the operation of the salary ranges after July 2020 salary movements, with particular focus on the operation of the administration salary bands.
  • Investigate the underlying reasons for the ethnic pay gaps.
  • test some greater working from home and other options for staff that previously did not have access to flexible work. 
  • review the outcomes of this working arrangement with the view of cementing the positive gains through adaption of a new flexible work policy within the organisation.
  • review its policies to ensure that their operation is gender neutral and that access to benefits reflect the gender balance within the organisation.
  • carry out unconscious bias training for managers.

The following work has been carried out towards these objectives:

The current CEA incorporated significant movements for the salaries of the administration staff in ERO, which included targeted movements for some staff identified as needing remediation. The work of the administrative staff in ERO is also covered by the current Pay Equity Claim which is being progressed by the PSA and the PSC.  

The outcomes of this work, as well as the outcomes of the current review of the work for the Business Enablement Group in Corporate Services, are likely to result in changes to the remuneration structure for this group.  Although it is difficult to predict what the outcomes of these pieces of work will be, it is likely this work will reduce the GPG.

ERO continues to review the data across the board and for ‘like for like’ roles.  The stats indicate the gaps for these groups are reducing.



Gender Pay Gap statistics as at 1 July 2021 are:

Group Percentage

ERO Gender Pay Gap


Review Officers


MRIS/PPL/Aho Tāngaengae


Admin Support


The Gender pay gaps split by roles: 


Average Gap % 

Median Gap % 

Review Officers 



MRIS/PPL/Aho Tāngaengae



Admin Support



(Note: above roles are those in ERO with numbers to provide data)

Proportion of women in occupational groups: 


Percentage of women 

Review Officers 


Managers Regional (MRIS,PPL etc)  


Administration and Support roles 


Specialist, Advisory and IT roles  


(Note: many of the employee groups in ERO have small numbers of employees so the data from these has not been provided as per the guidance.  This includes ERO’s senior management groups, however the representation of women is above 50% in each of these groups.  Also, the specialist and advisory group is an amalgamation of several different roles).


Progress so far

The salary structures that are in place for the majority of roles (one starting rate, movement through the scale each year) are working to remove the GPG for these groups.

There are several position groups where there are only females (or minimal males) in the role, so no pay gap exists, e.g.: Business Support Managers, Assistant Accountants, HR Advisors, Executive Assistants. There are also other positions where it is not practicable or possible to identify if there is any impact by gender on the remuneration for the position. This is where there are no easily comparable roles, or only one incumbent in the role.  For example, corporate manager positions which vary in size and scope, advisory/specialist positions in Corporate Services which have very different duties and skill sets, and some manager/project roles.

Since the last GPG plan, flexible working practices (both formal and informal) have been utilised to a greater level than previously, and this has also been across all work areas in ERO.  HR has been working through the HR polices to check these are gender neutral and hope to have this work completed within the next quarter. All position statements have been checked and use gender neutral language.  Unconscious bias training is organised and underway by the end of this year.


Plan for 2021/22

ERO has identified our focus areas for 2021 and these are:

Ethnic Gaps and gaps for other diversity groups

ERO intends to look into data and gaps for various diversity groups.  We have started to compile data around identifying the gaps for the different ethnic groups with a plan to drill down into specific areas.  The data compiled so far is provided below.  As well as looking into pay equity for ethnic groups, ERO also plans to look into areas such disability, orientation, and other factors that may impact pay gaps.  Further work needs to be done around the quality and depth of information ERO has before we can compile robust data to enable us to investigate other aspects of diversity for possible gaps.

Statistics and data on ethnic pay in ERO (as at 1 July 2021):

Ethnic Pay Gap:


Average hourly rate

Median hourly rate

Ethnic Gap*









Māori Male




Māori Female




Non-Māori Female




Non-Māori Male




*Gap shown is for average rate


Gender pay gap in each ethnic group:


Average hourly rate

Median hourly rate

% Gender Gap*

% of staff

Māori All





Māori Female





Māori Male





European All





European Female





European Male





Asian all





Pacific All





MELAA all **





** Note: The Asian, Pacific and MELAA groups are too small to provide comparison data.  The Gap shown is for average salary and between male and female within their ethnic grouping.


Break downs for Occupational Groups:


Average European

Average Māori

Review Officers



Administration Support




Percentage of employees in each ethnic group by Occupation group:







Review Officers






Administration Support






Tier 2 Managers






Tier 3 Managers






Tier 4 Regional Managers (MRIS, PPL)






Note: Some of these groups are less than 20 people so data is not a statistically robust comparison.


Summary of data:

The data shows that work undertaken in recent years to develop and grow our Māori staff has had a positive impact, however more work can be done particularly for our Pasifika staff.

ERO is a small department and as such many of the groups in the organisation (either by role or ethnicity) are too small to compare data.   The data we have been able to provide shows that we have a negative gender pay gap for Māori employees overall, and that whilst gaps exist between the average hourly rate for Māori and European staff in our largest employee groups (review officers and administration) these are miniscule.

ERO needs to continue work to increase the representation of Māori, Pacific and Asian, in particular in the review officer group. There is good representation of Māori at senior levels, but this data is collated from small groups of employees.  Amalgamating the top 3 leadership levels of the organisation shows that representation for Māori is 27%, and Pacific and Asian both 5%.


Other Areas

Some areas we have identified to contribute to reducing our Gender pay and Ethnic pay gaps are:

  • Finalise a flexible Working by Default policy incorporating feedback from staff on how the options that were preferred and any suggestions on how to improve their wellbeing at work.
  • Update talent and succession guidelines, tools and resources to support development and career conversations for the progression of Māori, Pacific and Asian women, and investigate ways we can make development opportunities more attractive to Māori, Pacific and Asian women.
  • Work around how can we ensure the equity of ‘short term’ development opportunities.
  • Review our policy and approaches for parental leave.
  • Identify wording for recruitment ads to show commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Encourage use of employee networks and grow women’s network and establish or link into a Rainbow network.
  • Ensure that GPG plan priorities and the work being done for other workstreams such as Papa Pounamu are interconnected and intended to build on each other.

ERO has been working in partnership with the PSA on this plan and identifying ways areas of focus and possible solutions.  To further this work the intention is to convene a group of PSA and management representatives to focus on areas where we can see the greatest need to act and to bring ideas forward around possible strategies to reduce gaps and increase diversity in ERO.