South Australia’s Strategic Plan is comprised of 100 targets. These targets are specific and measurable and enable us to measure our progress towards achieving the Plan’s visions and goals.

Each target is reported on through this section of the website. Data is analysed and uploaded as it becomes available.


52. Women:

Have women comprising half of the public sector employees in the executive levels (including Chief Executives) by 2014 and maintain thereafter

Key Measure


Explanatory Comments

As at June 2014, approximately 43.1% of public sector executives were women, a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from June 2013 and an increase of 13.7 percentage points from 2003 (the baseline).

Women continue to be under-represented in executive roles, including Chief Executive roles, in the public sector. Target 52 seeks to address this inequality, and create a more representative and diverse public sector workforce.

The South Australian Executive Service (SAES) was established to provide the public sector with high performing leaders who have a shared sense of purpose and direction and who together will actively engage the public sector in the pursuit of the objects of the Public Sector Act 2009 and the public sector principles.  Women comprised 36.2% of the SAES cohort as at June 2014.

Various initiatives are underway to support an equal representation of women in executive roles.  The Office for the Public Sector has drafted a ‘Women in Leadership Strategy’ in collaboration with the Office for Women, and the Equal Opportunity Commission to identify interventions to increase and sustain the number of women in executive positions.  The draft strategy identifies actions to:

  • Increase visible accountability for achieving the target
  • Ensure the pipeline to executive leadership is sustainably gender balanced at all levels
  • Change bias and cultural impediments to inclusive leadership
  • Create workplaces that empower women and leverage flexible working arrangements

The Office for the Public Sector will work with agencies to shape the actions to specific agency contexts, and support agencies as they lead strategic initiatives. The Office for the Public Sector will coordinate a Women in Leadership event to be held in the first half of 2015.  The event will explore SA’s progress against Target 52 and focus on solutions to ensure both men and women are engaged and committed to achieving equal representation in leadership roles, and provide an opportunity for aspiring female leaders to learn from women in senior leadership positions.

The definition of an ‘executive’ includes Public Sector Act 2009 appointments, other statutory and constitutional appointments, managers, Chief Executive Officers, professional specialists, medical officers, nurses and legal services officers employed at the executive level across the Administrative Units and Other Public Sector Organisations


Lead Agency

Office for the Public Sector

Disaggregated data

Indigenous Status