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Public Sector Demographics
January Quarter, 2023.  Next update April 2023

1. Public Sector Overview

As of the 1st of January 2023, there were a total of 2,405 employees working for Government. This is a slight reduction of 30 employees since the September quarter. The majority of Public Servants work in the Public Sector (59%) with a further 27% working for Island Government. The remaining 13% were spread throughout the Crown Agencies (10%), Parliament (2%) and Minister Support Entities (1%)


Mean and median are two common measures used to interpret the average salaries in the public sector. These measures provide valuable information about the distribution of salaries between agencies and can help to identify trends and disparities in the data.

The mean is calculated by adding up all of the salary values in a given dataset and dividing by the total number of employees. It provides a good indication of the typical salary in an agency (group) and is useful for summarizing large amounts of data like individual salaries. However, the mean can be sensitive to extremely high salaries (outliers) and may not accurately reflect the average salary if there are high salaries in the data.

The median, on the other hand, is the value that separates the higher half of a dataset from the lower half. It is a more robust measure of salary averages and is less influenced by outliers like very high salaries, which is why it was chosen for most tables displaying averages. 

The average worker in the Public Sector, Crown Agencies and Minister Support Entities make roughly $30,000 annually while the average worker in the Outer Islands makes slightly above $15,000.  Parliament has the highest median salary, above $70,000 each year, which is made up of Civil List and House of Ariki.

2. Work and Employee Status

Most Government employees (74%) are full-time workers while the remaining 26% are comprised of Temporary full-time (3%), Casual (11%) and part-time workers (12%).


Furthermore, the vast majority of employees, 91%, are Cook Islanders, with the remainder comprised of Work Permit Holders (8%) and Permanent Resident Holders (1%).

3. Public Sector Gender and Age Demographics

The gender distribution in Government shows a slight majority of women (53%) working in the sector, with men making up 47%.

Some areas, such as Crown agencies (50.6% females) and Minister Support Entities (42.4% females), have a more balanced gender workforce, while others, such as the 14 Public Sector Agencies (65.2% females) and Parliament (70% males) and Island Government (70.6% males), are predominantly composed of one gender.


Furthermore, the gender breakdown varies slightly across different age groups.

  • In the 20 or less age group, there is nearly an equal split with 51.9% being female and 48.1% being male.

  • For the 21-30 year age group, women make up a slightly higher percentage of the workforce at 56.6%, while men make up 43.4%.

  • In the 31-40 year age group, women make up 57.5% of the workforce, while men make up 42.5%.

  • The 41-50 year age group has a similar distribution with women making up 56.5% and men making up 43.5%.

  • The 51-60 year age group sees a shift towards a higher proportion of men, with 46.6% being female and 53.4% being male.

  • In the 61-70 year age group, women make up 47.5% and men make up 52.5%.

  • The 71-80+ age group has a higher proportion of women at 53.9%, with men making up 46.1%. Overall, women make up 53.0% of the public sector workforce and men make up 47.0%.

We can also observe that there is a  slight gender pay gap present in the data.

  • More men occupy higher paying positions with 47% of them making over $20,000 compared to only 40.1% of women.

  • In the $70-80k salary range, 69% of employees are male, whereas, in the $90-100k+ range, 68% are male.

  • Additionally, there is a higher concentration of women in the lower-paying salary ranges, with 54.4% of women earning less than $10,000 compared to 45.6% of men.


 4. Agency Demographics

The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education have the largest workforce with 418 and 442 employees, respectively. The Cook Islands Police Department also has a large workforce with 119 employees. On the other hand, smaller agencies such as the Natural Heritage and Financial Service Development have only 1 and 2 employees, respectively. In total, there are 2,405 employees working in the various government agencies in the Cook Islands.

The data provided shows the total number of government employees in the Cook Islands broken down by salary range and the type of agency they work for.

The largest group of employees earns between $10,000 and $20,000 per year, with 785 employees in this category.

A total of 245 employees earn less than $10,000 per year, while 50 employees earn over $100,000 per year.

In terms of agency type, Crown Agencies have 245 employees, Island Governments have 657 employees, and Ministries Support Entities have 33 employees. The largest group of employees, 1,430, works for Public Service Departments. 40 employees work for Parliament and the remaining 2,405 employees are spread across the other categories.


The following chart provides a list of Government Agencies along with the number of employees each Agency has in the first column, while the second column displays salary distribution within the agency types.

Employees working for Public Service Departments are the largest group, with 1,430 employees, and also have a wide range of salaries, from those earning less than $10,000 to those earning over $90,000 per year. On the other hand, employees working for Ministries Support Entities have the smallest number of employees, with only 33, and the majority of them earn between $10,000 and $20,000 per year.

In terms of the highest salary ranges, Crown Agencies and Parliament have the largest number of employees earning over $90,000 per year, with 12 and 8 employees, respectively.

Island Governments and Ministries Support Entities have the smallest number of employees in this salary range, with only 1 and 1 employees, respectively.

Overall, the data shows that there is some variation in salary ranges between the different Agency types, with employees working for Public Service Departments having the widest range of salaries and those working for Ministries Support Entities having a more narrow range. 

For more information refer to the table below. This table provides information on the median salary of employees across various government agencies in the Cook Islands. The data includes the number of employees and their percentage in each agency.

The highest median salary is found in the Civil List under Parliament with a median salary of $72,500.00.

The largest agency in terms of employee numbers is the Ministry of Education with 442 employees, making up 18% of the total employees.

Other notable agencies include the Ministry of Health with 418 employees and a median salary of $24,450.00, and the Pukapuka Island Government with 234 employees, making up 10% of the total employees.

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