Pilot Study Offers Insight into Local Government Employee Perceptions in NSW


A new study from the University of Technology Sydney Centre for Local Government (UTS CLG) examines employee perceptions of council workplaces in NSW. Approximately 1,500 local government employees responded to the People Matter for Local Government survey in 2016 and 2017. The research provides results that can be utilised to understand the opinions of local government employees, and to understand how this compares across councils in NSW.

“We wanted to use this research to understand local government employees' perceptions of their workplaces. The outcomes can be used to support council management practices and workforce planning activities, and it offers local government employees the opportunity to have a say about their workplace”, says Professor Roberta Ryan, Director of UTS CLG.

“The data offers a unique insight into NSW local government employee perceptions of their workplaces. Local Government is an often forgotten part of the public sector. Using a survey instrument that is also used in other state public sectors enables us to understand the differences between local and state governments and to provide the basis for an evidence based approach to a local government capability framework. In general local government employees in NSW have a positive outlook on many facets of their work; however the survey also highlighted some common challenges, particularly regarding how councils manage change’.

The majority (87%) of respondents have a strong appreciation of how their work contributes to positive outcomes for their council and community, and respondents rated councils well when it comes to understanding and building relationships with communities.

85% of respondents can see how diversity and inclusion in the workplace contributes to better business outcomes, and 70% feel able to voice different views to their managers and colleagues.

Respondents agree that councils are making the necessary improvements to meet challenges of the future (65%), however a quarter perceive that change is not handled well. 67% of respondents would recommend their organisation as a great place to work.

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Further information

Professor Roberta Ryan
UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance
UTS Centre for Local Government
t: +61 2 9514 2643
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