Bullying in the public sector: NSW data shows incidents decreasing

The 2012 State of the Sector report was a wake-up call for agency heads in NSW that bullying rates were higher than leaders had believed. What do new findings say now?

After a troubling set of workplace bullying findings two years ago, the New South Wales public service commissioner set his mind to turning around the figures. Now two years later, a new survey reveals whether the efforts were successful.

The Public Service Commission’s 2014 People Matter employee survey main findings are out this week, and while the official commentary is held back for the State of the Sector report in November, preliminary results do indicate progress at a state-wide level. Respondents who said they personally experienced bullying over the 12-month period are down to 23% from 29% in 2012, and the percentage who said they witnessed bullying over the period was down to 41% from 48% in 2012.

While physical bullying was less common, there were very high rates of negative body language, gestures or glances among those who said they were bullied, along with being mistreated or avoided.

High frequency bullying behaviours (% 3 or more times in the last 12 months) – click for larger version

High frequency bullying behaviours (3% or more times in the last 12 months) – click for larger version

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