This document is part of the People matter survey 2021 resources resource.

What’s the People matter survey?

The People matter survey is an independent employee opinion survey run by the Victorian Public Sector Commission.  Employees in organisations across the public sector are encouraged to have their say.

The survey results tell us how employees see their workplaces, including views on job satisfaction, career development, wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, and the workplace factors which drive these outcomes.

When does the survey happen?

People matter survey will run from Monday 31 May to Friday 25 June 2021.

What’s different in 2021?

In 2020, the Commission ran a shorter survey called the People matter survey wellbeing check that focused on employee wellbeing in response to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2021, we’ll run the full People matter survey.

The 2021 People matter survey also includes new questions, developed in consultation with the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector,  to support the Gender Equality Act’s reporting and action planning that is designed to advance gender equality in our workplaces.

This year’s survey will be mandatory for organisations to take part and the Commission intends to publicly release all organisation-level results on its website.

What’s survey reform?

Since 2018, the Commission have implemented a series of reforms to enhance the survey experience and the results provided to organisations.

In 2021, reform includes:

  • annual participation of all public sector organisations
  • public release of all organisations’ results
  • refinement to the survey, survey framework and reporting based on academic analysis and user feedback
  • a new, up to date survey platform with an improved user experience, dashboard reporting and action planning tools
  • new questions to support Gender Equality Act reporting and action planning requirements.

Will the People matter survey feature the same questions as the 2020 survey?

The 2021 People matter survey will be the full-length survey and include many of the  questions from the 2020 wellbeing survey.

Including new questions on:

  • diversity and inclusion, based on consultation with these networks
  • gender equality that will assist public sector organisations to comply with annual reporting of progress against the Gender Equality Act.

Survey questions for 2021 are available on the Commission’s website.

Will participation in the survey be optional for organisations?

All public sector organisations are expected to take part in the 2021 survey.

Mandatory organisation participation improves the consistency of data collection across the public sector and enables annual reporting that is more representative of the public sector.

Increasing the number of participating organisations from across the public sector supports accountability across the government.


Will participation in the survey be optional for individuals?

The survey is optional for individuals, however employees are encouraged to have their say to provide feedback on their workplace experience.

When more people take part in the survey, their views of their organisation strengthen the case for workplace cultural change.


Can I save and return later to the survey?  

If you’re interrupted or need to take a break while doing your survey. You can save and return later any time before the closing date.

You’ll need to return using the same desktop or mobile device and internet browser.

You can either copy and save your unique survey link or submit your email address to receive your link via email.  

If you chose to submit your email address, we’ll:  

  • never share your email with anyone 
  • not use your email in any reporting 
  • destroy your email after the survey period is over 

How will my privacy be protected?

The Victorian Public Sector Commission uses strict rules to protect your privacy and anonymity at every stage of the survey. 

You have the option to respond to demographic questions, such as age or gender, with ‘prefer not to say’. 

To protect you, we:  

  • use an anonymous survey link and everyone in your organisation receives the same survey link 
  • de-identify all survey response data provided to your organisation 
  • don’t collect your name, date of birth or employee ID 
  • never share your email address and delete it at the end of the survey period, if you use it to save and return to the survey later 
  • don’t release results when fewer than 10 people in a work group have responded to the survey  
  • don’t release employee opinion results for demographic groups where organisations have fewer than 30 responses in total  
  • don’t link free-text comment reporting to any other survey information. 

All information is handled in line with Victorian and Commonwealth law. 

Read the People matter survey data collection statement to find out more.

Will survey results be publicly available in 2021?

Results from the survey will be given to organisations in late July.

The Commission intends to publicly release all organisation-level results on its website in late 2021.

What results do my organisation receive?

Organisations receive the following standard reports:

Report Description
Executive Summary and Dashboard Report

Summary of organisation results across a range of indicators including employee engagement, job satisfaction, wellbeing and work-related stress

(Online and PDF)

Organisation Results Report Benchmarked survey results against similar organisations (PDF)
Employee Group Reports

Benchmarked survey results for groups, divisions or branches within each organisation


Organisation and Employee Group data files

Detailed and summary demographic results that can be used to generate reporting analysis, such as heat maps and visual comparisons.


Free Text Comments Report

Report with all free text comments made by employees


We supply organisations with results by team-level employee unless there are fewer than 10 responses in the group.

This assists us to maintain privacy and anonymity.

All results provided to your organisation are de-identified.

How are the survey results and data used?

Information from the survey will be used to:

  • provide organisations with survey result reports and benchmarking, so they can identify focus areas and develop action plans to improve how they work
  • Inform public sector and government strategies and campaigns in response to workforce issues, such as sexual harassment and bullying
  • undertake research that benefits organisations and the public sector as a whole
  • provide public service departments with data about the performance of their portfolio entities — e.g. health service results are provided to the Department of Health
  • support workforce, integrity, and leadership initiatives that drive positive workforce change for the whole public sector
  • gather information that informs diversity and inclusion outcomes on behalf of agencies such as Multicultural Victoria, the Commissioner for Gender Equality, and the Commission’s Aboriginal Employment Unit to improve the workplace experiences of all employees.

What is the Gender Equality Act (2020)?

The 2021 People Matter Survey also includes new questions, developed in consultation with the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector to support Gender Equality Act reporting and action planning requirements.

The Gender Equality Act 2020 will improve workplace gender equality in the Victorian public sector, universities, and local councils. The Act commenced on 31 March 2021.

What is the role of the survey coordinator?

The survey coordinator is the central person in each department or organisation who administers the survey on behalf of your organisation. They’re your main point of contact about the survey.

Where can I get more information

If you have further questions about the People matter survey, please visit the Commission’s website, or contact the People matter survey team on