Civil Service pay

The main facts and figures show that:

  • in 2018, the average (median) annual pay for all civil servants was £26,600 – this figure is based on the annual pay of all civil servants, including the 25% of the workforce whose ethnicity was not known, and includes pay-related allowances such as regional and skills allowances (but not bonuses)
  • of civil servants whose ethnicity was known, Asian staff had the lowest average annual pay (£26,700), followed by White staff (£26,800), Black staff (£27,500), staff with Mixed ethnicity (£28,500), and staff from the Chinese ethnic group (£28,600), with staff from the Other ethnic group having the highest (£29,100)
  • compared with staff at the same grade, Black staff had among the highest average annual pay of all ethnic groups, and White staff and Mixed staff had among the lowest
  • however, compared with staff in the same region, White staff were most commonly the highest paid and Asian staff were most commonly the lowest paid
  • the widest differences in average annual pay between the ethnic groups were among Senior Civil Servants (the most senior grades) – pay was highest for Black staff (£90,000) and lowest for staff in the Other ethnic group at (£77,100), a difference of £12,900
  • for staff in grades below Senior Civil Service, the widest difference in average annual pay was among administrative officers and assistants (the most junior grade) - pay was highest for Black staff (£22,500) and lowest for staff in the Chinese group (£19,700), a difference of £2,800
Things you need to know

The data doesn’t include people working for:

  • the NHS
  • non-departmental public bodies
  • the Civil Service abroad
  • the Northern Ireland Civil Service, which supports the devolved government in Northern Ireland
  • central government in security posts

It doesn’t include people not on the payroll or not being paid during the time period covered, for example contractors or staff taking unpaid leave.

There are 2 measures of the senior Civil Service available: the Senior Civil Service and ‘SCS Level’. ONS statistics measure ‘SCS Level’ employees, which include a number of health professionals, military personnel and senior diplomats, as well as those working in the Senior Civil Service. As a result, these statistics may be different to those used for monitoring diversity of the Senior Civil Service.

Ethnicity wasn’t known for 25% of civil servants and, as a consequence, it is possible that average annual pay is under- or over-estimated for staff in some ethnic groups in some grades or regions. The median pay of staff with unknown ethnicity is included in the tables for reference.

Median annual pay is presented in this measure, rather than mean annual pay. For each ethnic group, if every respondent was lined up in the order of their full-time equivalent (FTE) annual pay, the median would be the pay of the person in the middle. Using the median as a measure of average annual pay prevents the average being influenced by staff with very high or very low pay, which may not give an accurate representation for the majority of staff, so distorting the figures.

However, measures of average pay are less reliable for ethnic groups with small numbers of staff. It should be noted, for example, that median pay among Senior Civil Service staff is based on 10 staff in the Chinese group, 20 staff in the Other group, 50 staff in the Black group, and 60 staff in the Mixed group (headcounts are available in the download file).

Mean annual pay (worked out by adding all staff’s FTE annual pay and dividing by the total number of staff) is not presented here. Where some employees have much higher salaries than others in the same ethnic group, the mean annual pay for that ethnic group will be higher, and as a result may not accurately represent the annual pay of the less well-paid employees in that group.

Data on the Civil Service workforce shows that the percentage of staff in each region, grade, gender and age group varies by the different ethnic groups. An ethnic group with a higher percentage of staff in regions with higher pay (such as London, which has a regional allowance) or a higher percentage of staff in more senior grades will have a higher average annual pay than an ethnic group with more staff in lower paid regions or junior roles.

For example, this data shows that White staff are amongst the lowest paid in the Civil Service overall and within each grade. However, within many of the regions, White staff are the most, or among the most, highly paid of all ethnic groups. The Civil Service workforce data shows that White staff make up a higher percentage of staff at senior grades but a lower percentage of London-based staff (who receive a regional allowance) than those in other ethnic groups.

Note that in this measure, the median annual pay by ethnicity is shown by grade and then by region. While this enables salaries of staff living in the same region or at the same grade to be compared, partly overcoming the complexities mentioned, there is no comparison by ethnicity, grade and region simultaneously.

When comparing pay of staff at the same grade, please be aware that these grades are broad, and the grouping together of all Senior Civil Service grades in particular encompasses a very wide pay range. The balance of staff within these broad grades may vary by ethnicity and also by region, so affecting estimates of median pay.

What the data measures

This data measures the average (median) gross annual pay of people working for the Civil Service from different ethnic groups. Each staff member’s full-time equivalent (FTE) annual pay has been calculated. For example, if someone works 2.5 days per week and earns £12,000, their FTE annual pay is £24,000. This information is also analysed by seniority (grade) and region.

The median annual pay is the middle figure in a range that has been ordered by size from lowest to highest.

The annual pay presented here includes basic pay (including consolidated performance pay) and pay-related allowances such as regional and skills allowances. It does not include bonuses.

The data includes Civil Service employees working in the UK who have an employment contract and are paid by a Civil Service department as at 31 March 2018. Employees can be permanent, on a fixed-term contract or employed on a casual basis. Data going back to 2015 for the overall workforce and by grade and region is available if you download the data. Note that pay has not been adjusted for inflation.

The ethnic categories used in this data

This data is broken down into the following 6 broad groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Chinese
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
  • White
  • Other

These were chosen because the number of people becomes too small to be reliable when broken down both by ethnicity (in detailed categories) and by another factor like region. Data is therefore grouped to a size where estimates become reliable.

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Civil servants' average annual pay by ethnicity

Civil servants' average (median) annual pay, by ethnicity over time

2015 2016 2017 2018
Ethnicity £ Headcount £ Headcount £ Headcount £ Headcount
All 25,000 439,320 25,400 418,340 25,900 419,400 26,600 430,080
Asian 24,700 18,560 25,000 18,690 25,600 19,780 26,700 20,470
Black 26,000 10,210 26,500 9,950 26,900 10,230 27,500 10,350
Chinese 26,600 890 27,200 880 27,400 910 28,600 960
Mixed 26,400 4,410 27,000 4,460 27,500 4,740 28,500 4,950
White 25,000 305,550 25,600 284,140 26,000 283,740 26,800 283,300
Other 27,800 2,040 28,000 1,710 28,500 1,750 29,100 1,740
Unknown 25,000 97,620 25,200 98,510 25,500 98,250 25,900 108,310

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • overall, as at 31 March 2018, the average (median) annual pay for all civil servants was £26,600 – this figure is based on the annual pay of all civil servants, including those whose ethnicity was not known, and includes pay-related allowances such as regional and skills allowances (but not bonuses)
  • in 2018, of those with known ethnicity, average annual pay was lowest for Asian staff (£26,700), followed by White staff (£26,800), Black staff (£27,500), staff with Mixed ethnicity (£28,500), and staff from the Chinese ethnic group (£28,600), and highest for staff from the Other ethnic group (£29,100)
  • average annual pay has increased for each ethnic group between 2015 and 2018, although the order of ethnic groups by annual pay (highest to lowest) has mostly remained unchanged over this period

Civil servants' average annual pay by ethnicity and grade

Civil servants' average (median) annual pay, by ethnicity and grade

Ethnicity Administrative officers and assistants Executive officer Senior and higher executive officer Grades 6 & 7 Senior Civil Service Unknown grade
£ £ £ £ £ £
All 20,000 25,600 33,900 54,700 81,500 30,500
Asian 20,200 26,900 34,000 54,800 86,700 30,700
Black 22,500 27,500 34,700 55,400 90,000 30,600
Chinese 19,700 26,600 34,800 55,500 88,400 30,200
Mixed 20,100 26,100 34,500 54,100 80,000 32,300
White 20,000 25,400 33,900 54,900 81,000 30,500
Other 20,600 26,600 35,000 56,000 77,100 29,700
Unknown 19,700 25,400 33,700 54,100 82,400 30,500

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • in 2018, the average (median) annual pay of civil servants – including regional and skills allowances – varied by grade, from £20,000 for administrative officers and assistants (the most junior grade), rising to £81,500 for staff at Senior Civil Service (SCS) level
  • in each grade, White staff and those with Mixed ethnicity had among the lowest average annual pay, and Black staff had among the highest of all ethnic groups
  • the widest differences in average annual pay between the ethnic groups were among Senior Civil Servants (the most senior grades) – pay was highest for Black staff (£90,000) and lowest for staff in the Other ethnic group at (£77,100), a difference of £12,900
  • for staff in grades below Senior Civil Service, the widest difference in average annual pay was among administrative officers and assistants (the most junior grade) – pay was highest for Black staff (£22,500) and lowest for staff in the Chinese group (£19,700), a difference of £2,800

Civil servants' average annual pay by ethnicity and area

Civil servants' average (median) annual pay, by ethnicity and area

Region All Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other Unknown
£ £ £ £ £ £ £ £
UK 26,600 26,700 27,500 28,600 28,500 26,800 29,100 25,900
North East 22,800 20,500 20,200 19,700 23,800 23,800 24,000 20,400
North West 24,500 20,500 22,400 22,600 24,000 24,500 24,500 22,300
Yorkshire and The Humber 25,400 23,600 24,500 21,600 25,200 26,100 26,100 24,500
East Midlands 24,500 22,700 23,800 23,800 24,500 25,400 25,600 22,300
West Midlands 24,700 23,400 23,800 24,900 24,500 26,000 25,200 24,200
East 26,100 24,500 26,700 29,400 26,000 26,700 27,900 25,700
London 33,900 29,000 28,800 33,700 32,900 38,700 31,400 32,800
South East 26,800 25,000 25,600 25,100 26,500 26,800 26,100 25,900
South West 29,300 29,700 28,200 26,100 29,600 29,700 29,200 26,100
Wales 24,500 23,600 23,800 23,800 24,500 24,900 24,700 22,000
Scotland 24,700 23,800 22,300 22,700 26,100 25,400 26,100 23,000
Northern Ireland 23,800 21,700 withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality 29,100 23,800 withheld to protect confidentiality 23,200
Unknown 31,100 24,500 27,500 N/A* 31,100 26,100 24,500 31,900

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • in 2018, the average (median) annual pay of civil servants varied by region, from £22,800 in the North East to £33,900 in London – figures include regional allowances in some areas
  • in all regions, White staff had the among the highest average annual pay
  • in 7 out of 12 regions, Asian staff were the lowest paid out of all ethnic groups for whom ethnicity was known and data was available; however, in the South West they were joint highest paid with White staff (at £29,700 a year on average)
  • staff from the Black and Chinese ethnic groups were also among the lowest paid in almost every region, the most notable exception being Chinese staff who were the highest paid in the East
  • out of all regions, average annual pay was highest in London for all ethnic groups except the Asian group – Asian civil servants in the South West were more highly paid (at £29,700 a year on average) than those in London (£29,000 on average)
  • for each ethnic group, average annual pay was lowest in the North East (for Asian and White staff, it was joint lowest in the North East and another region)

Methodology

Methodology

All Civil Service departments are asked for details of all their employees on the payroll on a certain date in the year (currently 31st March). They are are also asked to provide details of leavers in the last 12 months. All Civil Service employees are included, so no weighting is required.

The grade categories, from senior to junior are:

  • Senior Civil Service (SCS)
  • grades 6 and 7
  • higher and senior executive officers
  • executive officers
  • administrative officers and assistants

Government departments use different ways of grading staff - some use numbers, some use pay bands, and others use descriptors (for example, Senior Policy Advisor). The concept of broad ‘responsibility levels’ is therefore used, in which departmental grades have been assigned to levels which are broadly equivalent in terms of pay and job weight.

Statistics are based on employees with an employment contract who are being paid by a Civil Service department. Employees can be permanent, on a fixed-term contract or employed on a casual basis.

Self-employed workers, contract workers and agency workers are excluded. Employees not on the payroll and not being paid as at 31 March 2018 are also excluded, for example, those on unpaid maternity leave, unpaid sick absence and career breaks.

Median gross annual pay includes basic pay (including consolidated performance pay) and pay-related allowances such as regional and skills allowances. It does not include bonuses.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Values based on fewer than 5 responses have been suppressed.

‘Suppression’ means these figures have not been included in the data, to protect confidentiality and because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.

Rounding

Pay data is rounded to the nearest £100.

Quality and methodology information

Data sources

Source

Annual Civil Service Employment Survey

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Cabinet Office

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES) is carried out to measure the numbers employed in the Civil Service, and to measure diversity across the workforce.

Download the data

Civil Service Pay - Spreadsheet (csv) 71 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, grade, region, value, headcounts