Civil Service workforce

The main facts and figures show that:

  • as at 31 March 2018, there were around 430,000 civil servants in the UK
  • of staff whose ethnicity was known, 88.0% were White and 12.0% were from all other ethnic groups combined – by comparison, 86.0% of the population of England and Wales described themselves as White in the 2011 Census
  • Asian staff made up the second highest percentage of civil servants, at 6.4%; looking at specific grades, Asian staff made up 4.4% of those at the most senior grade (Senior Civil Service), compared with 6.7% and 7.6% of those at the lowest grades (administrative officers and assistants, and executive officers, respectively)
  • out of all regions in the UK, London had the highest percentage of staff from the Asian (16.7%), Black (11.6%), Mixed (3.3%), Chinese (0.7%) and the Other (1.3%) ethnic groups
  • male civil servants were slightly more likely to be White (89.1%) than female civil servants (87.2%)
  • with the exception of the 16 to 19 age group, younger staff were more likely to be from an ethnic minority group (excluding White minorities) – 17.1% of staff aged 20 to 29 years were from these groups, compared with 8.1% of those aged 60 to 64 years
Things you need to know

25% of civil servants didn’t report their ethnicity (around 108,000 out of 430,000 civil servants in 2018). The numbers of civil service staff with unknown ethnicity are included in the tables and in the total headcounts, but the percentages shown here are based only on staff whose ethnicity was known.

Civil service staff numbers are rounded to the nearest 10. For this reason some figures may not add up to the totals shown, and consideration should be taken when calculating and interpreting percentages

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.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of people working for the Civil Service from different ethnic groups. It also analyses this information by grade, region, gender and age.

The data includes Civil Service staff working in the UK on a specific date (31 March 2018), rather than throughout the whole year.

It was collected as part of the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey, which counts how many people are employed in the Civil Service, and how diverse the workforce is.

As at 31 March 2018, the total Civil Service workforce was 430,070 (331,390 full-time staff and 98,680 part-time).

The data shows the actual number of staff employed by the Civil Service (known as ‘headcount’) regardless of whether they work full time or part time.

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 ethnic group

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 age group. Data is therefore grouped to a size where estimates become reliable.

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Civil Service workforce by ethnicity

Percentage and number of civil servants by ethnicity

Ethnicity % Headcount
Asian 6.4 20,470
Black 3.2 10,350
Chinese 0.3 960
Mixed 1.5 4,950
White 88.0 283,300
Other 0.5 1,740
Unknown N/A* 108,310

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • as at March 2018, there were around 430,000 civil servants and ethnicity was known for 75% of them
  • of staff whose ethnicity was known, White staff made up 88.0%, followed by Asian staff (6.4%), Black staff (3.2%), staff with Mixed ethnicity (1.5%), staff from the Other ethnic group (0.5%) and staff from the Chinese ethnic group (0.3%)

Civil service workforce by ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of civil servants by ethnicity over time

2015 2016 2017 2018
Ethnicity % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount
Asian 5.4 18,560 5.8 18,690 6.2 19,780 6.4 20,470
Black 3.0 10,210 3.1 9,950 3.2 10,230 3.2 10,350
Chinese 0.3 890 0.3 880 0.3 910 0.3 960
Mixed 1.3 4,410 1.4 4,460 1.5 4,740 1.5 4,950
White 89.4 305,550 88.8 284,140 88.4 283,740 88.0 283,300
Other 0.6 2,040 0.5 1,710 0.5 1,750 0.5 1,740
Unknown N/A* 97,670 N/A* 98,510 N/A* 98,250 N/A* 108,310

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that, where ethnicity was known:

  • staff from each of the Asian, Black and Mixed ethnic groups made up a larger number and percentage of the Civil Service workforce in 2018 compared with 2015, while staff from the White and Other ethnic groups made up a smaller number and percentage in 2018 than in 2015
  • from 2015 to 2018, the percentage of Civil Service staff from an ethnic minority background (excluding White minorities) increased by 1.4 percentage points, from 10.6% to 12.0% in 2018.
  • the percentage of civil servants from the Asian ethnic group increased from 5.4% in 2015 to 6.4% in 2018 – this was the largest increase out of all ethnic groups, in both percentage and numerical terms (at 1.0 percentage point, and 1,910 staff)
  • in the same period, the percentage of civil servants from the White ethnic group decreased from 89.4% in 2015 to 88.0% in 2018 (a fall of 1.4 percentage points, or 22,250 staff)

Civil Service workforce by ethnicity and grade

Percentage and number of civil servants by ethnicity and grade

Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other
Grade % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount
Administrative officers and assistants 6.7 7,150 3.3 3,480 0.3 280 1.3 1,390 87.9 93,470 0.5 510
Executive officer 7.6 6,560 4.0 3,490 0.3 230 1.5 1,280 86.1 74,400 0.6 490
Senior and higher executive officer 5.7 4,670 2.8 2,350 0.4 300 1.7 1,370 88.9 73,170 0.5 450
Grades 6 & 7 4.4 1,540 1.9 650 0.4 130 2.0 690 90.7 31,820 0.7 240
Senior Civil Service 4.4 190 1.2 50 0.3 10 1.4 60 92.2 3,920 0.6 20
Unknown grade N/A* 370 N/A* 330 N/A* 20 N/A* 170 N/A* 6,510 N/A* 30

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that, where ethnicity was known:

  • staff from the Asian, Black and Mixed ethnic groups made up 4.4%, 1.2% and 1.4% respectively of civil servants at Senior Civil Service grade (the highest grade), compared with 6.7%, 3.3% and 1.3% respectively of administrative officers and assistants (the most junior grade)
  • White staff made up 92.2% of staff at Senior Civil Service grade, compared with 87.9% of staff at administrative officers and assistants grade
  • of all staff grades, the executive officer grade (the second most junior grade) had the highest percentage of staff from both the Asian (7.6%) and Black (4.0%) ethnic groups

Civil Service workforce by ethnicity and area

Percentage and number of civil servants by ethnicity and area

Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other
Region or Country % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount
UK 6.4 20,470 3.2 10,350 0.3 960 1.5 4,950 88.0 283,300 0.5 1,740
North East 1.1 240 0.3 70 0.2 40 0.7 150 97.6 21,670 0.2 40
North West 3.9 1,570 1.0 410 0.3 110 1.2 480 93.4 38,130 0.3 130
Yorkshire and The Humber 6.2 1,580 1.3 340 0.2 50 1.2 310 90.7 22,990 0.3 90
East Midlands 8.6 1,260 2.1 310 0.1 20 1.4 210 87.4 12,840 0.4 50
West Midlands 13.7 2,780 3.9 790 0.2 40 1.6 320 80.1 16,260 0.5 100
East 5.0 820 2.3 380 0.3 50 1.4 240 90.4 14,880 0.7 110
London 16.7 10,030 11.6 6,950 0.7 440 3.3 2,000 66.3 39,730 1.3 780
South East 3.3 950 1.6 450 0.3 80 1.3 380 93.0 26,650 0.5 150
South West 1.5 450 1.1 320 0.2 50 1.2 340 95.7 28,050 0.3 100
Wales 1.1 280 0.5 140 0.2 50 1.0 260 96.9 25,240 0.3 90
Scotland 1.1 340 0.4 140 0.1 40 0.6 180 97.5 30,630 0.3 90
Northern Ireland 0.2 10 withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality 0.3 10 99.2 2,940 withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality
Unknown N/A* 30 N/A* 10 N/A* 0 N/A* 10 N/A* 670 N/A* 10

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that, where ethnicity was known:

  • out of all regions in the UK, London had the highest percentage of civil servants from the Asian (16.7%), Black (11.6%), Mixed (3.3%), Chinese (0.7%) and Other ethnic groups (1.3%) in 2018
  • by comparison, at the time of the 2011 Census, 16.9% of the London population described themselves as Asian, 13.3% Black, 5.0% Mixed, 1.5% Chinese and 3.4% from the Other ethnic group
  • Northern Ireland, the North East, Scotland, and Wales typically had the lowest percentage of staff from an ethnic minority background (excluding White minorities) at 0.6%, 2.4%, 2.5% and 3.1%, respectively
  • in the North East, 2.4% of staff came from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, while in 2011 Census 4.7% of the overall population in the region came from the same groups
  • the regions with the highest percentage of civil servants from the Asian ethnic group were London (at 16.7%), the West Midlands (13.7%) and the East Midlands (8.6%)
  • the regions with the highest percentage of civil servants from the Black ethnic group (the next most common ethnic minority group), were London (at 11.6%), the West Midlands (3.9%) and the East of England (2.3%)

Civil Service workforce by ethnicity and gender

Percentage and number of civil servants by ethnicity and gender

Male Female
Ethnicity % Headcount % Headcount
All N/A* 198,420 N/A* 231,660
Asian 6.0 8,700 6.6 11,780
Chinese 0.3 390 0.3 570
Black 2.6 3,720 3.7 6,630
Mixed 1.5 2,150 1.6 2,800
White 89.1 128,570 87.2 154,720
Other 0.6 800 0.5 940
Unknown N/A* 54,090 N/A* 54,220

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that, where ethnicity was known:

  • male staff were slightly more likely to be White than female staff, at 89.1% compared with 87.2%
  • Black staff made up 3.7% of all female civil servants and 2.6% of all male civil servants, the biggest percentage point gap between male and female staff after the White ethnic group

Civil Service workforce by ethnicity and age group

Percentage and number of civil servants by ethnicity and age group

Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other Unknown
Ethnicity % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount
Aged 16-19 7.7 60 1.7 10 withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality 2.8 20 87.2 650 withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality N/A* 860
Aged 20-29 10.1 3,140 2.9 900 0.5 150 3.0 930 82.9 25,770 0.6 180 N/A* 23,670
Aged 30-39 8.6 5,840 2.8 1,900 0.4 280 2.1 1,410 85.5 57,710 0.6 400 N/A* 24,940
Aged 40-49 6.9 5,790 3.3 2,800 0.3 280 1.5 1,230 87.4 73,370 0.5 450 N/A* 23,570
Aged 50-59 3.9 4,210 3.7 4,030 0.2 190 1.0 1,120 90.7 98,680 0.5 540 N/A* 27,510
Aged 60-64 4.2 1,010 2.4 560 0.2 40 0.8 200 91.9 21,760 0.5 130 N/A* 5,830
Aged 65 & Over 7.2 430 2.4 150 0.3 20 0.8 50 88.6 5,330 0.8 50 N/A* 1,540

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that, where ethnicity was known:

  • 91.9% of civil servants aged 60 to 64 years were White (the highest percentage of White staff in any age group)
  • the percentage of staff who were White fell with each successively younger age group, down to 82.9% of staff aged 20 to 29 years (the lowest percentage)
  • however, among staff aged 16 to 19, the percentage of staff who were White was higher than for those aged 20 to 29, at 87.2%
  • the age group with the highest percentage of Asian staff was 20 to 29 years (10.1%)
  • the age group with the highest percentage of Black staff was 50 to 59 years (3.7%)

Methodology

Methodology

All Civil Service departments are asked for details of employees on their payroll on a certain date in the year (currently 31st March). They are are also asked to provide information about staff who left the Civil Service 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.

Headcount statistics are based on the number of employees with an employment contract who are being paid as civil servants. Employees can be permanent, on a fixed-term contract or employed on a casual basis.

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

Total staff numbers are rounded to the nearest 10.

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_workforce - Spreadsheet (csv) 12 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, gender, geography, age group, grade, value, number