NHS workforce

Published

Last updated 8 October 2018 - see all updates

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1. Main facts and figures

  • as at September 2017, there were over 1.1 million staff employed by the NHS

  • overall, of staff whose ethnicity was known, 4 out of 5 NHS staff (80.7%) were White, including White ethnic minorities, (over 928,000 staff) and nearly 1 in 5 (19.3%) were from all other ethnic groups (over 222,000 staff)

  • staff from the Asian, Chinese, Mixed and Other ethnic groups groups made up a higher percentage of those in medical roles (working as doctors in hospitals and community health services) than those in non-medical roles

  • among the non-medical workforce, staff from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups made up a lower percentage of those at senior grades (bands 8a to 9) and the ‘very senior manager’ grade than at the support (bands 1 to 4) and middle roles (bands 5 to 7)

  • there was a higher percentage of staff from the Black, Chinese and Mixed ethnic groups among junior doctors than among senior doctors

  • new data has been published for March 2018 – this data isn’t currently reflected in the charts, tables and commentary on this page, but you can get a CSV file with the latest figures if you download the data

Things you need to know

This data includes staff directly employed by the NHS in around 230 trusts and over 200 clinical commissioning groups.

The data doesn’t include:

  • staff working in primary care, like dentists in dental practices and GPs
  • staff working in NHS support organisations and central bodies like commissioning support units and NHS Digital
  • agency staff and contractors

The data is based on a headcount of NHS staff. Some staff could be working part time rather than full time.

As some staff may work in more than one position, the headcounts in these tables will not add up to the overall headcount of the workforce.

Ethnicity isn’t known for 4% of NHS staff. The percentages and total headcounts given here are based only on staff whose ethnicity is known, and may therefore differ from the calculations included in the source publication.

What the data measures

This data measures the number and percentage of NHS staff working in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England, broken down by ethnicity, pay grade and type of role (medical or non-medical).

‘Medical’ staff are doctors working for hospitals and community health services, grouped into 3 tiers:

  • senior doctors – consultants, associate specialists and speciality doctors
  • junior doctors – specialty registrars, doctors in core training, and foundation doctors years 1 and 2
  • other doctors – hospital practitioners and clinical assistants, and doctors whose grade couldn’t be classified

‘Non-medical’ staff include:

  • clinical staff – nurses and health visitors, ambulance staff, midwives, and scientific, therapeutic and technical staff
  • staff working in managerial, administrative and support roles

Most non-medical roles are on a payscale with bands from 1 to 9 (with band 9 being the most senior). These bands have been grouped as follows:

  • support roles (bands 1 to 4) including administrative assistants, receptionists, healthcare support workers and healthcare assistants – these tend to be non-graduate entry roles
  • middle-level roles (bands 5 to 7) including registered healthcare professionals (like nurses), project managers, and other administrative and clerical staff
  • senior roles (bands 8a to 9) including advanced nurse practitioners, specialist administrative staff, managers, senior managers and heads of services or directorates

There are also:

  • staff on the ‘very senior manager’ grade (who are usually graduates)
  • other grades including apprentices, and staff not on the main grade structure (who could be in junior or senior roles)
The ethnic categories used in this data

The data was collected using the standardised ethnic categories based on the 2001 Census. It is grouped into the following broad categories to reduce the risk of accidental disclosure:

  • Asian/Asian British
  • Black/Black British
  • Chinese
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnicities
  • White
  • Other

2. NHS workforce by ethnicity

Number and percentage of NHS staff by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Headcount
Asian 9.3 107,531
Black 5.7 65,956
Chinese 0.5 6,303
Mixed 1.6 18,614
White 80.7 928,146
Other 2.1 23,746
Unknown N/A* 53,251

Download table data for ‘NHS workforce by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘NHS workforce by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of NHS workforce NHS workforce by ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at September 2017, there were over 1.1 million people employed by NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England
  • overall, of staff whose ethnicity was known, White staff made up 80.7% of the NHS workforce, followed by Asian staff (9.3%), Black staff (5.7%), staff from the Other ethnic group (2.1%), staff with Mixed ethnicity (1.6%) and Chinese staff (0.5%)

3. NHS workforce by ethnicity and type of role

Number and percentage of NHS staff by ethnicity and type of role
Medical Non-medical
Ethnicity Medical % Medical Headcount Non-medical % Non-medical Headcount
Asian 28.5 30,398 7.4 77,133
Black 4.0 4,256 5.9 61,700
Chinese 2.5 2,684 0.3 3,619
Mixed 3.1 3,271 1.5 15,343
White 57.9 61,809 83.0 866,337
Other 4.0 4,259 1.9 19,487
Unknown N/A* 9,750 N/A* 43,501

Download table data for ‘NHS workforce by ethnicity and type of role’ (CSV) Source data for ‘NHS workforce by ethnicity and type of role’ (CSV)

Summary of NHS workforce NHS workforce by ethnicity and type of role Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at September 2017, around 10 out of 11 people employed by NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England were working in non-medical roles, while around 1 in 11 were in medical roles
  • White staff made up a higher percentage of the non-medical workforce (at 83.0%) than they did of the medical workforce (at 57.9%); Black staff also made up a higher percentage of the non-medical workforce (5.9%) than of the medical workforce (4.0%)
  • Asian staff made up a higher percentage of the medical workforce (at 28.5%) than they did of the non-medical workforce (at 7.4%)
  • staff from the Chinese, Mixed, and Other ethnic groups also made up a higher percentage of medical staff than of non-medical staff

4. NHS non-medical workforce by ethnicity and broad grade

Number and percentage of NHS non-medical staff by ethnicity and broad grade
Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other Ethnic minorities (exc White minorities)
Tier Asian % Asian Headcount Black % Black Headcount Chinese % Chinese Headcount Mixed % Mixed Headcount White % White Headcount Other % Other Headcount Ethnic minorities (exc White minorities) % Ethnic minorities (exc White minorities) Headcount
All 7.4 77,133 5.9 61,700 0.3 3,619 1.5 15,343 83.0 866,337 1.9 19,487 17.0 177,282
Very Senior Manager 4.2 79 1.0 19 0.3 5 0.6 12 93.6 1,779 0.3 6 6.4 121
Senior (Bands 8a-9) 5.5 3,668 3.2 2,146 0.6 381 1.2 825 88.5 58,550 0.8 556 11.5 7,576
Middle (Bands 5-7) 8.1 42,421 6.3 32,986 0.4 2,305 1.4 7,553 81.3 424,499 2.3 12,055 18.7 97,320
Support (Bands 1-4) 6.8 29,914 5.9 25,813 0.2 893 1.5 6,707 84.1 369,836 1.5 6,692 15.9 70,019
Other grades 7.6 1,051 5.3 736 0.3 35 1.8 246 83.9 11,673 1.3 178 16.1 2,246

Download table data for ‘NHS non-medical workforce by ethnicity and broad grade’ (CSV) Source data for ‘NHS non-medical workforce by ethnicity and broad grade’ (CSV)

Summary of NHS workforce NHS non-medical workforce by ethnicity and broad grade Summary

This data shows that:

  • staff from the Asian, Black, Chinese, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined made up 17.0% of the non-medical workforce, where ethnicity was known
  • in comparison, staff from the same ethnic groups made up 6.4% of people in the ‘very senior manager’ grade, and 11.5% of those in senior grades (bands 8a to 9)
  • there were lower percentages of staff from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups at senior (bands 8a to 9) and ‘very senior manager’ grades than at the support (bands 1 to 4) and middle grades (bands 5 to 7)

5. NHS non-medical workforce by ethnicity and specific grade

Number and percentage of NHS non-medical staff by ethnicity and specific grade
Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other Ethnic minority (exc. White minorities)
Grade Asian % Asian Headcount Black % Black Headcount Chinese % Chinese Headcount Mixed % Mixed Headcount White % White Headcount Other % Other Headcount Ethnic minority (exc. White minorities) % Ethnic minority (exc. White minorities) Headcount
Graduate entry grades
Very Senior Manager 4.2 79 1.0 19 0.3 5 0.6 12 93.6 1,779 0.3 6 6.4 121
Band 9 3.7 52 1.7 23 0.3 4 1.2 17 92.5 1,287 0.6 8 7.5 104
Band 8d 3.4 125 2.0 75 0.4 14 1.0 38 92.8 3,422 0.3 12 7.2 264
Band 8c 4.3 332 2.3 180 0.4 31 1.2 92 91.2 7,056 0.6 50 8.8 685
Band 8b 5.0 756 3.1 463 0.6 95 1.2 178 89.4 13,408 0.7 106 10.6 1,598
Band 8a 6.3 2,403 3.7 1,405 0.6 237 1.3 500 87.1 33,377 1.0 380 12.9 4,925
Band 7 5.9 6,570 4.6 5,109 0.6 652 1.3 1,438 86.3 96,735 1.4 1,576 13.7 15,345
Band 6 6.9 13,616 5.8 11,617 0.4 842 1.4 2,774 83.5 165,872 2.0 3,883 16.5 32,732
Band 5 10.5 22,235 7.7 16,260 0.4 811 1.6 3,341 76.7 161,892 3.1 6,596 23.3 49,243
Non-graduate entry grades
Band 4 5.9 5,333 4.8 4,378 0.3 251 1.5 1,397 86.6 78,823 0.9 834 13.4 12,193
Band 3 5.9 8,264 6.1 8,593 0.2 257 1.5 2,087 85.1 119,212 1.2 1,720 14.9 20,921
Band 2 7.6 13,324 6.0 10,569 0.2 314 1.5 2,691 82.7 144,975 1.9 3,412 17.3 30,310
Band 1 9.0 2,993 6.8 2,273 0.2 71 1.6 532 80.3 26,826 2.2 726 19.7 6,595
Unspecified
Other grades 7.6 1,051 5.3 736 0.3 35 1.8 246 83.9 11,673 1.3 178 16.1 2,246

Download table data for ‘NHS non-medical workforce by ethnicity and specific grade’ (CSV) Source data for ‘NHS non-medical workforce by ethnicity and specific grade’ (CSV)

Summary of NHS workforce NHS non-medical workforce by ethnicity and specific grade Summary

This data shows that:

  • the percentage of White staff increased as grades became more senior – this was found in both non-graduate entry grades (bands 1 to 4) and graduate entry grades (band 5 to very senior manager)

  • in the graduate entry grades (band 5 to very senior manager), staff from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups made up a smaller percentage of the senior roles – for example, Black staff made up 7.7% of the workforce in band 5, compared with 1.0% of those in ‘very senior manager’ roles

  • similarly, among the non-graduate entry grades (bands 1 to 4), staff from the Asian, Black, and Other ethnic groups made up a smaller proportion of the senior roles – for example, Asian staff made up 5.9% of the workforce in band 4 (the most senior non-graduate entry band), compared with 9.0% in band 1 (the most junior)

6. NHS medical workforce by ethnicity and grade

Number and percentage of NHS medical staff by ethnicity and specific grade
Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other
Grade Asian % Asian Headcount Black % Black Headcount Chinese % Chinese Headcount Mixed % Mixed Headcount White % White Headcount Other % Other Headcount
Senior doctors (Career grade)
Consultant (includingluding Directors of Public Health) 27.9 12,775 2.8 1,301 2.0 894 2.2 992 61.8 28,341 3.3 1,524
Associate Specialist 40.8 896 5.1 112 0.8 17 3.1 69 41.1 904 9.1 199
Specialty Doctor 44.1 3,107 5.1 361 1.0 67 3.0 210 39.8 2,806 7.1 497
Staff Grade 35.3 139 7.9 31 2.5 10 4.3 17 44.9 177 5.1 20
Junior doctors (Training and equivalent)
Specialty Registrar 28.1 8,004 5.2 1,488 3.4 958 3.8 1,080 55.2 15,720 4.3 1,228
Core Training 27.7 2,462 5.4 477 3.6 316 4.4 388 54.8 4,877 4.2 375
Foundation Doctor Year 2 24.1 1,375 4.1 235 3.1 178 4.0 228 61.1 3,481 3.5 201
Foundation Doctor Year 1 20.7 1,117 3.8 203 4.1 219 4.3 233 64.2 3,459 2.9 157
Other doctors
Hospital Practitioner / Clinical Assistant 17.4 264 1.4 22 0.5 7 1.4 21 77.5 1,177 1.8 28
Other and Local HCHS Doctor Grades 21.0 259 2.1 26 1.5 18 2.7 33 70.3 867 2.4 30

Download table data for ‘NHS medical workforce by ethnicity and grade’ (CSV) Source data for ‘NHS medical workforce by ethnicity and grade’ (CSV)

Summary of NHS workforce NHS medical workforce by ethnicity and grade Summary

This data shows that:

  • among medical staff, senior doctors were more likely to be White or Asian (at 58.1% and 30.5% respectively) than were junior doctors (at 56.8% and 26.7% respectively)
  • a higher percentage of junior doctors were Black, Chinese and of Mixed ethnicity compared with senior doctors
  • White doctors made up a higher percentage of consultants (the highest senior grade), at 61.8%, than they did the other senior grades
  • doctors from the Black, Chinese and Mixed ethnic groups made up a higher percentage of doctors at staff grade (the most junior of the senior grades) than they did at the other senior grades
  • Asian doctors and those from the Other ethnic group made up a higher percentage of doctors at specialty registrar grade than at any other of the junior grades
  • over three-quarters (77.5%) of hospital practitioner or clinical assistant roles were filled by White employees – the highest percentage of White staff in any specific medical grade

7. Methodology

Data provided here is based on administrative data collected from NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for September 2017.

The majority of trusts and CCGs use the Electronic Staff Record (ESR), the NHS’s main human resources and payroll system. Since 2008, the system has contained staff records for over 99% of staff employed directly by the NHS in England.

NHS foundation trusts are not required to use the ESR. Two of these do not, and instead submit their ethnicity data every 3 months directly to NHS Digital through the workforce Minimum Data Set collection.

NHS staff report their own ethnicity.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Quality and methodology information

8. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

NHS Digital

Publication frequency

Twice a year

Purpose of data source

The data is extracted from NHS human resource and payroll systems. The purpose of collecting ethnicity data through these systems is to monitor equality and diversity across the NHS workforce.

9. Download the data

NHS workforce - Spreadsheet (csv) 30 KB

This file contains data for Sep 2017. This is the data used in the charts, tables and commentary shown on this page. This file contains the following: ethnicity, type of role, entry level, broad grade, specific grade, headcount (numerator), denominator, value

NHS workforce using ONS 2011 ethnic categories - Spreadsheet (csv) 26 KB

This file contains data for the Sep 2017. The Asian ethnic group in this file includes those who are Chinese to enable comparison with other datasets that use the ONS 2011 5+1 classification (note this is different to the ethnic categorisation used in the figures shown in the charts, tables and commentary on this page). This file contains the following: ethnicity, type of role, entry level, broad grade, specific grade, headcount (numerator), denominator, value

NHS workforce v2 - Spreadsheet (csv) 29 KB

This file contains data for Mar 2018. This is the latest data available, but does not reflect the figures shown in the charts, tables and commentary on this page. This file contains the following: ethnicity, type of role, entry level, broad grade, specific grade, headcount (numerator), denominator, value

NHS workforce using ONS 2011 ethnic categories v2 - Spreadsheet (csv) 26 KB

This file contains data for Mar 2018. This is the latest data available, but does not reflect the figures shown in the charts, tables and commentary on this page. The Asian ethnic group in this file includes those who are Chinese to enable comparison with other datasets that use the ONS 2011 5+1 classification (note this is different to the ethnic categorisation used in this page). This file contains the following: ethnicity, type of role, entry level, broad grade, specific grade, headcount (numerator), denominator, value