NHS workforce

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • around 1.3 million people were employed by the NHS at the end of March 2020

  • 77.9% of NHS staff were White (out of staff whose ethnicity was known), and 22.1% were from all other ethnic groups combined

  • people from each of the Asian, Chinese, Mixed and Other ethnic groups made up a larger percentage of medical staff than non-medical staff

  • a higher percentage of junior doctors than senior doctors were from the Black, Chinese and Mixed ethnic groups

  • among non-medical staff, there was a higher percentage of people from Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic backgrounds in ‘support’ and ‘middle’ grades compared with ‘senior’ and ‘very senior manager’ grades

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the number of NHS staff working in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England, and the percentage from each ethnic group.

The data is based on the number of full and part-time NHS staff at the end of March 2020.

Medical staff are junior and senior doctors, and other doctors working for hospitals and community health services.

Non-medical staff include clinical staff (for example, nurses and midwives, health visitors, and ambulance staff) and staff working in managerial, administrative and support roles.

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Not included in the data

The data does not include:

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

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for the following 6 ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Chinese
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other

NHS staff report their own ethnicity. Ethnicity was not known for 4.7% of NHS staff.

Percentages are based only on staff whose ethnicity is known. They may be different to percentages published by the NHS.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document (PDF opens in a new window or tab) for this data.

In the data file

See Download the data for figures from 2010 to 2020.

3. By ethnicity

Number and percentage of NHS staff (2020) and percentage of working age population (2011) by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number % working age population (2011)
Asian 10.0 131,446 7.2
Black 6.1 79,287 3.4
Chinese 0.6 6,929 0.9
Mixed 1.7 22,843 1.8
White 79.2 957,114 85.6
Other 2.3 31,457 1.1

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of NHS workforce By ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • around 1.3 million people were employed by NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England at the end of March 2020

  • White people made up 77.9% of all NHS staff (out of those whose ethnicity was known)

  • Asian people made up 10.7% of NHS staff, compared with 7.2% of working age people

  • Black people made up 6.5% of NHS staff, compared with 3.4% of working age people

  • people from the Other ethnic group made up 2.6% of NHS staff, compared with 1.1% of working age people

4. By ethnicity and type of role

Number and percentage of NHS staff by ethnicity and type of role
Medical Non-Medical
Ethnicity Medical % Medical Number Non-Medical % Non-Medical Number
All 100.0 126,523 100.0 1,163,358
Asian 30.2 34,815 8.7 96,645
Black 5.2 5,953 6.6 73,335
Chinese 2.6 2,940 0.4 3,991
Mixed 3.5 3,975 1.7 18,869
White 54.0 62,135 80.3 895,037
Other 4.6 5,351 2.3 26,108
Unknown N/A* 11,354 N/A* 49,373

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and type of role’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and type of role’ (CSV)

Summary of NHS workforce By ethnicity and type of role Summary

The data shows that:

  • around 90% of people employed by NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England were working in non-medical roles, and around 10% were in medical roles

  • White people made up a higher percentage of non-medical staff (80.3%) than medical staff (54.0%), as did Black people (6.6% of non-medical staff and 5.2% of medical staff)

  • Asian people made up 30.2% of medical staff. This was higher than the percentage of non-medical staff (8.7%) from an Asian background.

  • this was also the case for people from the Chinese ethnic group (2.6% of medical staff, 0.4% of non-medical staff), the Mixed ethnic group (3.5% and 1.7%) and the Other ethnic group (4.6% and 2.3%)

5. By ethnicity and grade (non-medical staff)

Number and percentage of NHS non-medical staff by ethnicity and specific grade
Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other
Specific grade Asian % Asian Number Black % Black Number Chinese % Chinese Number Mixed % Mixed Number White % White Number Other % Other Number
Graduate entry grades
Very Senior Manager 4.4 91 1.3 28 0.0 1 1.1 22 92.6 1,922 0.5 11
Band 9 4.1 73 2.5 44 0.6 10 1.2 22 91.1 1,611 0.5 9
Band 8d 4.1 175 2.4 104 0.5 20 1.2 51 91.7 3,952 0.2 10
Band 8c 5.0 433 3.3 291 0.4 39 1.4 119 89.2 7,768 0.7 63
Band 8b 5.9 1,028 3.4 592 0.6 110 1.5 253 87.7 15,215 0.9 154
Band 8a 7.1 3,289 4.3 1,970 0.7 326 1.6 716 85.2 39,343 1.1 525
Band 7 6.7 8,444 5.1 6,494 0.6 737 1.5 1,877 84.5 106,642 1.6 2,034
Band 6 7.8 16,556 6.5 13,815 0.5 960 1.6 3,411 81.4 173,531 2.4 5,036
Band 5 13.4 29,539 8.8 19,431 0.4 834 1.8 4,086 71.1 157,001 4.5 9,998
Non-graduate entry grades
Band 4 7.3 7,391 5.5 5,619 0.3 282 1.8 1,801 83.8 84,932 1.3 1,277
Band 3 7.0 10,959 6.8 10,599 0.2 302 1.7 2,707 82.8 129,268 1.5 2,370
Band 2 8.5 17,219 6.6 13,415 0.2 357 1.7 3,492 80.8 163,951 2.1 4,359
Band 1 9.8 1,143 6.6 764 0.2 23 1.8 210 79.4 9,234 2.2 258
Unspecified
Other grades 7.9 806 5.2 532 0.2 19 2.2 230 83.5 8,537 1.0 103

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and grade (non-medical staff)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and grade (non-medical staff)’ (CSV)

Summary of NHS workforce By ethnicity and grade (non-medical staff) Summary

The data shows that:

  • people from Asian, Black, Chinese, Mixed and Other ethnic backgrounds made up 19.7% of non-medical staff overall

  • within every non-medical grade, people from Asian backgrounds made up the highest percentage of ethnic minority staff, including 13.4% of the lowest graduate entry grade (Band 5)

  • in graduate entry grades, staff from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups made up a smaller percentage of senior than junior grades – for example, Black people made up 1.3% of staff in the ‘very senior manager’ grade (the most senior band), compared with 8.8% of staff in band 5 (the most junior)

  • in non-graduate entry grades, staff from the Asian, Black, and Other ethnic groups made up a smaller percentage of senior than junior grades – for example, Asian people made up 7.3% of staff in band 4 (the most senior band), compared with 9.8% in band 1 (the most junior)

6. By ethnicity and grade (medical staff)

Number and percentage of NHS medical staff by ethnicity and specific grade
Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other
Grade Asian % Asian Number Black % Black Number Chinese % Chinese Number Mixed % Mixed Number White % White Number Other % Other Number
All grades 30.2 34,815 5.2 5,953 2.6 2,940 3.5 3,975 54.0 62,135 4.6 5,351
Senior Doctor (Career Grade)
Consultant 29.1 14,540 2.9 1,437 2.1 1,059 2.4 1,212 59.9 29,940 3.5 1,773
Associate Specialist 41.7 839 5.2 105 0.7 14 3.0 61 40.5 814 8.9 178
Specialty Doctor 42.9 3,422 7.4 587 0.9 75 3.6 285 37.4 2,990 7.8 626
Staff Grade 39.1 119 6.9 21 1.6 5 5.3 16 39.5 120 7.6 23
Junior Doctor (Training and equivalent)
Specialty Registrar 29.1 8,522 7.5 2,193 3.4 998 4.4 1,304 50.3 14,746 5.3 1,559
Core Training 31.5 3,902 8.0 992 2.9 365 4.7 582 47.1 5,844 5.8 713
Foundation Doctor Year 1 25.3 1,457 4.4 254 4.1 238 4.3 250 58.5 3,372 3.4 197
Foundation Doctor Year 2 30.2 1,535 6.1 310 3.2 162 4.3 219 51.4 2,613 4.9 248
Other doctors
Hospital Practitioner / Clinical Assistant 18.7 273 2.1 30 1.0 14 1.7 25 74.8 1,090 1.8 26
Other and Local HCHS Doctor Grades 23.5 287 2.5 31 1.3 16 2.8 34 67.9 830 2.0 24

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and grade (medical staff)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and grade (medical staff)’ (CSV)

Summary of NHS workforce By ethnicity and grade (medical staff) Summary

The data shows that:

  • senior doctors were more likely to be White (56.2%) or Asian (31.4%) than junior doctors (50.5% and 29.3%)

  • a higher percentage of junior doctors were from Black, Chinese, Mixed or Other ethnic backgrounds compared with senior doctors

  • White doctors (59.9%) made up a higher percentage of consultants (the highest senior doctor grade) compared with the other senior grades

  • doctors from the Mixed ethnic group made up a higher percentage (5.3%) of doctors at staff grade (the most junior of the senior grades) than they did the other senior grades

  • Asian doctors (42.9%) made up a higher percentage of specialty doctors compared with the other senior grades

  • 74.8% of hospital practitioner or clinical assistant roles were filled by White employees – the highest percentage of White staff in any specific medical grade

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

NHS Digital

Note on corrections or updates

The data back to March 2010 has been revised by NHS Digital. There are some changes to the headcounts in the download files between 2010 and 2019.

Publication frequency

Quarterly

Purpose of data source

To monitor equality and diversity among people working for the NHS.

8. Download the data

NHS workforce - Spreadsheet (csv) 313 KB

Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Ethnicity type, Role type, Broad grade, Grade, Entry level, Value, Headcount