NHS workforce

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • as at March 2019, over 1.2 million people were employed by the NHS
  • of NHS staff whose ethnicity was known, 4 out of 5 (79.2%) were White (including White ethnic minorities), and 1 in 5 (20.7%) were from all other ethnic groups 
  • there was a higher percentage of staff in medical roles (working as doctors in hospitals and community health services) from the Asian, Chinese, Mixed and Other ethnic groups than in non-medical roles
  • among the non-medical workforce, staff from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups made up a smaller number 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 grades (bands 5 to 7)
  • a higher percentage of junior doctors were from the Black, Chinese, Mixed and Other groups than senior doctors
Things you need to know

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

The data doesn’t 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 data is based on the number of NHS staff regardless of whether they work part time or full time.

As some staff may work in more than one role, the number of staff in the tables will not add up to the overall workforce.

Ethnicity wasn’t known for 4.7% of NHS staff. Percentages are based only on staff whose ethnicity is known. They may be  different from the numbers included in the source publication.

Download the data for figures from 2010 to 2019.

What the data measures

This data measures the number and percentage of NHS staff working in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England. It is 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, speciality and staff grade 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 staff are graded from 1 to 9 (with band 9 being the most senior). These grades have been grouped as follows:

  • support grades (bands 1 to 4) including administrative assistants, receptionists, healthcare support workers and healthcare assistants (non-graduate entry roles)
  • middle-level grades (bands 5 to 7) including registered healthcare professionals (like nurses), project managers, and other administrative and clerical staff
  • senior grades (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 people being identifiable:

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

2. By ethnicity

Number and percentage of NHS staff and percentage of working age population (2011), by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Headcount % working age population (2011)
Asian 10.0 118,396 7.2
Black 6.1 72,321 3.4
Chinese 0.6 6,536 0.9
Mixed 1.7 20,607 1.8
White 79.2 934,544 85.6
Other 2.3 27,169 1.1

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at March 2019, over 1.2 million people were employed by NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England
  • out of staff whose ethnicity was known, White staff made up 79.2% of the NHS workforce, followed by Asian staff (10.0%), Black staff (6.1%), staff from the Other ethnic group (2.3%), staff with Mixed ethnicity (1.7%) and staff from the Chinese ethnic group (0.6%)
  • the percentage of NHS staff from the Asian, Black and Other ethnic groups was higher than the percentage of the working age population from the same ethnic groups

3. By ethnicity and type of role

Number and percentage of NHS staff by ethnicity and type of role
Medical Non Medical
Ethnicity % Headcount % Headcount
All N/A* 119,597 N/A* 1,121,103
Asian 29.7 32,308 8.0 86,243
Black 4.6 5,045 6.3 67,398
Chinese 2.5 2,757 0.4 3,787
Mixed 3.2 3,468 1.6 17,166
White 55.6 60,400 81.6 876,304
Other 4.3 4,698 2.1 22,501
Unknown N/A* 10,921 N/A* 47,704

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at March 2019, around 9 out of 10 people employed by NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England were working in non-medical roles (and 1 in 10 were in medical roles)
  • White people made up a higher percentage of non-medical staff (at 81.6%) than medical staff (at 55.6%)
  • Black people also made up a higher percentage of the non-medical staff (6.3%) than medical staff (4.6%)
  • however, Asian people made up a higher percentage of medical staff (at 29.7%) than non-medical staff (at 8.0%)
  • staff from the Chinese, Mixed, and Other ethnic groups also made up a higher percentage of medical staff than non-medical staff

4. By ethnicity and broad grade (non-medical staff)

Number and percentage of NHS non-medical staff by ethnicity and broad grade
Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other Unknown
Broad grade % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount
Very Senior Manager 4.6 92 1.2 25 0.2 4 0.8 17 92.9 1,869 0.2 5 N/A* 200
Senior (Bands 8a-9) 6.1 4,430 3.5 2,551 0.6 471 1.4 1,013 87.5 63,724 0.9 659 N/A* 2,660
Middle (Bands 5-7) 8.9 47,686 6.7 36,017 0.4 2,408 1.6 8,499 79.8 428,748 2.6 14,217 N/A* 22,796
Support (Bands 1-4) 7.3 33,330 6.2 28,393 0.2 905 1.6 7,503 82.9 377,321 1.6 7,481 N/A* 19,920
Other grade 8.1 1,081 5.0 673 0.2 31 1.8 235 83.3 11,144 1.6 208 N/A* 2,345

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • 18.4% of the non-medical workforce was made up of staff from the Asian, Black, Chinese, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined
  • staff from the same ethnic groups made up 7.0% of people in the ‘very senior manager’ grade, and 12.5% in senior grades (bands 8a to 9)
  • there were lower percentages of staff from the Asian, Black, Chinese, 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. By ethnicity and specific grade (non-medical staff)

Number and percentage of NHS non-medical staff by ethnicity and specific grade
Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other Unknown
Specific grade % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount
Graduate entry grades
Very Senior Manager 4.6 92 1.2 25 0.2 4 0.8 17 92.9 1,869 0.2 5 N/A* 200
Band 9 3.9 61 2.1 33 0.3 5 1.1 18 92.2 1,457 0.4 7 N/A* 92
Band 8d 3.5 140 2.3 91 0.4 18 1.1 45 92.3 3,716 0.4 15 N/A* 191
Band 8c 4.6 382 2.9 241 0.4 32 1.3 110 90.1 7,449 0.7 58 N/A* 334
Band 8b 5.7 937 3.2 529 0.6 103 1.3 205 88.3 14,419 0.8 134 N/A* 586
Band 8a 6.8 2,910 3.9 1,657 0.7 313 1.5 635 86.0 36,683 1.0 445 N/A* 1,457
Band 7 6.4 7,664 5.0 5,930 0.6 660 1.4 1,681 85.1 101,603 1.6 1,865 N/A* 4,254
Band 6 7.4 15,106 6.1 12,605 0.4 913 1.5 3,079 82.4 168,917 2.2 4,440 N/A* 7,970
Band 5 11.7 24,916 8.2 17,482 0.4 835 1.8 3,739 74.2 158,228 3.7 7,912 N/A* 10,572
Non-graduate entry grades
Band 4 6.7 6,454 5.2 5,027 0.3 246 1.7 1,590 85.0 81,757 1.1 1,070 N/A* 3,700
Band 3 6.4 9,409 6.5 9,577 0.2 274 1.6 2,415 83.8 123,160 1.4 2,050 N/A* 6,073
Band 2 8.0 14,418 6.4 11,527 0.2 318 1.6 2,939 81.7 147,028 2.0 3,647 N/A* 7,913
Band 1 9.5 3,049 7.1 2,262 0.2 67 1.7 559 79.2 25,376 2.2 714 N/A* 2,234
Unspecified
Other grades 8.1 1,081 5.0 673 0.2 31 1.8 235 83.3 11,144 1.6 208 N/A* 2,345

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at March 2019, the percentage of NHS non-medical staff from the White ethnic group, 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 senior grades than junior grades – for example, Black staff made up 8.2% of the workforce in band 5, compared with 1.2% of those in ‘very senior manager’ grades
  • 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 senior grades than junior grades – for example, Asian staff made up 6.7% of the workforce in band 4 (the most senior non-graduate entry band), compared with 9.5% 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 Unknown
Grade % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount % Headcount
All grades 29.7 32,308 4.6 5,045 2.5 2,757 3.2 3,468 55.6 60,400 4.3 4,698 N/A* 10,921
Senior Doctor (Career Grade)
Consultant 28.6 13,704 2.9 1,405 2.1 985 2.3 1,092 60.7 29,091 3.5 1,664 N/A* 3,102
Associate Specialist 40.6 818 5.2 104 0.8 16 2.9 59 41.5 837 9.1 183 N/A* 131
Specialty Doctor 43.6 3,281 6.2 467 0.9 71 3.3 249 38.4 2,888 7.5 565 N/A* 682
Staff Grade 38.0 108 7.0 20 1.1 3 3.5 10 42.6 121 7.7 22 N/A* 29
Junior Doctor (Training and equivalent)
Specialty Registrar 29.1 8,018 6.5 1,782 3.4 943 4.1 1,136 52.1 14,383 4.8 1,322 N/A* 3,578
Core Training 30.2 3,182 7.2 759 3.2 333 4.2 439 50.1 5,274 5.1 537 N/A* 1,451
Foundation Doctor Year 1 26.0 1,420 4.4 238 3.7 204 4.3 233 58.5 3,194 3.1 167 N/A* 843
Foundation Doctor Year 2 25.8 1,249 4.6 221 3.7 178 4.0 195 57.9 2,798 4.0 194 N/A* 706
Other doctors
Hospital Practitioner / Clinical Assistant 18.5 281 1.6 24 0.7 10 1.5 23 75.8 1,153 2.0 30 N/A* 253
Other and Local HCHS Doctor Grades 24.4 308 2.5 32 1.6 20 3.0 38 66.5 840 2.0 25 N/A* 177

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • senior doctors were more likely to be White or Asian (at 57.0% and 31.0%) than were junior doctors (at 53.0% and 28.7%)
  • a higher percentage of junior doctors were from the Black, Chinese, Mixed or Other ethnic groups compared with senior doctors
  • White doctors made up a higher percentage of consultants (the highest senior grade), at 60.7%, than they did the other senior grades
  • doctors from the Black and Mixed ethnic groups made up a higher percentage of doctors at staff grade (the most junior of the senior grades) than they did the other senior grades
  • over three-quarters (75.8%) of hospital practitioner or clinical assistant roles were filled by White employees (the highest percentage of White staff in any specific medical grade)

7. Methodology

Data provided here is based on administrative data collected from NHS trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for March 2019.

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 do not need to use the ESR. One trust does not, and instead sends their data every 3 months 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

Quarterly

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) 273 KB

Measure, time, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, role_type, broad_grade, grade, entry_level, value, headcount