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Statistical bulletin: Civil Service Statistics, 2011 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 12 October 2011 Download PDF

Headline figures are:

  • At 31 March 2011, Civil Service employment was 498,433. This total excludes 15,000 people employed temporarily for the 2011 Census.
  • 78 per cent of employees worked full-time, with the remaining 22 per cent working part-time.
  • Approximately half (53 per cent) of all employees were women. Women made up 84 per cent of the part-time workforce.
  • Median gross annual earnings (excluding overtime or one-off bonuses) for all employees were £23,760 at 31 March 2011.
  • The Senior Civil Service accounted for 1 per cent of the Civil Service.

Summary

This bulletin contains an overview of Civil Service employment statistics as at 31 March 2011. The release counts all home Civil Service employees. Civil Service Statistics excludes the Northern Ireland Civil Service, other Crown servants and employees of the wider public sector.

Statistics are presented on a range of factors including the gender, ethnicity, disability status, earnings and location of the Civil Service workforce.

Civil Service Workforce

Civil Service employment decreased by 29,051 from 527,484 at 31 March 2010, to 498,433 on 31 March 2011; a decrease of 6 per cent.

Compared with 2010, the number of full-time employees decreased by 29,456, while the number of part-time employees slightly increased (405).

Civil Service employment; 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011

Civil Service employment; 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Although the majority of the decrease in employment compared with 2010, was as a consequence of fewer people working at either an Executive Officer or an Administrative responsibility level (22,776 fewer employees; a 6 per cent decrease), as a proportion to total, the Senior Civil Service saw the largest decrease in headcount (9 per cent decrease).

Civil Service employment; by responsibility level; 31 March 2011

Civil Service employment; by responsibility level; 31 March 2011
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Gender

At 31 March 2011, 53 per cent of civil servants were female. This was unchanged from 31 March 2010.

Civil Service employment; female employees as a percentage of employees by responsibility level; 31 March 2011

Female employees as a percentage of employees by responsibility level
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The proportion of females in Senior Management positions has continued to increase. At 31 March 2011, females comprised 35 per cent of the Senior Civil Service. This compares with 34 per cent in the previous year.

Half of female (50 per cent) employees in the Civil Service were employed at an Administrative responsibility level, unchanged when compared to 2010.

There were 15,706 fewer females working in the civil service at 31 March 2011. This represents a decrease of 6 per cent from 2010. In comparison, there were 13,345 fewer males at 31 March 2011, representing a decrease of 5 per cent from 2010.

Ethnicity

At 31 March 2011, the proportion of employees from minority ethnic backgrounds was 9 per cent, virtually unchanged from a year earlier.

Civil Service employment; ethnic minority employees as a percentage of employees with known ethnic origin; 31 March 2011

Ethnic minority employees as a percentage of employees with known ethnic origin
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Employees from minority ethnic backgrounds were more highly represented in Executive Officer and Administrative responsibility levels than at more senior responsibility levels.

At 31 March 2011, 11 per cent of employees at Executive Officer responsibility level and 9 per cent at an Administrative responsibility level were from minority ethnic backgrounds. This compares with 5 per cent for the Senior Civil Service, the least ethnically diverse responsibility level.

Disability status

At 31 March 2011, the proportion of employees declared disabled was 8 per cent. The proportion of employees with a declared disability was greater at the lower responsibility levels; 9 per cent of employees at an Administrative responsibility level compared with 5 per cent of the Senior Civil Service.

Civil Service employment; disabled employees as a percentage of employees with known disability status; 31 March 2011

Disabled employees as a percentage of employees with known disability status
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Age

At 31 March 2011, 54 per cent of the Civil Service were aged between 30 and 49 years.

Civil Service employment; age distribution of the Civil Service; 31 March 2011

Age distribution of the Civil Service
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Just over one-third (34 per cent) were aged 50 years and over and 12 per cent under 30 years.

Just under half of the Senior Civil Service were aged 50 years and over (48 per cent). This compares with 34 per cent of civil servants employed at an Administrative responsibility level.

There was a reduction of 20 per cent of civil servants aged less than 30 years in comparison to 2010. Civil servants aged 16 -19 years declined from 2,270 in 2010, to 970; a decrease of 58 per cent. In contrast, the number of civil servants aged 65 years and over increased 22 per cent from 4,290 in 2010 to 5,230 in 2011.

National Identity

At 31 March 2011, of those with a declared national identity, 42 per cent of civil servants declared themselves as English. Employees alternatively declared themselves as British or Mixed British (41 per cent), Irish (1 per cent), Scottish (8 per cent) and Welsh (5 per cent). The remaining 2 per cent recorded another national identity.

Civil Service employment; national identity as a percentage of employees with a declared national identity; 31 March 2011

National identity as a percentage of employees with a declared national identity
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Earnings

At 31 March 2011, median gross annual earnings (excluding overtime or one-off bonuses) for all employees were £23,760, an increase of £910 from 31 March 2010.

Civil Service employment; median annual gross salary of full-time employees by gender and responsibility level, 31 March 2011

Median annual gross salary of full-time employees by gender and responsibility level
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Median annual gross salaries are rounded to the nearest ten pounds.

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The 2011 gender pay gap for full-time employees, compared with 2010, decreased from 13 per cent to 11 per cent. The gender pay gap for all employees increased to 16 per cent from 15 per cent in 2010. For part-time employees the 2011 gender pay gap is 17 per cent compared with 12 per cent in 2010.

When responsibility level is taken into account, the gender pay gap for all employees is between 2 and 7 per cent.

Professions

For those employees where a profession was reported, 60 per cent were assigned to Operational Delivery. The next largest recognised groups were Tax Professionals (4 per cent), Policy Delivery (4 per cent) and Finance (3 per cent).

Entrants and Leavers

In the year to 31 March 2011, 13,401 civil servants joined the Civil Service. This contrasts with 38,209 who left during the same period.

Civil Service employment; leavers from the Civil Service in year to 31 March 2011 by responsibility level; 31 March 2011

Leavers from the Civil Service in year to 31 March 2011 by responsibility level
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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These figures exclude movements between government departments. Background notes provide further explanation.

Regional Distribution

At 31 March 2011, 16 per cent of civil servants worked in London. Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of civil servants worked outside London and the South East. Of these, 10 per cent were based in Scotland and 7 per cent in Wales.

Civil Service employment; percentage breakdown of Civil Servants by region; 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011

Percentage breakdown of Civil Servants by region
Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The regional distribution of civil servants in the UK was broadly unchanged between 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011.

Reconciliation of Annual and Quarterly Civil Service Employment Statistics

This statistical bulletin presents a range of statistics for the year ending 31 March 2011, based on findings from the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES).

ONS also collects and publishes quarterly Civil Service employment statistics (QPSES) as part of the Public Sector Employment Statistical Bulletin. These quarterly statistics should be used when seeking to measure the size of the Civil Service over time. The latest published statistics are for Q2 2011 when Civil Service employment was 489,000 (453,000 on a full-time equivalent basis).

The QPSES estimates, for Q1 2011, included some 15,000 temporary staff employed for the sole purpose of undertaking the 2011 Census. Due to the temporary nature of these posts, it was decided that Census employees should not be included as part of ACSES 2011.
Taking the exclusion of temporary Census staff in to account, a headcount and full-time equivalent difference of 0.1 per cent remains (individual departments vary). This is not considered to impact significantly on the quality of the annual statistics.

Any minor revisions to the quarterly Civil Service series arising from the reconciliation work with the ACSES will be reflected in the quarterly Public Sector Employment Statistical Bulletin at the earliest opportunity.

Table 11 provides a full breakdown of the differences between the two sources by department.

Background notes

  1. Basic Quality Information

    Civil Service Statistics are sourced from the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES) which, following a development programme in 2007, replaced the Mandate Collection and departmental returns. There are no key issues to report that relate specifically to this release. For general issues regarding the interpreting of data, please see the ‘Common pitfalls in interpretation the series’ section.

    A Summary Quality Report (SQR) for the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (119 Kb Pdf) (ACSES) can be found on the ONS website. That report describes, in detail, the intended uses of the statistics presented in this publication, their general quality and the methods used to produce them.

  2. Relevance to users

    In consultation with the Cabinet Office and government departments the content of the survey is continuously reviewed.

    Civil Service Statistics 2011 covers the 12-month period to 31 March 2011. When comparing Civil Service Statistics over time it is important to note that the reference periods of the collections have changed between years.

    ACSES offers the benefit of uniform collection for the whole of the Civil Service. Previously two collection tools were used (1970-2006). The Mandate collection accounted for approximately 85 per cent of the Civil Service and comprised comprehensive anonymous datasets extracted directly from the HR systems of government departments and their agencies. For historical reasons some departments supplied summary tables instead. These were called departmental returns and covered only a limited subset of data.

  3. Common pitfalls in interpreting series

    This release counts all home Civil Service employees. Civil Service Statistics excludes the Northern Ireland Civil Service, other Crown servants and employees in the wider public sector, for example, employees of Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) and the National Health Service (NHS).

    Statistics are published on the gender, ethnicity, disability status and age of the Civil Service workforce. All diversity statistics relate to civil servants counted on a headcount basis. Employees declared as disabled are presented as a percentage of known disability status. Those employees who have either not responded or actively chosen not to declare their status are excluded from the calculation. The same applies when calculating the percentage of civil servants from an ethnic background. This should be considered when interpreting the statistics.

  4. Concepts and definitions

    Headcount statistics are based on the number of employees with an employment contract who are being paid by the organisation. Employees can be permanent, on a fixed-term contract or employed on a casual basis. The self-employed, contract workers and agency workers are excluded. Employees not on the payroll and not being paid during the reference period are also excluded, for example, those on unpaid maternity leave, unpaid sick absence and career breaks.

    Full-time employees are those who are contracted to work 37 hours per week (36 hours per week in London). Part-time employees are those who work less than the full-time contracted hours.

    Full-time equivalents are based on converting part-time employees’ hours into a full-time employees’ equivalent and provides a better indicator of total labour input than a headcount.

    Permanent employees are employees with a contract that has no agreed expiry date or a fixed term contract of more than twelve months. Temporary/casual employees are those with a fixed term contract of twelve months or less or employed on a casual basis. Casual employees must be paid through the department's payroll. Employees hired through agencies are not included.

    Entrants and leavers are employees entering or leaving the Civil Service in the twelve months to 31 March 2011. The figures exclude transfers and loans between departments. Employees leaving on 31 March 2011 are counted as both staff in post and leavers. A number of departments are unable to provide a date of entry for civil servants in their employment. Some departments are also unable to distinguish between those civil servants entering their department for the first time via transfer or loan and those new to the Civil Service. As such, the number of net entrants and leavers will not reconcile with the change in employment between 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011.

    Gross salary is the annual salary inclusive of basic pay (including consolidated performance pay) and pay-related allowances such as regional and skills allowances. It does not include bonuses. The headline earnings statistics are based on the median rather than the mean. The median is the value below which 50 per cent of employees fall. It is preferred over the mean for earnings data as it is influenced less by extreme values and because of the skewed distribution of earnings data.

    Responsibility levels - Since 1 April 1996 all departments and agencies have had delegated responsibility for the pay and grading of their employees, except for those in the Senior Civil Service (SCS). The concept of broad ‘responsibility levels’ is therefore used, in which departmental grades have been assigned to levels broadly equivalent (in terms of pay and job weight) to the former Service-wide grades.

    Senior Management
    SCS - Senior Civil Service

    Other Management Grades
    Grade 6
    Grade 7
    SEO - Senior Executive Officer
    HEO - Higher Executive Officer
    EO - Executive Officer

    Administrative Grades
    AO - Administrative Officer
    AA - Administrative Assistant

    The professions of civil servants were collected for the first time in 2007. The professions relate to the post occupied by the person and are not dependent on any qualifications the individual may have. The range of professions includes economics, engineering, finance, human resources, law, science, tax professionals etc. Employees can alternatively be assigned to operational delivery (delivering front line services) or policy delivery (designing or enhancing services to the public). If a post could be considered operational delivery but also matches one of the specific professions, the person is assigned to the specific profession. It should not be assumed that those classified to operational delivery represent the sum of all those delivering front line services

    Regional statistics are presented in this publication at Government Office for the Regions level. More detailed geographical breakdowns are available in the associated online tables released today (1.33 Mb Excel sheet) .

  5. Accuracy

    All government departments and agencies responded to the survey for the year ending 31 March 2011.

    2010/11 non response comparison

    All employees

    2010 (per cent) 2011 (per cent) Difference (per cent)
    Gender 0.0 0.0 n/a
    Age 0.0 0.1 0.1
    Disability 0.0 0.1 0.1
    Ethnicity 7.2 6.6 -0.6
    Gross Salary 0.1 0.1 n/a
    Profession 20.1 4.1 -16.0
    Responsibility Level 0.5 0.6 0.1

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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    Departments are not always able to provide complete information for every variable and users should consider this known under-coverage and non-response issue when interpreting the statistics, particularly over time.

    The main reason for under-coverage and non-response is that it can take time for HR systems to ‘catch up’ when a new employee joins their department. Departments are also increasingly moving to self-service systems which require individuals to maintain their personal information via an intranet service. While it is the responsibility of departments to review the quality of information held and encourage regular updates, an element of non-response is expected.

  6. Reliability

    There have been no revisions made to Civil Service Statistics 2010.

  7. Coherence

    A key measure of quality is the reconciliation between the two sources of Civil Service employment statistics, the annual and quarterly surveys. Despite departments supplying both sets of data and ONS’s continuing work with departments to minimise any differences between the two sources, some differences still remain. Disparities arise due to timing differences between the two sources and the nature of the data collections. The quarterly survey is published eleven to twelve weeks after the end of the reference period. As only summary statistics are required, data can often be sourced by departments directly from payroll systems rather than HR systems which are commonly used to supply data for ACSES. The timeliness of the survey also means that HR systems continue to be updated after the snapshot date. This live updating of systems means there is always the possibility of differences arising before the more comprehensive annual collection is completed.

  8. Notes on tables

    Rounding the sum of constituent items in tables may not always agree exactly with the totals shown due to rounding.

    Symbols

    .. Figures suppressed to avoid disclosure of information relating to individual enterprises.
    - Data not available.

  9. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Emily Carless +44 (0)1633 455717 Labour Market Division, Office for National Statistics cssurveys@ons.gsi.gov.uk
David Matthews +44 (0)1633 456756 Labour Market Division, Office for National Statistics david.matthews@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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