1. Main points

  • Civil Service employment on 31 March 2017 was 419,399, up 1,056 (0.3%) on 31 March 2016.
  • There were 321,163 full-time civil servants, 4,371 (1.4%) more than 31 March 2016 and the number of civil servants working part-time fell by 3,315 (3.3%) to 98,236.
  • Of those who declared their ethnicity, 11.6% were from an ethnic minority.
  • Of those who declared their disability status, 10.0% were disabled.
  • Median gross annual earnings (excluding overtime or one-off bonuses) for Civil Service employees were £25,900, an increase of £550 (2.2%) on 31 March 2016.
  • The largest number of employees leaving the Civil Service were from the administrative responsibility level (47.8%), which makes up 35.7% of the Civil Service.
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2. Things you need to know about this release

This bulletin contains an overview of Civil Service employment statistics on 31 March 2017 in context with statistics from previous years, based on findings from the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES). The earliest available data on a consistent basis are for 31 March 2008. Data prior to this were collected for different reference dates in the year. There were also changes in coverage prior to 2008.

Longer time series for total Civil Service employment are available from the Public sector employment (PSE) release. The latest published statistics are for March 2017 when Civil Service employment was 419,480 (388,700 on a full-time equivalent basis). These quarterly statistics should be used when seeking to measure the size of the Civil Service over time.

The difference between the ACSES and March 2017 PSE figures, which use the same reference date, is less than 0.1% for both headcount and full-time equivalents. These data are shown in Table 11 of the statistical bulletin tables that accompany this release.

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

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

Diversity 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.

In 2016, an annex on sexual orientation and religion was provided along with the statistical bulletin tables that shows Civil Service employment by responsibility level. For 2017, there are two additional tables showing sexual orientation and religion or belief by organisational level.

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3. Civil Service employment remains stable

On 31 March 2017, Civil Service employment increased compared with the previous year. There were 419,399 civil servants, up 1,056 (0.3%) on 31 March 2016.

Looking longer-term, Civil Service employment has decreased since 2008, as shown in Figure 1. There are now 105,758 (20.1%) fewer employees in the Civil Service compared with 525,157 in 2008.

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4. Number of civil servants working part-time decreases by 3.3%

On 31 March 2017, the number of civil servants working full-time increased compared with the previous year. There were 321,163 full-time employees, up 4,371 (1.4%) on 31 March 2016. There was a decrease of 3,315 (3.3%) in the number of part-time civil servants, to 98,236 over this period. Figure 2 shows the change in working pattern from 2008 to 2017.

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5. Civil Service headcount increases across all levels apart from administrative responsibility level

From 31 March 2016 to 31 March 2017, employment decreased by 4,285 (2.8%) in the administrative responsibility level. Over the same period, employment increased by 155 (3.1%) in the Senior Civil Service responsibility level, by 1,867 (4.7%) in the grade 6 and 7 responsibility level, by 1,213 (1.2%) in the senior and higher executive officer responsibility level, and by 1,155 (1.1%) in the executive officer responsibility level. Figure 3 shows Civil Service employment by known responsibility level.

On 31 March 2017, 35.7% of the Civil Service worked at the administrative responsibility level, 26.4% worked at the executive officer level, 23.6% worked at higher or senior executive officer level, 9.9% worked at grade 6 or 7 level and 1.2% worked at Senior Civil Service level. The remaining 3.3% were not reported.

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6. Proportion of females at Senior Civil Service level continues to rise

The proportion of females working at Senior Civil Service level on 31 March 2017 was 41.2%, an increase of 1.1 percentage points on 31 March 2016 and 9.4 percentage points on 31 March 2008. The proportion of female grade 6s and 7s has been steadily increasing, from 38.2% on 31 March 2008 to 45.4% on 31 March 2017.

There were more females than males in the executive officer and administrative responsibility levels. The proportion of females decreased in the executive officer and administrative responsibility levels and increased in all other responsibility levels in the year to 31 March 2017, as shown in Figure 4.

On 31 March 2017, of all Civil Service employees, 54.0% were female, down 0.2 percentage points from 31 March 2016.

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7. Number of civil servants aged 16 to 19 increases by 23%

Since 31 March 2016, there has been an increase of 350 (23.0%) in age band 16 to 19 years, of 6,040 (14.3%) in age band 20 to 29 years, of 1,090 (1.2%) in age band 30 to 39 years, and an increase of 260 (0.9%) in age band 60 to 64 years. The 40 to 49 years, the 50 to 59 years and the 65 and over age bands showed a decrease in employment.

There were more females than males aged between 20 and 59 years and there were more males than females in the other age bands, as shown in Figure 5

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8. Civil Service employment continues to rise in Wales

On 31 March 2017, there were 332,800 Civil Service employees in England, 43,220 in Scotland, 32,440 in Wales and 3,760 in Northern Ireland.

The number of civil servants increased in Wales by 4.1%, in Northern Ireland by 6.7% and in Scotland by 0.4%. The number of civil servants employed overseas increased by 0.3%. Wales is the only country that showed an increase for both 2016 and 2017.

The number of civil servants employed in England decreased by 0.4%, falling by 1,190 from 333,990 to 332,800. Six of the nine English regions showed a decrease. The largest decreases were in the East of England (720; 3.2%) and the South East (860; 2.2%). Employment increased in the North East (by 480; 1.7%), the North West (by 410; 0.8%) and Yorkshire and The Humber (by 20; 0.1%).

The region with the highest number of civil servants was London with 78,070 (18.6%) employees. The lowest was the East Midlands (excluding Northern Ireland and Overseas) with 19,260 (4.6%); this is shown in Figure 6.

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9. More entrants to the Civil Service than leavers

There were 2,316 more entrants to the Civil Service than leavers between 31 March 2016 and 31 March 2017. A total of 37,167 people joined the Civil Service whilst 34,851 people left the Civil Service.

Employees at the administrative responsibility level accounted for 50.5% of entrants compared with 47.8% of leavers. Employees at the executive officer responsibility level accounted for 24.6% of entrants compared with 20.6% of leavers. For all other responsibility levels there were fewer entrants than leavers between 31 March 2016 and 31 March 2017, as shown in Figure 7.

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10. Proportion of ethnic minority employees increases across Civil Service

Of the Civil Service employees as of 31 March 2017 who declared their ethnicity, 11.6% were from an ethnic minority, an increase of 0.5 percentage points on 31 March 2016.

On 31 March 2017, 13.5% of employees at executive officer responsibility level and 12.0% at administrative responsibility level were from an ethnic minority, as shown in Figure 8. At the Senior Civil Service level, 7.0% were from an ethnic minority, unchanged from 31 March 2016. All other responsibility levels showed an increase in the proportion of ethnic minority employees from last year to this year.

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11. Proportion of disabled civil servants increases

On 31 March 2017, 10.0% of civil servants who declared their disability status were disabled, an increase of 0.8 percentage points compared with 31 March 2016. The proportion of employees with a declared disability was greater in lower responsibility levels, as shown in Figure 9. At the administrative responsibility level, 10.7% of employees who declared their disability status were disabled. This compares with 5.3% of employees at Senior Civil Service level.

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12. Almost half of civil servants declare themselves as British or Mixed-British

On 31 March 2017, of civil servants with a declared national identity, 49.0% declared themselves as British or Mixed-British. Employees alternatively declared themselves as English (32.0%), Scottish (9.2%), Welsh (6.7%) or Northern Irish (0.4%). The remaining 2.6% recorded another national identity, as seen in Figure 10.

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13. Civil Service median salary increases

The median gross salary of civil servants on 31 March 2017 was £25,900, an increase of £550 on 31 March 2016. The increase in median pay should be considered alongside the compositional impact on the make-up of the Civil Service workforce by responsibility level, whereby the number of employees working at the administrative level decreased by over 4,000, while there were increases in employment for the other responsibility levels.

Looking at earnings by region, employees overseas had the highest median earnings (£38,200), followed by employees in London (£33,390). The regions with the lowest median earnings were the North East (£21,350), Northern Ireland (£23,490), the North West (£23,490), Wales (£23,600) and Scotland (£23,810).

Gender pay gap narrows

The gender pay gap for all employees, calculated as the difference between the median pay for males and females, decreased from 13.6% on 31 March 2016 to 12.7% on 31 March 2017. This measure depends on the pay of part-time employees being converted to full-time equivalent salaries. The gender pay gap for full-time employees decreased from 12.0% to 11.0%. There was a fall from 11.5% to 9.1% for part-time employees.

Of all responsibility levels, the largest gender pay gap is that of part-time Senior Civil Service responsibility level, decreasing from 13.4% to 11.5%. The Senior Civil Service level gender pay gap rose from 3.7% to 4.2% from 31 March 2016 to 31 March 2017. Figure 11 shows the median annual full-time equivalent gross salary of all employees by gender and responsibility level.

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15. What’s changed in this release?

In 2017, within the statistical bulletin tables, Table 8 has been extended from an overall Civil Service level, to show professions at an organisational level on a headcount basis. Table 8A has also been added, which provides this on a full-time equivalent basis.

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16. Quality and methodology

The Civil Service statistics Quality and Methodology Information report contains important information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data and how it compares with related data
  • uses and users of the data
  • how the output was created
  • the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data

Response rates

All government departments and agencies responded to the survey for the year ending 31 March 2017. 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.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Neil Hedges
cssurveys@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456741

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