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Civil Service statistics

Published Wednesday, August 2, 2017

This briefing sets out statistics on Civil Service employment.

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This briefing summarises statistics regarding the Civil Service. Comprehensive data are available in the annual National Statistics publication Civil Service Statistics. The 2017 edition, along with editions back to 2012, are available on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website. Editions prior to 2012 were published by the Cabinet Office and are available from the National Archives website.

Civil Service staff

There were 388,610 full-time equivalent (FTE) Civil Service employees at 31 March 2017. This is 35% of the Civil Service staff in 1945 and slightly more than half the employees in 1976 (751,000).

Distribution by department and region

One fifth of all employees worked for the Department for Work and Pensions and its agencies. 20% of the Civil Service staff level worked in London (19%), followed by the North West (12%) and Scotland (10%).

Gender breakdown

54% of civil servants were female. 35% of female employees worked part-time, comapred with 9% of men. Women accounted for 45% of full-time employees. Men outnumber women in senior posts, comprising 59% of Senior Civil Service (SCS) staff.

Ethnic breakdown

Approximately 12% of civil servants were from an ethnic minority. Staff at lower-level grades were more likely to be from an ethnic minority than staff in SCS grades.

Age breakdown

Since 1991 the age profile of the Civil Service has become older: in 2017 more than two-thirds of all employees were aged over 40, compared with 44% aged over 40 in 1991.

Median earnings

As of March 2017, median gross earnings for permanent employees, including the full-time equivalent income of part-time staff, were £25,900. This marks an increase of around 13% compared with the median salary in March 2010, in cash terms. However, when adjusted for inflation, real-terms earnings between 2010 and 2017 decreased by 1%.  Employees working overseas were paid the most on average (£38,200), followed by employees in London (£33,390) and the South West (28,210)


House of Commons Library Standard Note Civil Service Reform summarises reforms to the Civil Service to 2010. An in-depth analysis of past Civil Service reform and chronology can be found in House of Commons Library Research Paper 03/49, Whither the Civil Service?

Commons Briefing papers SN02224

Authors: Grahame Allen; Vyara Apostolova

Topic: Civil Service

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