Civil service numbers decline, but women increase as a proportion

6 Oct 2016 11:29 AM

There were 418,300 civil servants as at 31 March 2016, down 15,500 or 3.6% on a year previously, according to the 2016 Civil Service Statistics, published by the Office for National Statistics.

Women made up 54.2% of the Civil Service at 31 March 2016, up 0.4 percentage points from the previous year. However, women increased as a proportion of the Senior Civil Service (40.1%, up 1.2 percentage points on the previous year and 8.2 percentage points since March 2008). There has also been an increase in the proportion of Grades 6 and 7 who are women, from 38.1% in 2008 to 44.8% in 2016.

Of those civil servants who declared their ethnicity, 11.2% were from an ethnic minority, up 0.5 percentage points on March 2015. As at March 2016, 12.8% of civil servants at Executive Officer level were from an ethnic minority, but at the Senior Civil Service level the proportion was only 7.0% (although this still represented an increase of 0.4 percentage points from the previous year).

In March 2016, 9.2% of civil servants who declared their disability status were disabled, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from March 2015. This proportion was, however, higher in lower responsibility levels: at the Administrative responsibility level, it was 10.1%, compared with 4.7% at Senior Civil Service level.

Despite the overall decrease in the number of civil servants, there was actually a rise in the numbers employed at the most senior levels of responsibility, with the Senior Civil Service up by 1.2% and Grades 6 and 7 up by 1.1%. This did not, however, represent large increases in the numbers employed, as these grades account for only 11% of the total Civil Service. The next group down, Senior and Higher Executive Officers, declined by 1.3%; Executive Officers by 0.5%; and the Administrative level by 8.4%.

Only in Wales did the number of civil servants increase, by 1.2%. Elsewhere there were decreases, the biggest being in the West Midlands (down 10.9%) and the South East (down by 8.3%). London continued to account for the highest proportion of Civil Service employment, with 19% of the total. The next highest proportion, which was in the North West, was only 12%.

Background Notes

  1. The data can be found at:
  2. This release covers the home Civil Service (including its members posted to Northern Ireland or overseas), but does not include members of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
  3. ONS will shortly be reviewing the Civil Service statistics, and as part of this has set up a short questionnaire on Survey Monkey. Your views would be appreciated at:
  4. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the media office.
  5. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. © Crown copyright 2016.

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