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1. Representation: ensuring the Civil Service reflects the diversity of the UK
The Civil Service is at its best when it reflects the diversity of the country as a whole and is able to understand what the public needs. When people from diverse backgrounds are involved in creating the public services we all rely on, we get better services that work for everyone. For these reasons, the Civil Service is committed to reflecting the country that we serve, and is taking targeted action to tackle underrepresentation, especially in the Senior Civil Service.
Our workforce data shows that the Civil Service as a whole is broadly representative of the UK’s working population, but there is more to be done to ensure that this diversity is reflected at all levels across departments and professions.
Explore the data with our interactive tool
Our interactive dashboard shows data on the representation of protected characteristics in the Civil Service by grade and department over time and selected themes from the People Survey. This tool allows you to generate bespoke graphs and download data tables.
1.1 Representation of different groups in the Civil Service
Latest figures show that 53.9% of civil servants are women, 12.7% are ethnic minorities and 11.7% are disabled. The representation of ethnic minority staff is in line with the wider working population (12.6% of the UK’s working population were from ethnic minorities in June 2019) whilst disabled staff are still slightly underrepresented (13.4% of the UK’s working population were disabled as at June 2019).
Civil servants who are disabled, from an ethnic minority background or a woman are more likely to be in more junior roles, but the proportion in more senior roles has been increasing since 2010. In Grades 6 and 7 - the feeder grades for the Senior Civil Service - the proportion of disabled staff has risen from 4.9% to 8.7% since 2010, and the proportion of staff who are ethnic minorities has gone from 6.9% to 10.3%.
The overall representation of women in the Civil Service has remained above 50% since 2010. For grades HEO and above, the proportion of women has increased from 2010 and is getting closer to achieving gender parity.
1.2 Gender balance
Representation of women by grade, 2010-2019
Overall, 53.9% of the Civil Service are women in 2019. This varies by grade from 45.2% in the Senior Civil Service (SCS) to 57.2% at AA/AO level. The overall percentage has remained fairly stable since 2010 but for the SCS, the percentage of women has increased each year.
1.3 Ethnic minorities
Representation of ethnic minorities by grade, 2010-2019
Overall, 12.7% of civil servants are from an ethnic minority background in 2019. By grade this varies from 6.3% in the SCS to 14.5% at EO level. Both the overall percentage and the percentage in every grade has increased since 2010.
Representation of ethnic groups in the Civil Service, excluding the White ethnic group, 2015 - 2019
Of those who reported their ethnicity, 6.6% are Asian, 3.4% are Black, 1.8% are mixed, 0.6% are Other, and 0.3% are Chinese as at March 2019.
As with the UK’s population as a whole, the Civil Service has a higher proportion of ethnic minorities in London (33.6%) than elsewhere (7.6% including overseas). Where in the country civil servants work is one factor behind the variation in ethnic diversity by department.
Representation of disabled staff by grade, 2010-2019
Overall, 11.7% of civil servants have recorded that they have a disability in 2019. By grade this varies from 5.1% in the SCS to 12.6% at AA/AO level. Both the overall percentage and the percentage in every grade has increased since 2010.
1.5 Sexual orientation
Although in recent years we have been asking civil servants to tell us about their sexual orientation, only 57% of civil servants in 2019 did so. Of those who recorded their sexual orientation, 95.2% say they are heterosexual, 3.1% say that they are gay or lesbian, 1.2% say they are bisexual and 0.5% recorded their sexual orientation as ‘other’.
When broken down by gender, 4.3% of men with known sexual orientation are gay, 1.0% are bisexual and 0.6% record their sexual orientation as ‘other’ as at March 2019. This compares to 2.1% of women with known sexual orientation who are gay/lesbian, 1.5% who are bisexual and 0.5% who record their sexual orientation as ‘other’ as at March 2019.
Sexual orientation in the Civil Service, excluding heterosexual, by gender 2019
There is some variation in the representation of these groups by grade but currently we cannot discern a clear pattern. As we achieve higher rates of recording of sexual orientation, this may change.
Representation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and ‘Other’ (LGBO)** staff by grade, 2015-2019
Overall, 4.9% of civil servants are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or recorded their sexual orientation as ‘Other’, in 2019. By grade this varies from 4.7% at grades HEO/SEO level and below to 5.6% at Grade 6/7 and 5.5% at SCS. The overall percentage has increased over the last three years. Note that the recording rate for sexual orientation is low (57% in 2019).
1.6 Religion and belief
Although in recent years civil servants have been asked to report their religion, belief or non-belief, only 55% of civil servants have done so in 2019. Of those who have, 51.3% were Christian and 37.9% reported they had no religion or belief. The most common reported religion or belief after Christianity was Islam (Muslim) at 3.7%.
Representation of staff by religion or belief, 2015 - 2019
Of those who recorded their religion, belief, or non-belief; 51.3% are Christian and 37.9% have no religion or belief as at March 2019. All other religions or beliefs represent less than 5% of the Civil Service. Note that the recording rate for religion and belief is low (55% in 2019).
The median age of civil servants is 46. Overall, the median age remains unchanged from 2018, but has still increased from age 44 in 2010. There is little variation in median age by grade. The median age is 48 at SCS level, 47 at EO level, and 45 at all other grades. The proportion of SCS level staff under the age of 40 is 16.3%, which is lower than that in Grades 6 and 7, where 32.5% of staff are under 40.
Proportion of staff by age and grade, 2019
Almost two-thirds of civil servants who reported their age in March 2019 were aged over 40. The proportion of staff aged 40-49 has decreased from 32.6% in 2010 to 24.1% in 2019. In this time, the proportion of staff aged 50-59 has increased from 25.7% in 2010 to 31.0% in 2019.
Proportion of staff by age, 2010-2019
1.8 Representation of different groups in the Senior Civil Service
Our most senior leaders are the Senior Civil Service, around 4,900 people.
1.9 Gender balance in the Senior Civil Service
Latest data show that 45.2% of Senior Civil Servants are women, as compared to 1996, when the figure was only 16.7%.
Women now make up at least half of Senior Civil Servants in three departments: the Department for Education, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs, but only 27.3% of those in the Ministry of Defence.
Gender balance in the Senior Civil Service by department, 2019
As at June 2019, representation of women in the SCS varies from 27.3% at the Ministry of Defence to 56.0% at the Department for Education.
Representation of women in the SCS, 2010-2019
As at June 2019, 45.2% of SCS are women. This percentage has increased every year since 2010, when it was 35.2%
1.10 Ethnicity and disability in the Senior Civil Service
The representation of ethnic minority and disabled staff in the Senior Civil Service (SCS) is currently at record highs. As of June 2019, 5.1% of the SCS has declared a disability, and 6.3% of the SCS are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Representation of ethnic minorities in the SCS by department, 2019
In 2019, representation of ethnic minority staff in the SCS varies from 14.2% at the Department for International Trade to 2.5% at the Ministry of Defence. Departments with fewer than five recorded ethnic minority staff have been suppressed
Representation of ethnic minorities in the SCS, 2010-2019
As at June 2019, 6.3% of the SCS are ethnic minorities. This percentage has increased since 2010, when it was 4.2%.
Representation of disabled staff in the SCS by department, 2019
In 2019, representation of disabled staff in the SCS varies from 9.6% at the Cabinet Office to 2.5% at the Department of Health and Social Care. Departments with fewer than five recorded disabled staff have been suppressed.
Representation of disabled staff in the SCS, 2010-2019
As at June 2019, 5.1% of the SCS have recorded a disability. This percentage has increased since 2010, when it was 3.4%
1.11 Diversity targets for new entrants to the SCS
Although the representation of disabled and ethnic minority staff in the SCS is currently at an all time high, staff with a disability or from an ethnic minority background remain underrepresented at senior levels.
We have set ourselves ambitious targets for the diversity of new entrants to the SCS. By 2025, we are aiming for 13.2% of new recruits to the SCS to be from an ethnic minority background, up from 5.6% in recent years, and for 11.3% to be disabled, compared to 3.3% disabled. We will be monitoring our progress on these pages.
Senior Civil Service Ethnicity and Disability New Entrant Targets:
|Percentage of new recruits to the SCS who are:||2017-20||2018-21||2019-22||2020-23||2021-24||2022-25|
Our modelling suggests that hitting these targets could see representation rates roughly doubling between now and 2025, to 10% for ethnic minorities and 8% disabled. This would be a notable increase compared to that seen since 2010 where the representation of ethnic minorities increased from 4.2% to 6.3% and from 3.4% to 5.1% for disabled staff.
2. Inclusion: becoming the UK’s most inclusive employer
The Civil Service wants to become the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020; building an inclusive culture in which everyone can thrive and where all our staff to be able to be themselves, feel valued and fairly treated.
2.1 Measuring inclusion
Inclusion is hard to measure and benchmark, so the Civil Service are working with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to develop common measures of inclusion. In the meantime, the Civil Service People Survey (an annual staff survey, which invites all civil servants to share their views on working for their organisations) tells us a lot about the experience of different groups of staff. The Civil Service People Survey is sent to all civil servants each October, giving everyone the chance to have their say and help shape the future of where they work. In 2018 66% of all civil servants completed the People Survey. The headline measure of the survey is the employee engagement index, which measures employees’ commitment to their organisation in terms of pride, advocacy, personal attachment, and the extent to which their organisation motivates and inspires them.
2.2 Key results
Several of the questions in the People Survey relate to inclusion. The results from four questions, which ask staff how they feel they are treated at work, are used to make up an inclusion and fair treatment index or ‘theme score’. In the most recent survey (2018), this theme score is at an all time high of 78%, up from 77% in 2017. On average, 3 out 4 staff feel their organisation is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace in 2018, up from 74% in 2017.
Related to inclusion and fair treatment, on average, 11% of staff reported in the 2018 People Survey that they had experienced bullying and harassment at work in the last 12 months, unchanged from the previous two years. This overall figure masks differences between staff with different characteristics: rates of bullying and harassment were highest for staff who identify as a gender other than man or woman (27%), followed by staff with a long-term limiting condition (22%) and LGBO staff (17%).
Men have slightly lower engagement and inclusion and fair treatment scores than women. Overall women report higher rates of discrimination, bullying and harassment than men. In 2018, staff who identify as a gender other than man or woman have the lowest scores for engagement (44%), inclusion and fair treatment (59%), and report the highest rates of discrimination, bullying and harassment.
People Survey: engagement, inclusion, discrimination and bullying scores of civil servants by gender, 2010-2018
Engagement and inclusion scores were higher for women than men every year since 2010. In 2018 the engagement score for men was 58%, compared to 62% for women. The percentages of staff who have experienced discrimination and bullying is now higher in women and the gap in bullying between men and women is at its largest in 2018 since the survey began.
Those who identified as a gender other than male or female have much lower engagement (44%) and inclusion and fair treatment (59%) scores, than men or women. At 31% and 27%, the percentage of staff who identify as a gender other than male or female experiencing discrimination and bullying & harassment respectively are more than double than among men and women.
Whilst ethnic minority staff (66%) have higher engagement scores than their white counterparts (59%), ethnic minority staff report higher levels of discrimination, bullying and harassment than white staff, and tend to score slightly lower on the inclusion and fair treatment theme score.
People Survey: engagement, inclusion, discrimination and bullying scores of civil servants by ethnicity, 2010-2018
Engagement scores were higher for ethnic minorities than white staff every year since 2010. In 2018 the engagement score for white staff was 59%, compared to 66% for ethnic minority staff. The scores for inclusion are lower for ethnic minority staff, while the discrimination and bullying scores are higher for ethnic minorities.
Disabled staff have much lower engagement and inclusion scores and report much higher levels of discrimination, bullying and harassment than non-disabled staff. In 2018, the inclusion and fair treatment score for disabled staff was 68%, compared to 80% for non-disabled staff.
People Survey: engagement, inclusion, discrimination and bullying scores by disability status, 2010-2018
Engagement and inclusion scores were lower for disabled staff than non-disabled staff every year since 2010. In 2018 the engagement score for non-disabled staff was 61%, compared to 53% for disabled staff. Discrimination and bullying scores for disabled staff are more than double those for non-disabled staff.
2.6 Sexual orientation
LGBO staff have tended to have slightly lower engagement and inclusion scores than heterosexual staff, and report much higher levels of discrimination and bullying and harassment. In 2018, the inclusion and fair treatment score for LGBO staff was 76%, compared to 78% for heterosexual staff.
People Survey: engagement, inclusion, discrimination and bullying scores by sexual orientation, 2010-2018
Engagement and inclusion scores were slightly higher for heterosexual staff than LGBO staff every year since 2010. In 2018 the engagement score for heterosexual staff was 60%, compared to 59% for LGBO staff. Discrimination and bullying scores for LGBO staff are higher than those for heterosexual staff.
3. Gender pay gap
The Civil Service has been publishing its gender pay gap as part of Civil Service Statistics for many years, prior to the gender pay gap regulations being introduced. Since 2010, the mean gender pay gap has reduced from 14.6% to 9.2%, and the median from 15.1% to 11.1%.
3.1 Civil Service gender pay gap over time, full-time equivalent 2010 - 2019
The gender pay gap measures the difference in pay of men and women but is not equivalent with measuring equal pay. The median gender pay gap compares the pay of women and men in the middle of their pay distributions. The mean gender pay gap also takes into account differences in pay at the top of the Civil Service when calculating the difference in pay.
As with all organisations who employ over 250 people, departments have also published their gender pay gaps on the Government Equalities Office (GEO) gender pay gap reporting tool. Under the GEO methodology, pay gaps across main departments range from 3.1% in the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to 15.6% in the Department for Transport.
3.2 Mean difference in women’s hourly rate of pay compared to men by department, 2017 - 2018
4. Notes, sources and definitions page
This dashboard contains a mixture of official statistics and management information collected internally in the Cabinet Office. See below for a complete list of data sources used.
Public Sector Equality Duty: This publication is not intended to fulfil the requirement for Civil Service organisations to publish information annually to demonstrate compliance with the General Equality Duty.
Further information about ethnicity in the Civil Service can be found on the ethnicity facts and figures web pages.
4.1 Data sources
Civil Service Statistics, Cabinet Office
Latest data refer to March 2019, published July 2019. (Civil Service-wide breakdowns and representation below SCS by age, department, grade, religion, belief and non-belief, sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability. Data on age and religion, belief and non-belief for the SCS is also based on Civil Service Statistics.)
Civil Service People Survey, Cabinet Office
Latest data refer to 2018.
Cabinet Office SCS database, Cabinet Office
Latest data refer to June 2019. (Senior Civil Service level breakdowns for department, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability.)
Gender Pay Service, Government Equalities Office
Latest data refer to March 2018. (Senior Civil Service level breakdowns for age, department, ethnicity and disability.)
Quarterly Public Sector Employment Statistics, ONS
Latest data refer to March 2019, published June 2019. (Civil Service-wide headline statistics by gender.)
UK Labour Market statistics, ONS
Latest data refer to June 2019, published August 2019. (Working population (economically active aged 16-64) by ethnicity and disability.)
Analysis by department includes executive agencies attached to the core department, in alignment with those used in ONS Civil Service Statistics.
The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as a physical or a mental condition which has a substantial and long-term impact on your ability to do normal day to day activities. In the People Survey disability is reported as a Long-term limiting condition, illness or disability.
Gender Pay Gap
Government Equalities Office (GEO) statutory reporting differs from that published as part of Civil Service statistics. The GEO gender pay gap is defined as the difference in mean and median hourly rate between men and women. The headline measure in Civil Service Statistics for the gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between median gross earnings (excluding overtime) as a proportion of median gross earnings (excluding overtime) for men
LGBO - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or ‘Other’
In the People Survey, civil servants are invited to record their sexual orientation as “Heterosexual/straight”, “Gay or lesbian”, “Bisexual” or “Other”. The term LGBO refers to staff who report belonging to one of the last three groups. When departments report their data to ONS, they are able to categorise sexual orientation as “Heterosexual/straight”, “Gay woman/lesbian”, “Gay man”, “Bisexual” or “Other”. In some cases where HR systems do not differentiate between “Gay woman/lesbian” and “Gay man”, it is likely that they are categorised using the recorded gender.
Senior Civil Service
There are two measures of the SCS available: The Senior Civil Service and SCS Level. The official headline figures used for monitoring diversity of The Senior Civil Service are sourced from the Cabinet Office SCS database that collects more frequent and comprehensive information on those individuals that make up The Senior Civil Service. Civil Service Statistics captures SCS level employees that includes a number of health professionals, military personnel and senior diplomats that are not part of The Senior Civil Service. Data on the SCS which are sourced from Civil Service Statistics are labelled as “SCS level”.
This term has been used to describe the ONS’ definition of Economically Active Population (i.e. the population who are working, have sought work in the last four weeks and/or are available to start work in the next two weeks).