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Diversity in the UK civil service

28 February 2020: the #icaewchartofthemonth is on diversity in the workforce, highlighting the strides that have been taken to improve gender, minority ethnic and disability representation in the 445,000 people that work for the civil service.

ICAEW chart of the month

While the proportion of women in the civil service has exceeded 50% over the last couple of decades, female employees have historically been overrepresented at junior grades and underrepresented at higher levels. However, significant progress has been made with the proportion of women in the most senior grades (the ‘senior civil service’) rising from less than 30% back in 2006 (and less than 20% in 1997) to just under 45% in 2019.

Minority ethnic representation has also been improving over time, with the 12.7% working for the overall Civil Service in 2019 very close to the proportion in the overall working population.

Disability still lags behind, however, with 11.7% of civil servants reporting on their disability status compared with around 13% in the wider workforce. Despite improvements, minority ethnic and disability representation in the senior civil service remains relatively low at 8.1% and 6.8% respectively, highlighting how much more progress still needs to be made to achieve a fully inclusive civil service at all levels.