Workforce survey headlines and data infographic

We recommend that our latest annual workforce survey report is used to inform local discussions on vital organisational and workforce issues. Also, as a quick statistical guide for local use we have prepared a handy infographic document.


At a national level, the analysis of the previous survey was used to develop the recently published Workforce Focus which sets out the results of the LGA’s consultation on priorities for workforce improvement across local government and shares ideas and recommendations. This latest survey will help us take forward our programme of support work at a national level.

As well as the annual survey results we have also now developed a document presenting key workforce statistics in infographic form which will be updated whenever new data are available.

Councils continue to carry out major change programmes which affect the workforce and it is important to see how priorities are judged and tackled in this context. This foreword looks very briefly at a few highlights from the survey. As always we have to caution that the samples each year do not necessarily match, so trends can be difficult to interpret and statistically significant changes have a higher threshold. The response rate to the survey has improved this year which is most welcome and shows the importance that the sector attaches to benchmarking and the ability to inform policy development with good quality data.

Summary of key results

  • The median gross training expenditure per full time equivalent employee was £143 and three fifths (60 per cent) of respondent councils planned to maintain current levels of spending during 2018/19.
  • The median gross training expenditure on member development per councillor was £76 and just over half (52 per cent) planned to maintain current levels of spending during 2018/19.
  • On average 0.97 days were spent on off-the-job training per employee.
  • There was a median average labour turnover rate of 13.4 per cent and a median average vacancy rate of 8.0 per cent.
  • One in ten respondent councils (10 per cent) had a recruitment freeze in place at some point during 2017/18.
  • Nearly four in five councils (78 per cent) noted that their council was currently experiencing recruitment and retention difficulties.
  • Per council there was a median of nine non-UK or Republic of Ireland EU nationals directly employed and around half had not noticed a reduction in the number of EU/EEA nationals applying for posts (46 per cent), or noticed an increase in number of EU/EEA nationals leaving the organisation (54 per cent).
  • On average, 3.6 per cent of days were lost due to sickness and 8.8 days per FTE employee.
  • The most frequently reported cause of sickness absence was “stress, depression, anxiety, mental health and fatigue” (26.8 per cent of days lost).
  • On average 49.3 per cent of the top five per cent of earners were women, 3.1 per cent were Black, Asian or from other Minority Ethnic (BAME)groups and 3.3 per cent identified as having a disability.
  • Three quarters of respondent councils (75 per cent) use “time served (i.e. annual incremental progression)” as the system of individual pay progression for the majority of staff.