Local government workforce summary data - March 2021


March 2021

This summary of local government workforce data looks primarily at the directly employed workforce. The data comes from multiple sources, therefore dates will vary. Additional data on teachers, the fire service and the mainly-commissioned social care workforce are also summarised for convenience. Please note that the figures in this summary pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of COVID-19 on the local government workforce is not included in this resource.

Please use the left hand navigation to view this PDF as accessible content. 

Workforce numbers and breakdown

ONS Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES)
England
Q3 2020

  • Head count

    • Q3 2012: 1,903,000
    • Q3 2020: 1,354,700
    • per cent change since Q3 2012: -28.8 per cent
  • Full time equivalent (FTE)
    • Q3 2012: 1,343,300
    • Q3 2020: 1,016,100
    • per cent change since Q3 2012: -24.4 per cent
  • Female
    • Q3 2012: 1,443,100
    • Q3 2020: 1,014,500
    • per cent change since Q3 2012: -29.7 per cent
  • Male
    • Q3 2012: 459,900
    • Q3 2020: 340,200
    • per cent change since Q3 2012: -26.0 per cent
  • Part-time
    • Q3 2012: 1,035,600
    • Q3 2020: 695,300
    • per cent change since Q3 2012: -32.9 per cent
  • Full-time
    • Q3 2012: 867,400
    • Q3 2020: 659,400
    • per cent change since Q3 2012: -24.0 per cent
  • Temporary/casual
    • Q3 2012: 258,400
    • Q3 2020: 141,400
    • per cent change since Q3 2012: -45.3 per cent
  • Permanent
    • Q3 2012: 1,644,600
    • Q3 2020: 1,213,300
    • per cent change since Q3 2012: -26.2 per cent

LGA earnings survey

Pay Bill
England and Wales - 2019/20

Excludes teachers and firefighters. Percentages are real-terms increases, accounting for inflation.

  • Basic pay: £23.3 billion, up 4.0 per cent since 2014/15
  • Total gross (including all additional elements, for example overtime, shift premium, bonus and incentives): £24.0 billion, up 4.2 per cent since 2014/15

Median rates
England & Wales - 2019/20

Excludes teachers and firefighters.

  • Full-time staff: £28,947, from £25,520 in 2014/15
  • Part-time staff: £20,164, from £17,280 in 2014/15

Employee ethnicity
England & Wales - 2019/20

  • Asian employees: 3.8 per cent
  • Black employees: 4.3 per cent
  • Mixed ethnicity employees: 1.4 per cent
  • Other ethnicity employees: 0.6 per cent
  • White employees: 89.9 per cent

Employee age
England & Wales - 2019/20

Earnings Survey results exclude teachers and firefighters.

  • Under 25: 4.6 per cent
  • 25-39: 24.8 per cent
  • 40-64: 66.9 per cent
  • Over 65: 3.5 per cent
  • Not known: 0.2 per cent

Employee disability
England & Wales, 2019/20

  • Not disabled: 61.8 per cent (95 per cent excluding Unknown)
  • Disabled 3.3 per cent (5 per cent excluding Unknown)
  • Unknown: 35.0 per cent

Government equalities office, statutory return

England - 2019/20

  • Mean: 5.9 per cent

    • Range: -18.0 per cent (paid more) to 24.0 per cent (paid less)
    • On average by number of authorities:
      • Women were paid less than men in 83 per cent (186) (see technical note 3)
      • The pay gap was zero in less than 1 per cent (1) (see technical note 3)
      • Women were paid more than men in 17 per cent (38) (see technical note 3)
    • Technical note 1: ACAS explains that mean averages are useful because they place the same value on every number they use, giving a good overall indication of the gender pay gap, but very large or small pay rates or bonuses can ‘dominate’ and distort the answer. For example, mean averages can be useful where most employees in an organisation receive a bonus but could less useful in an organisation where the vast majority of bonus pay is received by a small number of board members.
  • Median: 4.3 per cent
    • Range: -44.0 per cent (paid more) TO 29.5 per cent (paid less)
    • On average by number of authorities:
      • Women were paid less than men in 65 per cent (147) (see technical note 3)
      • The pay gap was zero in 8 per cent (18) (see technical note 3)
      • Women were paid more than men in 27 per cent (60) (see technical note 3)
    • Technical note 2: Median averages are useful to indicate what the ‘typical’ situation is i.e. in the middle of an organisation and are not distorted by very large or small pay rates or bonuses. However, this means that not all gender pay gap issues will be picked up. For example, a median average might show a better indication of the ‘middle of the road’ pay gap in a sports club with a mean average distorted by very highly paid players and board members, but it could also fail to pick up as effectively where the pay gap issues are most pronounced in the lowest paid or highest paid employees.
    • Technical note 3: 114 authorities (34 per cent) had not provided gender pay gap data for 2019/20 when data collection was ceased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These percentages are based on the 225 authorities which had provided data.

LGA workforce survey

Pay and rewards systems
England, 2017/18

  •  Automatic annual increments (or simple annual incremental progression) is used by: 75 per cent of councils for the majority of their staff

Recruit & retention
England, 2017/18

  • Recruitment and retention difficulties were experience by: 78 per cent of councils
  • In single and upper tier councils this was higher at: 85 per cent of councils

Labour turnover
England, 2017/18

  • 2009/10

    • Median vacancy rate: 8.0 per cent
    • Median labour turnover rate: 10.0 per cent
  • 2015/16
    • Median vacancy rate: 5.4 per cent
    • Median labour turnover rate: 13.2 per cent
  • 2016/17
    • Median vacancy rate: 8.8 per cent
    • Median labour turnover rate: 13.4 per cent
  • 2017/18
    • Median vacancy rate: 8.0 per cent
    • Median labour turnover rate: 13.4 per cent
  • Note: labour turnover is calculated in the workforce survey as the total number of leavers expressed as a percentage of the average headcount of employees over the financial year.

Sickness absence
England, 2017/18

  • Average percentage of days lost due to sickness:

    • 2015/16: 4.9 per cent (8.8 days per FTE)
    • 2016/17: 4.3 per cent (8.7 days per FTE
    • 2017/18: 3.6 per cent (8.8 days per FTE)
  • In 2016/17 ‘stress, depression, anxiety, mental health and fatigue' was cited as cause of absence in 26.8 per cent of cases

LGA chief execs/chief officers survey

Senior officer ethnicity
LGA Chief Execs/Chief Officers Survey

Chief officer is any officer whose contract relates to the Joint National Council handbook for Chief Officers. The officers falling into this group will vary locally although there are some statutory Chief Officer posts.

England
2018

  • Asian senior officers: 2.5 per cent
  • Black senior officers: 2.3 per cent
  • Mixed ethnicity senior officers: 1.0 per cent
  • Undeclared ethnicity senior officers: 11.8 per cent
  • White senior officers: 82.4 per cent

Senior officer age profile
LGA Chief Execs/Chief Officers Survey
England
2018

  • Mean: 50.6
  • Median: 51.6

Senior officer gender
LGA Chief Execs/Chief Officers Survey
England
2018

  • Female: 46.8 per cent
  • Male: 52.7 per cent
  • Prefer not to say: 0.2 per cent

MHCLG local government finance release

Senior officer ethnicity
LGA Chief Execs/Chief Officers Survey

Chief officer is any officer whose contract relates to the Joint National Council handbook for Chief Officers. The officers falling into this group will vary locally although there are some statutory Chief Officer posts.

England
2018

  • Asian senior officers: 2.5 per cent
  • Black senior officers: 2.3 per cent
  • Mixed ethnicity senior officers: 1.0 per cent
  • Undeclared ethnicity senior officers: 11.8 per cent
  • White senior officers: 82.4 per cent

Senior officer age profile
LGA Chief Execs/Chief Officers Survey
England
2018

  • Mean: 50.6
  • Median: 51.6

Senior officer gender
LGA Chief Execs/Chief Officers Survey
England
2018

  • Female: 46.8 per cent
  • Male: 52.7 per cent
  • Prefer not to say: 0.2 per cent

DfE schools workforce census

Teacher numbers
DfE Schools Workforce Census
England
2019

  • Headcount 500.8 thousand
  • Full time equivalent: 453.8 thousand

Average pay rates
DfE Schools Workforce Census
England
2019

•    2019 mean salary of all teachers in state funded schools FTE: £40,537
•    2018 mean salary of all teachers in state funded schools FTE: £39,500
•    2019 mean salary of all full and part time classroom teachers FTE: £37,192

Working pattern breakdown
DfE Schools Workforce Census
England
2019

  • Part-time head count:

    • Male staff: 10.7 thousand
    • Female staff: 110.3 thousand
  • Full-time head count:
    • Male staff: 110.7 thousand
    • Female staff: 269.0 thousand

Firefighters’ workforce survey

Firefighter headcount
Firefighters’ Workforce Survey
England
2018

The NJC survey collects PT figures across 2 categories: Firstly PT in the normal sense and secondly in respect of retained firefighters (who are PT and not casual employees). Full-Time Equivalent (FTE): The NJC survey gathers info on every Grey Book employee’s earnings, so FTE figures not needed).

  • Headcount: 34,902
  • Full-time: 23,169
  • Retained: 11,360
  • Part-time: 373

Firefighter gender
Firefighters’ Workforce Survey
England
2018

  • Female: 7 per cent (2,567)
  • Male: 93 per cent (32,322)

Firefighters – total pay bill
Firefighters’ Workforce Survey (see note 1)
England
2020/21

Does not include employer costs eg national insurance and pensions.

  • Full-time: £875,326,429
  • Plus retained: £85,263,878
  • Equals total pay bill £960,590,307

Note 1: Note: These pay bill estimates are based on the figures from the existing National Joint Council Survey, which have been increased by 2 per cent in reflection of the recent pay award.

Firefighter mean pay
Firefighters’ Workforce Survey
England
2018

•    Full-time staff: £36,121
•    Retained staff: £7,667
•    Workforce average: £26,983

Home office mid-year update

Police numbers
Home Office Mid-Year Update
England
2020

This publication provides full-time equivalent (FTE) figures but not headcounts. The total headcount figure is an estimate based on the 2018 figure from the LGA Police Staff Survey (see below); this figure has been increased by the percentage growth in the FTE figures between 2018 and 2020.

  • Employees: 91,267
  • FTE: 83,687

Police demographics
LGA Police Staff Survey
England
2018

  • Full time: 76 per cent
  • Female: 61 per cent
  • White: 94 per cent
  • Average age: 45

Police pay bill
LGA Police Staff Survey 
England
2018

Does not include employer costs eg national insurance and pensions.

  • Total basic pay bill: £1,625 M
  • Additional pay: £213 M. (13 per cent)
  • Total gross pay bill: £1,838 M.

Skills for care social care survey (pre-COVID-19)

Adult social care jobs
Skills for Care Social Care Survey (pre-COVID-19)
England
2019/20

  • Independent sector jobs: 11 per cent increase (130,000) since 2012/13
  • local authority jobs: 25 per cent decrease (-37,000) since 2012/13

Registered nurses
Skills for Care Social Care Survey (pre-COVID-19)
England
2019/20

  • Registered nurses: -30 per cent decrease (-15,500) since 2012/13

Jobs vs. people 
Skills for Care Social Care Survey (pre-COVID-19)
England
2019/20

  • FTE jobs: 1.16 million (estimated)
  • Employees: 1.52 million (estimated)
  • Job count: 1.65 million (estimated 2019),  up 1.0 per cent (17,000) since 2018
  •  Average vacancy rate: 8.3 per cent (Pre-COVID-19; 6.6 per cent at March-June 2020)

Job sector
Skills for Care Social Care Survey (pre-COVID-19)
England
2019/20

Jobs for care homes with nursing

  • 2009: 235,000
  • 2016: 290,000 (increase of 23 per cent, 55,000)
  • 2017: 285,000
  • 2018: 295,000
  • 2019/20: 285,000

Social work scale
Skills for Care Social Care Survey (pre-COVID-19)
England
2019/20

  • Organisations involved in providing/organising adult social care: 18,200
  • Establishments involved in providing/organising adult social care: 38,000

Direct payments
Skills for Care Social Care Survey (pre-COVID-19)
England
2019/20

  • 230,000 recipients of direct payment (adults/older people/carers)
  • 30 per cent (approximately 70,000) employ their own staff

Forecasts and trends
Skills for Care Social Care Survey (pre-COVID-19)
England
2019/20

  • 2010 to 2013: 45,000 year on year average increase in jobs
  • 2014 to 2019/20: 16,000 year on year average increase in jobs
  • 2009 to 2019/20: 290,000 extra jobs (26 per cent) to 1.65 million
  • 2019/20 to 2035: projected 520,000 extra jobs (32 per cent) to 2.17 million

Further information

For more information on this data pack, email workforce@local.gov.uk.