Half of civil service roles now advertised externally

Written by Tamsin Rutter on 14 September 2017 in News
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Government has also boosted external recruitment into the civil service, with 38% jobs going to outside candidates

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More than half of civil service roles were advertised externally for the first time last year, as Whitehall makes progress on the commitment made in the Civil Service Workforce Plan to make all recruitment external-by-default by 2020.

Cabinet Office minister Caroline Nokes has confirmed that 53.7% of civil service roles were advertised externally in 2016, up from 46.4% in 2015 and just 25.9% in 2011, the first year for which figures are available.

Responding to a series of parliamentary questions asked by Jon Trickett, Labour’s shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, Nokes also wrote that 37.7% of appointments to the civil service were made to external candidates in 2016.

This is up from 32.8% in 2015, and 32.1% in 2014. 


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The figures are based on information taken from the civil service jobs website, where 159 government departments and organisations advertise. For 2016 they do not include Fast Stream figures, which are being prepared for future publication.

They also don’t represent all advertised roles for the civil service, as departments are also able to recruit through third party providers.

Nokes also provides the figures on recruitment into the Senior Civil Service, where 24.4% of entrants in 2016-17 were external recruits, up slightly from 23.3% in 2015-16 but down from 38.8% in 2010-11.

Just 263 senior civil servants were appointed in 2010-11, compared with 726 new hires in 2016-17, according to the figures.

All Senior Civil Service roles below permanent secretary level have been advertised externally by default since April 2015, to help close key capability gaps.

A spokesperson from the Civil Service Commission, which regulates recruitment to the civil servant, told Civil Service World: "Our role is to make sure that the very best candidates - whatever their career background - are appointed on merit to the civil service after a fair and open process.

"The numbers fluctuate year on year however, the government has recently revised its policy and is externally advertising an increasing number of posts. 

"The Commission's priority is to help the civil service recruit the best people with the skills it needs for 21st century, including the challenge of Brexit and beyond. In recent years this has meant an increase in the number of digital and commercial specialists appointed.  Of course, some of these will now count as 'internal' candidates as they move within and progress through the civil service."

About the author

Tamsin Rutter is senior reporter for Civil Service World and tweets as @TamsinRutter

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Lyndsey Coleman (not verified)

Submitted on 16 September, 2017 - 20:04
The civil service needs to adjust focus, as at present this is too much on the competency. This is of course important, though the person is too. Particularly so when recruiting for a leadership or management role.

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