How well paid is your profession? Civil service salary rankings revealed

Cabinet Office data shows planning inspectors and lawyers drop down league table for median earnings
Education inspectors now have the highest median pay among civil service professions. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/PA Images

By Jim Dunton

01 Sep 2020

Education and training inspectors have leapfrogged planning inspectors, lawyers and economists to claim the highest median salary in the civil service, according to the Cabinet Office's latest workforce statistics. 

Annual figures for 2019-2020 show the middle-earnings figure for education and training inspectors was £69,120, almost £20,000 more than the previous year’s figure of £49,460. The hike puts the specialists well above the £57,940 median salary paid to planning inspectors, the £48,300 earned by government economists and the £47,990 median for legal specialists.

According to the data, the economics and legal professions both saw median salaries drop over the 12-month period to 31 March this year, to £50,000 and £53,580 respectively. (See the table below for full 2020 median pay data.)

At the opposite end of the scale, staff responsible for the operational delivery of frontline services – who account for just over half of civil servants with a known profession – had the lowest median salary: £25,120. The figure is an increase of £640 on the operational delivery median for 2019.

The data said the 2020 median salary for the whole civil service was £28,180, a 4.1% increase worth £1,100.

The data breaks down pay by grade, and shows median pay for members of the senior civil service fell slightly, from 81,520 last year to £81,440. The dip is likely explained by an 8% increase in headcount among Whitehall’s top flight, who would have joined at the lower end of the pay scale for senior leaders, dragging down the median.

Staff at Grade 6 and 7 saw their median pay increase from £55,020 last year to £56,020 this year.

For the civil service’s lowest ranks – administrative assistants and administrative officers – the median increased from £20,230 to £20,500.

Civil service median salaries by profession, March 2020 

Inspector of Education & Training £69,120
Planning Inspectors £57,940
Economics £48,300
Legal £47,990
Veterinarian £44,350
Internal Audit £41,180
Policy £41,000
Operational Research £40,960
Planning £40,940
Medicine £40,090
International Trade £39,660
Statistics £38,970
Corporate Finance £38,550
Social Research £37,520
Project Delivery £37,500
Digital, Data & Technology £37,060
Communications £36,590
Commercial £36,500
Science & Engineering £36,040
Counter Fraud £35,010
Finance £34,230
Human Resources £32,720
Knowledge & Information Management £32,430
Property £32.430
Tax £30,880
Intelligence Analysis £30,060
Psychology £29,170
Security £25,970
Operational Delivery £25,120

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