Civil service employment up again despite 2,000 headcount fall at DWP

Latest job stats reveal continuing upward trend in Whitehall employment

Photo: PA

By Richard Johnstone

18 Dec 2019

The number of people employed in the civil service increased by nearly 3,000 in the three months to September despite a reduction in headcount of more than 2,000 people in the Department for Work and Pensions.

The latest public sector employment bulletin from the Office for National Statistics reveals that there were 451,000 people employed in the civil service in the third quarter of 2019, up around 3,000 from the previous quarter and up 15,000 from a year ago.

The total includes full-time and part-time workers, as well as temporary and casual staff. According to the figures, the civil service is made up of 343,820 full-time staff and 102,130 working part time – with women outnumbering men in part-time roles by more than four to one. The number of temporary employees is 5,360, a reduction of 240 from June.


The figures confirm the steady increase in the government headcount since the record low of 416,000 recorded for June, September and December 2016, before the impact of Brexit began to increase the number of civil servants.

A departmental breakdown published by the ONS shows the increase is spread across most departments, with only three departments seeing an increase in numbers – the Department for Exiting the European Union (down 60 across full-time, part-time and temporary staff), the Department for International Development (down 10), and DWP (down 2,160).

The department told CSW that the department had aa usual turnover of between 5,000 and 6,000 people a year. In addition, only limited recruitment took place at DWP during the first half of 2019-20 financial year, covering the latest figures, but greater recruitment is planned over the year.

The biggest increases in the quarter were at the Ministry of Defence (up a net 820 roles across full time, part time and temporary staff), the Ministry of Justice (up 760), the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (both up 460) and the Home Office (up 390).

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