Number of civil servants in digital roles tops 20,000

Annual stats release shows that more than one in 25 officials is now employed in the DDaT profession, making it bigger than any profession other than policy

Credit: Howard Lake/CC BY-SA 2.0

The number of civil servants employed in the digital, data and technology profession now tops 20,000, making it bigger than any other specialist area other than policymaking.

Annual statistics on the civil service workforce released last week revealed that, as of 31 March, there were 20,010 people employed in DDaT roles across all departments and agencies. This tally equates to 19,500 full-time equivalent staff.

The overall digital workforce has seen a significant hike on the figure of 13,290 recorded at the end of the 2020/21 year – although that number was calculated from only 75.1% of civil servants for whom profession data was recorded, compared with 93.7% in the most recent data set.

According to the new release, more than half (53.4%) of government’s 510,080-strong workforce works in operational delivery roles.

Among all other professions, DDaT – which accounts for 4.2% of the civil service – is now outranked in size only by policy on 6.9%.  The digital profession has risen from 3.6% in the past 12 months, overtaking three other specialisms in the process: science and engineering; project delivery; and tax.

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The FY22 figures reveal that the biggest employers of digital, data and tech specialists include the Department for Work and Pensions and its arm’s-length agencies, which has 4,000 on payroll, the Ministry of Defence on 2,580, HM Revenue and Customs with 2,160, and the Home Office on 1,630.

Other departments with more than 1,000 technologists on staff include the Department for Transport on 1,240, the Ministry of Justice with 1,220, and the Department for Education on 1,080.

The median salary of a DDaT civil servant in the DDaT is £38,550, ranking it 16th out of a list of 30 professions – topped by education and training inspectors on £70,500, with operational delivery placed last on £27,130.

The overall number of 510,080 people employed in the civil service equates to a full-time equivalent total of 478,090. The FTE figure in the prior year was 452,830 and, in the year before that, 423,770.

Despite the big rise in the government workforce in 2021/22, 44,220 people left the civil service during the year – a huge rise on the FY21, when there were 27,830 leavers.

There will be thousands more people departing government in the years to come if the new prime minister presses on Boris Johnson’s plans to reduce the size of the civil service by 91,000.


Sam Trendall

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