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Diversity in the Government Analytical Service


In September 2017, the GSS launched the Cross-Government Analytical Function Survey, to coincide with National Inclusion Week.

The survey was endorsed by John Pullinger, the National Statistician, who said:

The GSS is committed to making sure that all our people are able to meet their potential. This includes ensuring we provide the right support for those who need it. But wider than this, we must acknowledge and celebrate that everyone is unique, and that all of us have something to bring to the table. I encourage all members of the government analytical community to complete the Cross Government Analytical Function Diversity Survey. The survey will provide critical data to inform future diversity strategies and initiatives.”


What makes this survey different?

This is the first time that a survey has been designed to capture diversity information across all of the analytical professions that make up the Analysis Function, including:

  • Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT)
  • Government Actuary’s Department (GAD)
  • Government Economic Service (GES)
  • Government Operational Research Service (GORS)
  • Government Science & Engineering (GSE)
  • Government Statistician Group (GSG)
  • Government Social Research (GSR)

Additionally, this survey for the first time collects data on respondents’ socioeconomic background to assess social mobility, which is increasingly being recognised as a vital component of diversity and inclusion initiatives.

The survey will enable us to compare important demographic and diversity data across the professional groups and to identify diversity gaps both across the analytical function and within individual professions. This information will be used to inform talent and diversity plans for the analytical function across government.

Who responded to the survey?

The survey achieved an impressive response rate, with over 2,000 responses across the analytical professions


  • This included responses across:
  • 7 analytical professions
  • 30 government departments
  • 11 UK regions
  • 19 substantive grades



What have we learned so far?

The results presented here are from the analysts who responded to the survey. As such they may not represent the views of the whole population and should not be taken as official statistics or estimates. What they do give us is an insight into the diversity profile of not just the statistics profession but the wider Analysis Function across government, and for the first time allow us some information about social mobility and background across the analytical community.

Our headline analysis to date has shown that for gender:

  • The overall female representation across the surveyed professions in the Civil Service is fairly balanced at 49% of all respondents. When broken down by grade, the proportion of women falls to 47% for those at Grade 6 and 7 and 41% at Senior Civil Servant (SCS) level.
  • For the Government Social Research (GSR) and Government Statistical Group (GSG) professions, there are a higher proportion of females than males for all staff combined (72% for GSR and 58% for GSG), but also when broken down by grade for Grade 6 and 7 and SCS.

When looking at Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity (BAME) representation:

  • Only 2% of SCS that responded to the survey identified as being BAME. BAME individuals made up 8% of SCS respondents within the Government Economic Service (GES).
  • The GES also had the highest proportion of BAME representation for all staff combined at 17%. The overall BAME representation for all staff across all the surveyed professions was 12%.

With regards to disabled representation:

  • The overall disabled representation across surveyed professions was 7%. When broken down by grade, the proportion was lower for Grade 6 and 7 at 6% but higher for SCS at 11%.
  • The highest proportion of disabled representation for all staff when broken down by profession was in the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) and Digital, Data and Technology professions (DDAT).

We also conducted, for the first time some additional analysis looking at social mobility across the analytical professions, which found that:

  • Across all the surveyed professions, more than half of respondents went to a state comprehensive school, while 16% went to a private school. 46% of respondents’ highest qualification was a Master’s degree or MBA, and 14% had a PhD.
  • GSG respondents were the least likely of the professions to have a parent or guardian whose highest level of qualification was degree level or higher, with 51% having parent(s) or guardian(s) whose highest level of qualification was below degree level. In the GES, Government Operational Research Service (GORS) and GSR, over half of respondents have parent(s) or guardian(s) whose highest level of qualification is equivalent to degree level or higher.
  • The proportion of SCS who had attended a state comprehensive school, within each profession, was relatively consistent across the GSG, GES and GSR. Around 3% of respondents who attended state comprehensive schools were SCS, compared with around 4% of respondents who attended private schools.

What’s next?

We’re continuing to analyse the data, and will publish more results as we do. Some of the key areas we’ve identified for further analysis are:

  • Ethnicity and religion breakdowns in comparison to UK census data
  • LGBTQ+ issues: sexual orientation, non-binary gender (non-disclosive)
  • Caring responsibilities across grades, gender and age groups
  • Part time working across grades, age groups and professions

Thanks again to everyone who completed the survey. This information will help us plan where to target our efforts to increase diversity, not just in the statistical profession, but across the other analytical professions. We’re hoping to run the survey again later in 2018, and will work on developing our questions and driving up the response rate. If you want to get involved or have any feedback for us please get in touch at