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Our workforce demographics 2017

As of 31 March 2017, we had 2,833 employees at NHS Digital. Find out about the demographics of our workforce.

Our data

This data is based on the 2,833 staff employed by NHS Digital, taken from a snapshot date of 31 March 2017. Findings are generally based on the largest variations between groups and if the sample size was deemed large enough to allow for inclusion. The information is sourced from:

  • the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) warehouse system, which holds our staff data
  • NHS Jobs - a recruitment website we use for our vacancies 
  • our 2017 Employee Engagement Survey

Between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017:

  • 349 new appointments were made
  • 8,680 job applications were received
  • 298 staff left the business

Choose a demographic group:

Gender pay
Sexual orientation
Religion or belief
Marriage and civil partnership
Pregnancy and maternity
Gender reassignment


Gender split

The gender composition of the workforce is similar to last year and may reflect our high number of traditionally male roles, such as IT. The data also showed that:

  • more women than men were employed at bands 4 to 6 - this pattern reverses from band 7 upwards
  • men make up nearly three quarters of band 9 roles (74% to 26%), but more women than men were appointed to band 9 roles in 2016/17
  • 57.9% of 2016/17 appointments were men and 42.1% women - this is similar to the proportion of applications made and in line with the current workforce 
  • more women were appointed at bands 4 to 6 and more than two thirds appointed  to bands 7 to 8d were men
  • there was nearly an equal gender split of those applying for posts in the NHS Digital Academy, which focuses on early careers
  • 24% of women work part time, compared to 5% of men
  • 53% of leavers were men and 47% women, which is similar to the workforce profile  

Find out more gender information.

Gender pay

Median gender pay

Download a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the gender pay gap within NHS Digital since March 2017.

Women's mean and median pay (hourly rate) is lower than males. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that the gender pay gap (median earnings) is 18.1%. NHS Digital is currently below this at 14.1%.

The quartile pay bands demonstrate how the male and female split changes the higher up the organisation employees progress. Women (44% of the current workforce) have the highest representation at quartile A (58%) and the lowest representation at quartile D (31%).

We use the national Agenda for Change job evaluation scheme to evaluate all new posts.

Find out what's included in this information.


Age 9 Oct

The majority of employees are aged between 35 and 54 years. This may reflect the high amount of senior roles and the time required to gain this experience. We also found that:

  • the largest group of job applicants were in the age group 30 to 39 years (35.1%)
  • the largest group appointed were aged 35 to 44 years (34.1%), closely followed by 25 to 34 years (29.9%) - these groups also had the highest level of turnover at 29% (25 to 34 years) and 27% (35 to 44 years)
  • most roles advertised were band 5 and above and required degree level experience
  • 70% of 16 to 25 year olds who responded to the staff survey and declared their age feel that NHS Digital as a whole is managed well, whereas 45% of 46 to 55 year olds disagree with this statement

Find out more age information.



The percentage of employees whose disability status was not disclosed or unknown has fallen from just over 55% to 24%, reflecting NHS Digital's efforts to improve the quality of data held. The report also showed that:

  • 4.8% of job applicants and 4.2% of appointed employees declared a disability - this figure is similar to the overall workforce profile
  • 93.2% of job applicants did not have a declared disability, which reduced to 73.1% at the appointment stage - 1.9% of job applicants chose not to disclose their disability status
  • 8% of total leavers declared a disability - this is above the current workforce profile (5%)
  • scores against each question in the staff survey were generally lower for those with a stated disability

An external review of the Disability Confident scheme has taken place and was re-accredited last year.

Find out more disability information.

Sexual orientation


Our data shows that:

  • 23% of the workforce chose not to disclose their sexual orientation and 3% were unknown - this decreased from nearly 50% last year
  • 3.3% of job applications were from LGB candidates, and 2.8% of appointments were LGB - this is similar to the current workforce
  • 88.2% of job applicants were heterosexual, and this reduced to 72.3% at the appointment stage
  • 2% of leavers identified as LGB, which is in line with the workforce

Find out more sexual orientation information.



BAME - Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic.

Our job applications are anonymised and shortlisted based on knowledge, skills and experience to eliminate opportunities for unconscious bias. Our data showed that:

  • 9% of employees did not state their ethnic origin. This is a reduction from 2015/16, when it was 17%
  • 38.5% of job applications were from BAME candidates, and 12.7% of appointments were BAME
  • 56.7% of applications and 71.5% of appointments were White
  • in general, employees that declared their ethnicity as Asian or Asian British responded more positively than other groups within the staff survey (this is based on low numbers)
  • employees that declared their ethnicity as Asian or Asian British were more positive than other groups in the employee survey in regards to having a voice (this is based on low numbers)
  • 10% of leavers were BAME, which is below the BAME workforce (13%)

Find out more ethnicity information.

Religion or belief

Religion breakdown

The largest religious belief is Christianity at 36% and 20% of staff were Atheist. We also found that:

  • 28% of employees did not wish to disclose their religious belief and 3% of employees had an unknown religious belief, compared to over 50% for these groups last year
  • of 361 appointed staff in 2016/2017, 30.2% had a religious belief of Christianity, 3.9% of Islam and 26.3% were Atheist
  • 28.3% of appointed staff chose not to disclose their religious belief - 3% of appointed staff had an unknown religious belief
  • 40.1% of job applicants had a religious belief of Christianity, 12.4% of Islam and 16.7% were Atheist - 13.3% of job applicants had an undisclosed religious belief
  • 26% of leavers had a religious belief of Christianity and 10% were Atheist
  • 23% of leavers chose not to disclose their religious belief and 33% of leavers had an unknown religious belief

Marriage and civil partnership


Our data for marriage and civil partnerships shows that:

  • 1,304 (46%) of employees were married, 18 (1%) in a civil partnership and 813 (29%) single
  • 7% of employees have chosen not to provide a specific marital status, whilst the marital status of 11% of employees is undefined
  • 44.3% of job applicants were single and 44.1% were married
  • 46.3% of appointed staff were married and 42.7% were single

Our policies seek to ensure that employees are not discriminated against on the grounds of being married or in a civil partnership.

Pregnancy or maternity

Maternity leave

NHS Digital's maternity leave policy ensures a focus on an individual's needs during pregnancy and maternity periods. Other support options include:

  • flexible working
  • special leave
  • parental leave
  • shared parental leave
  • time off for antenatal classes

Gender reassignment

Data on gender reassignment is not currently recorded on ESR. NHS England are currently leading a piece of work to develop consistent national data standards relating to all aspects of the protected characteristics for the NHS, including gender reassignment. Once completed, it will be implemented in ESR and any changed or additional details will be reported by NHS Digital.

Find out more about our data.

Last edited: 21 January 2019 9:14 am