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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

Our workforce demographics 2018

We have 3,068 employees at NHS Digital (as of 31 March 2018). Find out about the demographics of our workforce.

This data is based on the 3,068 employees at NHS Digital, taken from a snapshot date of 31 March 2018. Findings are generally based on the largest variations between groups and whether 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 employee data
  • NHS Jobs and Job Train – the recruitment websites we have used for our vacancies
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2011 Population Census Comparison
  • 2018 labour force survey (working population)

Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018:

  • 362 new appointments were made
  • 5,939 job applications were received
  • 413 employees took at least one non-mandatory training course
  • 295 employees were promoted
  • 229 employees left the business
  • 85 employee relation cases were in progress (due to very small numbers, this data covers the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018)



Gender composition of the workforce is 43% female, 57% male

The gender composition of the workforce is similar to last year (44% women, 56% men). The working population of the UK is 47% women and 53% men.

Our data shows that:

  • more women than men are employed at Band 4 to 6 - this pattern reverses from Band 7 upwards
  • similar to last year, men make up just over three quarters of Band 9 posts (76%), compared to 24% of women
  • women are more likely to work part-time hours than men (24% of women and 5% of men) and this remains unchanged from last year - this pattern is consistent for women across Bands 4 to 8d, while a lower proportion of women in Band 9 work part-time hours (10%)

We also found that:

  • of all job applicants, 31% were women, 56% were men and 13% of applicants did not disclose this data, or it was unknown - this shows a potential reduction in the number of women applying for jobs when compared to 2016/17 (41% of applications)
  • out of all appointed members of staff, 38% were women and 47% were men, while 15% of appointed candidates chose not to disclose this data or it was unknown - women were therefore more likely to be successful in their job application compared to men
  • similar to last year, women were generally the most likely to be appointed to Band 4 and 5 - overall this pattern reverses from Band 7 to 8d
  • of our leavers, 56% were men and 44% were women, which reflects the current make up of the workforce

In 2017/18, we increased the number of channels that our external vacancies are advertised on.

Find out more gender information.

Gender pay

The mean gender pay gap was 13.8%

The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between average hourly earnings of men and women. It is different from unequal pay which relates to men and women being paid different amounts for the same role.

Our data shows that:

  • women's mean and median pay (hourly rate) is lower than males, with a gender pay gap of 13.8% (median earnings) and 14.6% (mean earnings)
  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that the gender pay gap (median earnings) was 18.4% in 2017 - NHS Digital is currently below this at 13.8%
  • the quartile pay bands demonstrate how the male and female split changes the higher up the organisation employees progress - women (43% of the current workforce) have the highest representation at the lowest quartile A (55.6%) and the lowest representation at the highest quartile D (31.7%)
  • a total of 2.5% of men and 0.5% of women received a bonus during 2017/18 - the median bonus pay gender gap was 5.7%

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

Find out what's included in this information.

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


Largest age groups of employees were 35 to 44 (37%) and 45 to 54 (29%)

The age structure of the workforce is broadly the same as in 2016/17. 

Our data shows that:

  • the largest age group employed by NHS Digital is 35 to 44 years ,which remains unchanged from 2016/17 - the second largest age group is 45 to 54 (30%), 18% of the workforce were aged 25 to 34 and 13% were aged 55 to 64
  • the percentage of employees aged 55 to 64 is 13%, under 25 years is 2%, and 1% of the workforce is aged 65 and over
  • the largest group of job applicants were in the age group 25 to 34 years (25%), compared to 30 to 39 years in 2016/17
  • the largest group appointed are 35 to 44 years (30%), and most of these were recruited to Band 8a posts (41%)
  • the age group 35 to 44 represented the biggest proportion of employees (39%) undertaking non-mandatory training, and the second largest age group is 45 to 54 with 31% - those aged 65 and over were least likely to access training.

Find out more age information.


5% of employees declared a disability

The percentage of staff declaring a disability was the same as last year. We found that 69% of employees declared they did not have a disability, and 26% of disability statuses are either not disclosed or unknown, which is similar to 2016/17 (25%). This compares to 18% of the working population of the UK. 

Of our job applicants, 2% declared a disability (compared to 4.8% in 2016/17), 21% did not have a declared disability and 78% did not disclose whether they had a disability, or the information was unknown at the application stage. 

Work is being undertaken to increase the number of candidates sharing disability status during the application process.

Our data shows that:

  • of the 1,662 shortlisted candidates, 2% had a declared disability, 18% did not have a declared disability, 80% did not disclose or the disability status was unknown
  • 1% of appointed candidates had a declared disability, compared to 4.2% in 2017/18, 14% of appointed candidates did not have a declared disability, 85% of appointed candidates chose to not disclose their disability status, or it was unknown
  • of all internal promotions, 3% declared a disability, 76% did not have a declared disability, 21% did not disclose whether they had a disability, or their status was unknown
  • 4% of Academy job applicants declared a disability, 24% did not have a declared disability, 73% did not disclose whether they had a disability, or it was unknown at the application stage - the percentage of disabled staff remained constant through to shortlisting and appointment stage

We are exploring how we can make our application process more accessible and are improving the support that managers receive to make adjustments to support attendance at interview and assessment.

Find out more disability information.

Sexual orientation

2% of employees described their sexual orientation as LGB

Our data shows 70% of the workforce describe their sexual orientation as heterosexual, 25% of the workforce chose not to disclose their sexual orientation and 3% of sexual orientations are unknown. This is nearly the same workforce profile as 2016/17.

We also found that:

  • 4% of job applicants were from LGB (lesbian, gay or bisexual) candidates and 74% of job applicants were heterosexual with the remaining either not wishing to disclose their information or it was unknown - a similar percentage of job applications in 2016/17 were from LGB candidates (3.3%)
  • 4% of appointed staff were LGB, which is slightly higher than last year (2.8%) and 72% were heterosexual - 24% of candidates chose not to disclose their information, or it was unknown
  • 3% of employees undertaking non-mandatory training describe their sexual orientation as LGB and 74% describe their sexual orientation as heterosexual
  • LGB employees made up 8% of employee relations cases and 61% describe their sexual orientation as heterosexual

NHS Digital support for LGB employees and potential employees has been very visible through our regular presence at the Pride festival, and on a daily basis, with many staff wearing rainbow lanyards.

Find out more sexual orientation data information.

Ethnic origin

12% of the workforce were BAME

BAME - Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic groups.

The BAME working population of England is 15%.

We also found that:

  • 76% of the workforce is White compared to 85% of the population of England
  • 11% of ethnic origins are not stated, which is a slight increase on last year (9%)
  • the ethnic composition of the workforce is broadly the same as in 2016/17 (13% of the workforce were BAME)

Of our job applicants, 21% were from BAME candidates, which shows a drop from last year (38.5%),  and 51% were White.

Job applications are anonymised and shortlisted based on knowledge, skills and experience to eliminate opportunities for unconscious bias. 

We are currently exploring attraction channels that may encourage more applications from BAME candidates.

Our data also shows that:

  • 18% of shortlisted candidates were BAME and 60% of shortlisted candidates were White
  • 9% of appointments were BAME (compared with 12.7% last year), 65% of appointments  were White and 25% of appointments did not state their ethnic origin, or it was unknown

Find out more ethnic origin information.

Religion or belief

Most common religions and beliefs were 34% Christianity, 19% Atheism

This is the same as the 2016/17 workforce profile and is also comparable to the population of England. 

Our data also shows that:

  • 4% of employees declared their religious belief as Islam, 2% Hinduism, 1% Sikhism, 6% declared Other and 30% of employees did not wish to disclose their religious belief (31% in 2016/7) - 3% were unknown
  • 33% of job applicants had a religious belief of Christianity, 19%  of Atheism and 8% had a religious belief of Islam - 13% of job applicants had an undisclosed religious belief
  • of 362 appointed staff, 28% had a religious belief of Christianity, 23% were Atheist and 4% had a religious belief of Islam - this is similar to 2016/17
  • 30% of Academy applicants had a religious belief of Christianity, 25% of applicants had a religious belief of Atheism and 11% had a religious belief of Islam
  • the most common religious belief of employees undertaking non-mandatory training is Christianity (38%) - 26% did not wish to disclose their religious belief and this was the second largest grouping, followed by Atheism at 20%
  • the most common known religious beliefs of employees with an employee relations case are Christianity (27%) and Atheism (21%)
  • the religious belief of leavers was generally in line with the workforce profile - the highest proportion of leavers either had a religious belief of Christianity or chose not to disclose their religious belief, both at 32%

Find out more religion or belief data information.

Marriage and civil partnership

47% of employees were married, 31% were single

Our data shows that:

  • 16% of marital statuses were undefined or unknown, compared to 18% last year
  • 48% of employees undertaking non-mandatory training were married, 5% were divorced and 31% were single
  • 32% of employees with an employee relations case were married, 2% are in civil partnerships and 45% are single
  • 44% of leavers were married and 39% of leavers were single

Recruitment data is not available for reporting purposes this year as a result of a change in recruitment systems, but this will be rectified for the 2018/19 report.

Find out more marriage and civil partnership data information.

Pregnancy and maternity

81 employees were on maternity leave

During 2017/18, 70 employees were on paternity leave, 9 were on parental leave and 2 employees were on shared parental leave.

NHS Digital has a policy in place in relation to maternity leave, which ensures there is a focus on 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. 

Further information

Find out more about our data in our additional footnotes.

Last edited: 4 October 2018 7:38 am