Latest Public Sector News


Public sector leadership less ethnically diverse than private

There is significantly less ethnic diversity in public sector leadership roles across the UK than with senior roles in FTSE 100 companies, a new study has revealed. 

The Green Park Public Service Leadership 5,000 survey, commissioned by executive recruitment consultancy Green Park, breaks down public service leadership by gender, ethnicity and cultural background, and analyses the top two layers of leadership. 

A key finding of the report was that there are virtually no employees of black or Chinese/other Asian origin in the top four grades within the civil service. And, more generally, ethnic minorities are under-represented in the senior civil service roles, relative to the population at large, by a factor of six to one. 

The report found that the Department for International Development and the Treasury perform best on ethnic diversity in leadership roles, while the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Department for Communities and Local Government are amongst the worst. 

Former chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips, who is chair of Green Park Diversity Analytics, said: “The organisations included in the Green Park Public Sector 5,000 all exist to serve the public and are supported in some way by the taxpayer.  Because of this they carry a responsibility to engage the widest possible range of individuals as possible, above all in their leadership and governance. 

“While our research does find some encouraging trends, such as the presence of women at senior roles in non-urban local authorities, other areas are much more disappointing. Bizarrely, London, the most diverse area of the country with a 40% non-White population, shows a less diverse local authority leadership than the FTSE.” 

Although gender diversity is better generally in the public sector than the private sector, women still appear unlikely to break through the glass ceiling to the top public jobs as they are to the top FTSE 100 roles. For example, women leaders are least likely to be found in the most powerful functions – Chief Officer and Corporate Resources & Finance – and more likely in areas such as children’s services. 

Additionally, of the 268 people in leadership roles in the most prominent public bodies outside government and local authorities – such as the Bank of England, NHS England and the BBC, just six were not white. 

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We need the best and brightest civil servants, regardless of their background. The Civil Service compares favourably to many organisations in terms of the diversity of its workforce – but we must do better.” 

The Green Park Public Service Leadership 5,000 survey examined the background of 3,465 individuals in total: 525 individuals in the charities sector, 1,096 individuals in UK central government, 1,578 individuals in local government and 268 individuals in other public bodies. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email 


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

What came first, the bad customer or the bad customer service?

17/03/2020What came first, the bad customer or the bad customer service?

Source: PSE Feb/March 20 Stephen Bahooshy, Senior Commissioning Manager and Nicky Selwyn, Carer and Service User Group Chair, Croydon Council.   Here it is... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >