There is one thing I love about the UK civil service; it is the numbers. They count everything from banana prices in Birmingham to mortgage approvals. Without the bean counters, this blog simply could not exist.
Today, the ONS produced another great set of numbers - the civil service headcount. As of September 30th 2007, there were 488,930 on the payroll. In a population of almost 60 million, the number doesn't sound too excessive. However, that number does not include the huge army of social workers, teachers and nurses who count as public sector employees rather than civil servants.
Apart from the total headcount, there were other fascinating statistics. For example, did you know that the civil service has more managers than managed? Here are the numbers:
This must be a case of title inflation. Just like in Goldman Sachs, where every second employee is a vice president, half the civil service is "managing" the other half. The civil service is definitely the place for me, but do you think they will have me?
The ONS also breaks the employment numbers down according to profession. Almost 251 thousand civil servants are described as "operational delivery". You know what; I have always wanted to be an operational delivery manager, who supervises at least one operational delivery operative.
There was one really shocking number. The ONS described the profession of 132 thousand civil servants as "non-response". Presumably, this is a euphemism for not knowing what these civil servants actually do. Alternatively, half this number could be employed as non-response managers, who supervises the other half, who work as non-response operatives.