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Making data-driven Civil Service career decisions

We’ve talked previously about how you should try to keep track of the Civil Service job market. By building a picture of the landscape of jobs you can get a better idea of what is out there, and what skills those jobs require.


Similarly - making use of hard data on the jobs landscape could be invaluable. We’ve recently been looking at data from Civil Service jobs. Our goal was to figure out what career questions we could use it to answer. Here is some of what we found.


This data is all from April 2020 to March 2022. Given the expected cuts to Civil Service roles, we expect future patterns of hiring to be different (but it’s not clear how at the moment).


A lot of Civil Service jobs are only advertised internally. Especially policy jobs and Grade 6 jobs.

We think everyone should consider spending time outside government, even if you intend to be in the Civil Service long-term. Non-government roles will help you build different strengths and gain valuable perspective. If you are considering leaving the government and then returning, be aware that, depending on your grade ambitions, and role, there may be fewer jobs advertised to you.


Proportion of adverts only advertised to existing civil servants by grade and role type.



Departments vary a lot in whether policy jobs are advertised internally. It might be near-impossible to get into foreign policy jobs from outside the government.

The above pattern varies a lot by department. Some departments do a lot of external hiring and others not so much.


For example - maybe you want to work on international policy and are considering working for an NGO before coming back to government. Be aware that it’s going to be very hard to find an FCDO job from outside the government. You will likely need to find a job in another department first. More senior Treasury jobs are also going to be difficult to get into from outside government.


Proportion of policy role adverts that were only advertised to existing civil servants by grade and department.



If you want to apply for more senior jobs, work on leadership and seeing the big picture

More senior roles are much more likely to ask for leadership and seeing the big picture behaviours. This isn't very surprising, but it might imply that the more stretching junior roles are those that mention these more SCS-associated behaviours. The leadership behaviour is the clearest example here, with 94% of policy/analysis SCS roles asking for it.


Proportion of roles at each grade that ask for each behaviour (policy and analytical roles only)




You should explore this data too

So that we can extract more insights from this data, we have added the jobs data to Kaggle.

If you don’t have the ability to analyse this data we recommend talking to analysts in your unit about making use of this data.


All data was taken from the Civil Service jobs website, where it is published under an Open government licence. This practically means there are few restrictions on how this data can be used, other than attributing it to the data source (the Civil Service Jobs website).


If you want to talk to us about this analysis then get in contact - contact@impactfulgovcareers.org. Or if you want to discuss what implications this might have for your career - then sign up for free coaching with us!