Civil Service "more diverse than ever before", according to new report

The Civil Service is more diverse than ever before, according to a new report.

The report into the socio-economic backgrounds of civil servants shows the proportion of women in the Senior Civil Service has more than doubled since 1996. More than 27% of the top management posts in the Civil Service are now held by women, compared with 12% of directorships in FTSE 100 companies.

The percentage of ethnic minority civil servants has also increased by almost 50% between 1997 and 2008.

The new figures also show that in the highest echelons of the organisation the majority of staff attended a state school - a higher number than in many other professions.

Alongside the publication of today's research, the Cabinet secretary has announced that, as recommended by the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions in Unleashing Aspiration, a survey will be conducted on the socio-economic background of all entrants to both the Senior Civil Service and the Civil Service Fast Stream.

Speaking about the results of this first survey into the socio-economic background of the top 200 civil servants, the Cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, said: "The Senior Civil Service is now more diverse and representative of our society than it has ever been - with nearly three quarters of our Top 200 educated in state schools. When you look at these figures, along with existing research, you see that our top leaders not only come from a more representative set of schools than those in many other professions, but they are more diverse in terms of gender, especially compared to those at the top of the private sector.

"We are committed to attracting the best talent from the widest possible pool of candidates. We will continue to bring in - and bring on - talented people from all parts of society. But there is still more to be done and an increasingly diverse workforce is essential if we're to meet the challenges of the future and that is why I have made it a priority for the Civil Service."