Analysis shows civil service pay well below rest of public sector

15 Feb 2019

Shocking conclusions of analysis commissioned by PCS shows average civil service pay has fallen in value since 2010 by between 9% and 11%, by comparison with the average pay in the rest of the public sector.

Since 2010, during the period of the public sector pay freeze and 1% pay cap, increases in average pay in local government, health and education have been consistently higher than the civil service.

The analysis, by Dr Mark Williams of the University of Surrey, shows that average annual growth in median pay in the civil service was between 1.1% to 1.9% below inflation since 2010, depending on whether the CPI or RPI inflation measure is used. And while median pay has been declining in the rest of the public sector in real terms too, the erosion in pay has been proportionately much larger in the civil service. By 2018, cumulative real pay growth had fallen between 8.6 and 11.4 percentage points behind the rest of the public sector since 2010.

The dramatic fall in the value of pay in the civil service is shown by the fact that by 2018, median pay in the civil service was between 8.9% and 14.5% lower than it was in 2010 in real terms. This translates to a cumulative loss in pay of between £13,200 and £16,200 since 2010 for the median earner over this period, depending on whether the CPI or RPI is used.


Last year, while unions and employers in health and local government were negotiating above-inflation increases, civil service permanent secretaries met in secret and betrayed their staff, by agreeing that funding for pay increases should be limited to 1-1.5%.

Already this year, civil service chief executive, John Manzoni, has told PCS, that there is only 1% available to fund pay increases in the civil service.

This pay betrayal must stop. The government is in disarray over Brexit, and needs civil servants more than ever before.

If you’re a PCS member, we want you to email civil service chief executive, John Manzoni, to tell him that you’ve been betrayed on pay.


PCS has launched a ballot for strike action over this pay betrayal, which will open on 18 March and run to 29 April. Please get involved in the campaign.

We want members to fill in our online form to volunteer and commit to doing one, several or all of the following:

  • Talking to other members about the campaign
  • Recruiting new members
  • Handing out leaflets at work
  • Taking part in an organised phone bank to help get the vote out
  • Attending a pay event.

Share PCS:

Visit PCS social sites: