Large decline in Protestant representation in Civil Service

The figures were released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) - Photo byJonathan Porter/Presseye.
The figures were released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) - Photo byJonathan Porter/Presseye.

Protestant representation in the Northern Ireland Civil Service has declined significantly since 2000, with the largest changes coming at the higher management grades.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) today published a report showing a snapshot of the composition of the Civil Service at 1 April 2016, along with trend data, analysis of recruitment and promotion competitions, and analysis of leavers.

The composition of the Civil Service, excluding those whose community background was listed as ‘not determined’, was evenly divided between Catholics and Protestants (49% and 51% respectively).

The male-female ratio was similar, with 49.4% of workers male and 50.6% female.

In terms of long term trends, the report found that since 2000 the Civil Service has seen Catholic representation rise, and Protestant representation fall, by 7.3 percentage points.

The largest changes have occurred in the higher management grades (22.4 percentage points at Grades 6/7 and 19.0 percentage points at Grade 5 and above).

Males continue to outnumber females in the more senior roles, however there have been substantial increases in female representation at these levels, particularly at Grade 5 and above (2000, 11.3%; 2016, 37.3%).

A similar pattern was evident, but less marked, in the case of community background, with the proportion of staff who were Catholic being highest in the most junior grades and lowest in the most senior grades.

The NICS has an older age profile than that of the economically active population. The average age (median) of staff has increased from 39 in 2000 to 45 in 2016.

The proportion of staff from minority ethnic groups was 0.3% and the proportion of staff who had declared a disability was 5.5%.

The embargo on recruitment and promotion within the NICS has significantly reduced the level of external recruitment and promotion.

Analysis of the relatively small number of appointments from recruitment competitions with a 2015 closing date (152) indicates that the profile of successful candidates was broadly in line with what was expected across the equality categories although there were more 25-39 year olds appointed than expected.

Given the small number of promotions (9) from competitions with a 2015 closing date it was not possible to draw conclusions.

The voluntary exit scheme accounted for the majority (58.0%) of the 2,707 individuals who left the NICS in 2015. Leavers tended to fall in to the older age group with the majority aged 50 and above (56.6%).

The report is available on the NISRA website at: