Workforce and earnings surveys and data infographic

We recommend that our latest survey reports are used to inform local discussions on vital organisational and workforce issues. Also, as a quick statistical guide for local use we have prepared a handy infographic document.


For the first time since 2015, the LGA has conducted a major survey of the earnings and demographic characteristics of the local government workforce – vital information for effective recruitment and retention as well as for promoting diversity.

At a national level, the 2017-18 workforce survey (published 2019) was used to develop our 2019 Workforce Focus which sets out the results of the LGA’s consultation on priorities for workforce improvement across local government and shares standing ideas and recommendations on priorities for workforce development. We will conduct a new workforce survey when possible.

As well as our annual survey reports we have also now developed a document presenting key workforce statistics in infographic form which will be updated whenever new data are available.

Councils continue to carry out major change programmes which affect the workforce and it is important to assess local priorities and actions by using benchmark data. Some headlines foom the latest workforce survey report include:

  • The median gross training expenditure per full time equivalent employee was £143 and three fifths (60 per cent) of respondent councils planned to maintain current levels of spending during 2018/19.
  • The median gross training expenditure on member development per councillor was £76 and just over half (52 per cent) planned to maintain current levels of spending during 2018/19.
  • On average 0.97 days were spent on off-the-job training per employee.
  • There was a median average labour turnover rate of 13.4 per cent and a median average vacancy rate of 8.0 per cent.
  • One in ten respondent councils (10 per cent) had a recruitment freeze in place at some point during 2017/18.
  • Nearly four in five councils (78 per cent) noted that their council was currently experiencing recruitment and retention difficulties.
  • Per council there was a median of nine non-UK or Republic of Ireland EU nationals directly employed and around half had not noticed a reduction in the number of EU/EEA nationals applying for posts (46 per cent), or noticed an increase in number of EU/EEA nationals leaving the organisation (54 per cent).
  • On average, 3.6 per cent of days were lost due to sickness and 8.8 days per FTE employee.
  • The most frequently reported cause of sickness absence was “stress, depression, anxiety, mental health and fatigue” (26.8 per cent of days lost).
  • On average 49.3 per cent of the top five per cent of earners were women, 3.1 per cent were Black, Asian or from other Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups and 3.3 per cent identified as having a disability.
  • Three quarters of respondent councils (75 per cent) use “time served (i.e. annual incremental progression)” as the system of individual pay progression for the majority of staff.

As always, we have to caution that the samples each year do not necessarily match, so trends can be difficult to interpret and statistically significant changes have a higher threshold.