How to Earn Loads of Money in Whitehall – Senior Salaries Analysed

by ukcivilservant

I have annotated the government’s fascinating list of 442 central government public servants paid more than £150k a year. Click here to download the spreadsheet. 

First, I have re-ordered the list so that the highest paid appear at the top of the spreadsheet.

I have then highlighted in BOLD those civil servants who work in Whitehall departments reporting directly to Ministers.  I have thus excluded those (mainly non-civil servants) who work in:

  • semi-commercial organisations such as Network Rail
  • the NHS
  • the Armed Forces
  • Parliamentary Counsel’s Office
  • ‘Next Steps Agencies’, and
  • various regulators.

Within this EMBOLDENED category, I have then highlighted in red those who seem to me to have traditional civil service roles as distinct from having been recruited (probably at a senior level) as commercial, procurement and other specialists.  There are only 26 of these.


Martin Stanley

Editor, the UK Civil Service and Understanding Regulation


  1. The original spreadsheet lists those jobs whose salaries are set by Ministers (or by the Treasury on behalf of Ministers).  It thus excludes much of the public sector, such as local authorities, the police, the BBC etc. Click here if you want to read a definition of the civil service and a description of the various sorts of public body in the UK.
  2. It is interesting that, apart from the Permanent Secretaries, the highest paid central government public servants all have an engineering or commercial background, or are senior lawyers or medics.  And those engineering /commercial specialists who work in Whitehall will all, I suspect, have been direct entrants at a senior level and will not have risen through the ranks.
  3. Click here to see the original spreadsheet, which includes more detail than my version.