Civil Service United Kingdom Reviews in United Kingdom | Glassdoor

Civil Service United Kingdom UK Reviews

Updated December 7, 2017
59 reviews

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United Kingdom

3.3
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Civil Service United Kingdom Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood
Sir Jeremy Heywood
17 Ratings

59 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Salary scales likely to be less than for a similar role in the private sector (in 9 reviews)

  • Lack of autonomy, senior managers can tend towards micro-management (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Director"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Director in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    A brilliant place to work

    Cons

    Bureaucracy can be a bit stifling


  2. "The Civil Service in modern times"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Exposure to high profile decision makers; experience of central government environment.

    Cons

    No job security; pay freezes for many years result in very uncompetitive salaries compared to other industries; crippling level of bureaucracy across the board; very much a white male dominated industry; widespread discrimination against disabled and BAME employees; insufficient infrastructure to support huge numbers of apprentices.

    Advice to Management

    Take some classes in how to manage staff in a positive way; stop discriminating against BAME and disabled employees; treat apprentices in a fair manner.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Variable experience, limited career prospects if your face doesn't "fit" and you lack patronage"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Generally good working conditions with flexi and family friendly policies - although this is variable across departments and even across business units.

    Working alongside intelligent, dedicated colleagues in considering issues and topics which can have a profound impact on people's lives.

    Cons

    Variation between departments (and even business units within the same department) in how corporate policies are implemented. For example, some places where I worked explicitly had no flexi policy as the Deputy Director did not permit it and these were in non-frontline/operational roles in Whitehall, resulting in low staff morale.

    Variable quality of managers, ranging from excellent to appalling, including at senior levels of leadership - and limited means for more junior staff to challenge this (there is the annual staff survey, but this can be of limited effectiveness if the person implementing the changes is the manager in question). Constant churn in senior leadership and restructures of teams.

    The pay freeze means that promotion is often the only way to get a pay rise - staff are not rewarded for wanting to stay in a post for a longer period of time resulting in a high turnover of staff and confusion to stakeholders.

    The stacked ranking system used for appraisals in many Whitehall departments, where there are "quotas" for each box marking, is extremely demoralising to staff while not increasing productivity. Why bring in a system that has been abandoned by many private sector companies and criticised by numerous Business publications and academics?

    As much as the Civil Service has tried to make progress with diversifying its workforce, problems still remain deep rooted regarding the recruitment, appraisal and promotion opportunities available to BME employees, who more often than not are stuck in the more junior grades with very limited opportunity to progress up the ranks unless they are lucky enough to be mentored by someone at a more senior level who takes an interest in their career progression. In my opinion it is this that is key to real progression - ability, qualifications and experience is often not enough.

    Unfortunately the stereotype of Senior Civil Servant who is a white, often Oxbridge educated male still rings very true and some departments in particular are very bad for recruiting to this type for middle management/senior roles - not just the more "traditional" ones such as Ministry of Defence, but outside of Whitehall too in the devolved administrations such as the Scottish Government. Good luck if you're a woman from an ethnic minority...

    Advice to Management

    You know many of the issues already through the annual staff survey and through commissioning reports on specific issues such as diversity within the Civil Service. Unfortunately implementing meaningful change within the Civil Service is like trying to turn a cruise liner around. There must be quicker, more agile ways of fixing these problems with full backing from the leadership (both at official and Ministerial level) and some changes have been implemented in this way already - shame there isn't more consistency with this approach across the organisation.


  4. "Excellent career op"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Ops Coordinator in Swindon, Wiltshire, South West England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Ops Coordinator in Swindon, Wiltshire, South West England, England (UK)
    Recommends

    I have been working at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Varied roles, good pay, pension, lots of scope to promote

    Cons

    Can't promote within role, have to move jobs

    Advice to Management

    Should be easier to promote within role


  5. "Home Office"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Civil Service/Home Office in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Civil Service/Home Office in London, England (UK)
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Team work, training, multi- agency tasking,

    Cons

    non- team work, lack of relevant training, lack of diversity in top management posts.

    Advice to Management

    people management skills training


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Deputy Director"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Deputy Director in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Deputy Director in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Fantastic opportunities to work on a very broad range of challenging issues across the whole of Government. Lots of learning and development opportunities. I had a fantastic and varied 28 year career in the Civil Service.

    Cons

    The internal politics can be challenging. If your face fits and you're prepared to play the game you're fine, if not you have to work so much harder to get on. My experience was that some Civil Service leaders lack personal and professional integrity.


  7. "Civil Service"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Programmer Manager in Manchester, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Programmer Manager in Manchester, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Decent salary and holidays, options to progress and work abroad.

    Cons

    Red tape galore, constant shift in polices and targets, lack of resources, top down culture

    Advice to Management

    Give staff the freedom to make 'mistakes' and take more risks

  8. "Supervisor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Individual were given autonomy to be creative and choose how they wanted to perform tasks. Work life balance was excellent it allowed individual to balance home and family life .

    Cons

    Breach of psychological contract
    Long hours
    hierarchical structure, needs to flatten, too many managers

    Advice to Management

    Improve staff development


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Fast Streamer Civil Service"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Fast Streamer in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Fast Streamer in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Varied Experience, Lots of Responsibility, Flexi Time is available, relocation allowances available.

    Cons

    Managers aren't always very good, Civil Service Resourcing is Awful, You're paid less than other staff because your on a grad scheme. You can be moved across the country with 8 weeks notice.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting work; low salary"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Civil Service United Kingdom full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    There's a broad range of interesting work.
    It's motivating to feel that you're making a difference to your country.
    You can maintain a good work-life balance, and there's a family-friendly ethos.

    Cons

    The salary is very low compared with similar roles in the private sector (even taking into account wider benefits).
    It's very bureaucratic, and trying to get anything done can feel like wading through treacle.


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