13 high-paying civil service jobs (With duties and salaries)

Updated 18 September 2023

Working for the civil service is a great way to support the government in its day-to-day operations. Many jobs in the organisation are high-paying and can offer you a wide range of professional development and networking opportunities. Learning about the primary duties and how much you can earn in some of them can help you prepare a better career plan for yourself. In this article, we discuss working for the civil service and list 13 high-paying civil service jobs to consider.

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What are civil service jobs?

The civil service is a politically impartial and independent organisation that helps the government develop and implement effective policies for providing services to the general public. As a civil service professional, you can be responsible for running employment services, issuing documents or administering benefits and pensions. There are various roles involved in running the civil service, including professionals such as engineers, managers, medical professionals and lawyers.


  • A guide to civil service jobs

  • Public policy careers (with primary duties)

13 high-paying civil service jobs

There are many high-paying civil service jobs, with the civil service which consists of 25 professions, each led by a head of profession. Each profession represents various roles within government agencies and institutions with their own specific duties and responsibilities. Most of these roles also exist within the private sector, but pursuing them in the civil service allows you to support the government as it maintains its daily operations. Some high-paying jobs in the civil service are:

1. Research statistician

National average salary: £40,094 per year

Primary duties: research statisticians analyse and interpret data from various sources to help their employers and teams make strategic decisions. On a daily basis, they use statistical analysis and data modelling strategies to communicate large data sets in an easy-to-understand way. Statisticians working for the civil service may participate in creating new policies.

Related: How to write a civil service personal statement for jobs

2. Cyber security specialist

National average salary: £46,790 per year

Primary duties: cyber security specialists working in civil services ensure digital safety of the nation. They're responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring processes and systems that protect the public's and each citizen's data and finances. They work alongside other security professionals across the government.

3. Actuary

National average salary: £67,078 per year

Primary duties: actuaries help the government create strategic financial and spending plans, for which they use their strong mathematical and statistical skills. They're essential to the government, as they're responsible for assessing risks of various events, such as climate change, and predicting their financial consequences. Actuaries working for the civil service may also explain financial challenges to the public sector.

Read more: What does an actuary do? (Plus responsibilities and skills)

4. Data scientist

National average salary: £49,477 per year

Primary duties: data scientists are responsible for planning and managing projects using data analytics techniques. They use their knowledge of social science and programming skills to find and analyse patterns in large data sets. Their primary concern is to uncover solutions to challenges by applying contextual understanding and scepticism to data problems.

Related: How to become a secret agent (with skills and definition)

5. Lawyer

National average salary: £50,434 per year

Primary duties: civil service lawyers help the government operate within the rule of law. They provide various legal services to national organisations and public figures, including ministers and other policymakers. In some instances, they may even participate in the creation and implementation of new legislation.

6. Policy manager

National average salary: £42,372 per year

Primary duties: policy managers oversee the process of creating and maintaining strategic plans and policies. They often engage in analytical and research activities or provide consultation to government departments and board members. As a result of their work, they help develop reports, documents, briefings and public surveys.

7. Data architect

National average salary: £69,557 per year

Primary duties: data architects are responsible for designing, creating and maintaining reference libraries and ensuring they comply with industry standard principles. Architects working the civil service jobs often deal with external systems, big data and cloud-based infrastructure. They create safe solutions for centralising large quantities of data that the organisation and the government process.

Related: How to become a data architect (plus career advancement tips)

8. User experience designer

National average salary: £45,772 per year

Primary duties: user experience (UX) designers work across various government organisations, applying their design knowledge to develop and shape products and services, such as online government platforms. They work with other digital professionals, including business analysts and content writers, to develop the way in which government communicates with the public and simplifying the way in which citizens experience it. To perform their tasks, they also use their knowledge of analytics, usability testing and research practices.

Related: How to become a UX designer (with duties and skills)

9. Reliability engineer

National average salary: £50,150 per year

Primary duties: civil service reliability engineers use their knowledge of Azure, cloud services and programming to develop reliable products and systems for developers and other government professionals. They're responsible for writing code and ensuring full safety and reliability of digital infrastructure, for example, cloud computing systems. They concentrate on prototyping, reusing existing open-source components and engaging in observability-driven development.

10. Patent attorney

National average salary: £67,118 per year

Primary duties: patent attorneys advise clients and help them apply for patents for their inventions, designs and processes. They have extensive knowledge of court procedures and regulations, which they use to create detailed descriptions of designs or answer patent examiners' questions. They meet with inventors and stakeholders, conduct research on existing patents, attend client meetings and mentor junior attorneys in their department. Patent attorneys working in the civil service may help government maintain the existing or create new patent standards.

11. Physician

National average salary: £59,133 per year

Primary duties: physicians assess patients, diagnose illnesses and develop treatment plans. They order diagnostic tests and procedures, review test results with patients, update their medical charts and provide clear instructions to nursing staff. Physicians work alongside other health care professionals to address any concerns that patients might have and provide them with the resources for pursuing and maintaining optimal health.

Related: How to write a physician CV (with template and example)

12. Emergency medicine physician

National average salary: £56,658 per year

Primary duties: emergency medicine physicians work exclusively in the emergency department, assessing and treating patients with injuries or sudden illnesses and providing other types of urgent care to them. The primary focus of emergency physicians is to stabilise their patients and determine what to do next to help them. These health care professionals are generalists that use knowledge of various areas of medicine, including neurology, cardiology or gynaecology.

13. Pharmaceutical sciences manager

National average salary: £47,704 per year

Primary duties: Pharmaceutical sciences managers working in the civil service help government agencies and institutions drive drug discovery and testing. They conduct research and execute experiments aiming to help organisations introduce new medicine to the market. Most pharmaceutical scientists split their time between working in a laboratory and in an office setting.

Ways to pursue a career in the civil service

If you want to work for the civil service, you have the opportunity to make a difference in citizens' lives. The organisation can offer you interesting professional development opportunities and attractive employee benefits, including flexible working hours. There are several ways to consider if you want to work in the civil service, including:

  • Career change: a common way to pursue this career is to move directly to a civil service job by searching for a relevant open role online. You can consider this route if you already have at least some experience in one of the officially recognised professions.

  • Complete an apprenticeship: it's also possible to secure a civil service job when you complete a two-year civil service Fast Track apprenticeship. This programme allows you to train on the job while earning a regular salary.

  • Consider a graduate scheme: if you've recently graduated, a good option for you could be the civil service Fast Stream programme.

  • Programmes for unemployed youth: another way to get a civil service job if you've been unemployed for some time is the Movement to Work programme. This scheme aims to offer work experience to young people who struggle to find employment through other routes.

  • Student placements: if you're a student or want to continue education, it may be possible for you to intern for a government agency. Through gaining work experience this way, it may be easier for you to secure a full-time civil service job in the future.

Related: How to write a government CV (with a detailed example)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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