NSAR’s Annual Rail Workforce Survey

The Workforce Survey is an annual survey collected and compiled by NSAR. It is the most complete and accurate representation of the UK Rail workforce.

This survey helps create a clear picture of the industry workforce, which in turn enables the industry and businesses to set direction.

Each year railway organisations across the industry contribute to the survey by submitting their workforce data, which is completely anonymised and GDPR compliant to help us analyse over 230,000 individual records.

Key insights from last year’s survey


The average age of the workforce was 44 in 2022 and has been increasing gradually over the past 6 years. The proportion of employees aged between 16 and 25 has halved since 2016, to only 5% of the workforce today.


Gender Split

The female proportion of the workforce dropped to 14.6% in 2022, the lowest since 2018 (13.4% female, highest previous was 16.8% in 2021), bucking the gradually increasing trend since data collection began in 2016.


The proportion of other than white workers in the industry is around 12.5% – this has remained consistent since ethnicity data collection began in 2018. The proportion of non-British workers in the industry is around 6% – the lowest seen since nationality data collection began in 2018, albeit a minor difference, with this proportion having been highest at around 7.4%.

How to get involved

Please download and complete the spreadsheet here. Equally, a direct download from your employee database system covering the core data fields is perfectly fine. Survey responses are completely anonymised and follow strict GDPR regulations.

Please complete the spreadsheet and return to us via email at simsurvey@nsar.co.uk by Friday 13 January 2023. If you have any questions, email Sam Goody at sam.goody@nsar.co.uk.

Your participation in the workforce survey is crucial for the provision of up-to-date and relevant industry overviews. If you would like more information on how your organisation compares to other industry organisations, or how you might improve your workforce’s skills to meet future needs, please contact us.

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