Number of personnel in the Royal Navy in the UK 2012-2019, by gender

The number of men working in the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy in 2019 was 22.75 thousand, and in the same year there were around 2.96 thousand women. While this was a slight increase when compared with 2016/17, it still marked a net decrease of 1.65 thousand men and 210 women.

Declining personnel numbers
The fall in Royal Navy personnel is reflected across all branches of Britain’s Armed Forces, in the Army there were 23.1 thousand fewer personnel in 2018 than there were in 2012, with the Royal Air Force seeing a loss of 6.18 thousand men and 860 women in the same time period. The smallest branch in terms of personnel, the Royal Marines, lost around 880 personnel.

Defense spending falls to 1.9 percent
After the end of the Cold War defense spending in the United Kingdom amounted to approximately 3.5 percent of its Gross-Domestic Product. Since this point in the early 1990s, defense spending has declined, but was always above NATOs two percent threshold until 2015/16 when it fell to 1.9 percent.

Number of personnel employed in the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom (UK) from 2012 to 2019, by gender

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Release date

June 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2012 to 2019

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