Employment by occupation
Last updated 3 August 2021 - see all updates
1. Main facts and figures
This page will not be updated with 2020 data. This is because the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is reweighting the data we use for this page, to account for the effects of population changes and COVID-19 on labour market statistics.
- in 2018, 21% of workers in the UK were in ‘professional’ jobs – the highest percentage out of all types of occupation
- 33% of workers from the Indian ethnic group were in 'professional' jobs, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups in this role
- 11% of both Indian and White British workers were in 'manager, director or senior official' jobs, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups in this role
- the percentage of workers in 'elementary' jobs – the lowest skilled type of occupation – was highest in the Black (16%) and White Other (15%) ethnic groups
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data measures the percentage of people from each ethnic group who work in particular types of occupation. It includes both employees and people who are self-employed.
The types of occupation and the qualifications, training and experience needed for them come from the standard occupational classification from 2010.
Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number, so some totals may not add up to 100%.
Not included in the data
Data based on fewer than 3 responses have been withheld from results for all groups. This is to protect respondents’ confidentiality, and because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.
The ethnic groups used in the data
The data uses the ethnic categories from the 2011 Census.
Data is aggregated for the Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, which means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole.
Data is shown separately for White British people and all other White people (‘White Other’ ethnic group). Separate figures are also shown for 3 different Asian ethnic groups (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi combined, and Asian Other)
People whose ethnicity is not known are included in the figures for ‘All’.
Read the detailed methodology document for the data used on this page.
The data for this analysis comes from the Annual Population Survey. Find out more about interpreting survey data, including how reliability is affected by the number of people surveyed. You can also see how weighting is used to make data more representative.
In the data file
See Download the data for:
- data for the years 2004 to 2018
- confidence intervals – read more about how we use confidence intervals to determine the reliability of survey data
3. By ethnicity and type of occupation
|Occupation||All||Asian||Indian||Pakistani, Bangladeshi||Asian Other||Black||Mixed||White||White British||White Other||Other|
|Managers, Directors and Senior Officials||11||10||11||8||9||5||9||11||11||10||10|
|Associate Professional and Technical||15||12||14||10||11||12||19||15||15||13||12|
|Administrative and Secretarial||10||9||9||8||9||9||9||10||11||8||7|
|Caring, Leisure and Other Service||9||8||7||8||9||18||9||9||9||7||9|
|Sales and Customer Service||8||10||7||14||9||7||9||7||8||5||7|
|Process, Plant and Machine Operatives||6||9||5||15||5||7||5||6||6||10||8|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and type of occupation’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and type of occupation’ (CSV)
Summary of Employment by occupation By ethnicity and type of occupation Summary
This data shows that:
- 21% of workers in the UK were in ‘professional’ jobs, making it the most common type of occupation
- 10% of workers were in ‘elementary’ jobs, the lowest skilled type of occupation
- the percentage of workers in ‘elementary’ jobs was highest in the Black (16%) and White Other (15%) ethnic groups
- 33% of workers from the Indian ethnic group were in 'professional' jobs, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
- the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group had the lowest percentage of workers in 'professional' jobs (18%)
- 41% of workers from the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group were in the 3 least skilled types of occupation (‘elementary’, ‘sales and consumer services’ and ‘process, plants and machine operatives’ jobs), up from 38% in 2017
- 18% of Black workers were in ‘caring, leisure and other services’ jobs, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
- 11% of both Indian and White British workers were in 'manager, director or senior official' jobs, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
- the Black ethnic group had the lowest percentage of workers in 'manager, director or senior official' jobs (5%)
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Office for National Statistics
Purpose of data source
The Annual Population Survey (APS) is the largest ongoing household survey in the UK and covers a range of topics, including:
- personal characteristics
- labour market status
- work characteristics
The purpose of the APS is to provide information on important social and socio-economic variables at local levels, such as labour market estimates.
The published statistics also allow government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between Censuses.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, denominator, numerator, confidence intervals