Employment by occupation

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 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
Things you need to know

The data for this analysis comes from the Annual Population Survey (APS). The APS surveys a random sample of people to make generalisations about the whole population.

The commentary for this data includes only reliable findings. Findings are reliable (‘statistically significant’) when we can be confident they are reflective of the total population. This means we would get similar findings 19 times out of 20 if we carried out the same survey on different random samples of the population.

As with all surveys, the estimates from the APS are subject to a degree of uncertainty as they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, so it will be highest for ethnic minority groups.

Results taken from a low number of responses are more likely to change from year to year. What appear to be changes over time might not reflect real differences. Please use caution when interpreting short-term trends in the data, especially for small groups.

Values 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.

Values based on fewer than 26 responses may not be reliable, and should be used with caution.

Higher-level figures may differ from those published by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office for National Statistics that use the Labour Force Survey.

The APS updated its ethnicity questions in 2011 to be consistent with the censuses in England, Wales and Scotland. As a result, estimates from before and after 2011 may be inconsistent, and data for individual ethnic groups in 2011 is not available.

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 graphs and table show data for 2018 only. You can see data for the years 2004 to 2018 if you download the data.

The types of occupation and the qualifications, training and experience needed for them come from the standard occupational classification 2010.

The ethnic categories used in this data

In most cases, the figures shown on this page are for aggregated ethnic groups. For example, the Black ethnic group includes people from Black Caribbean, Black African and other Black backgrounds.

However, separate figures are shown for 3 different Asian ethnic groups:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani and Bangladeshi (combined)
  • Asian Other

This reflects the different employment related outcomes between different Asian ethnic groups.

It is also consistent with other official labour market statistics published by Nomis.

Separate figures are also shown for 2 different White ethnic groups:

  • White British
  • White Other

2. By ethnicity and type of occupation

Percentage of workers in each ethnic group employed in different types 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
Professional 21 27 33 18 29 21 23 20 20 21 21
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
Skilled Trades 10 6 5 7 6 6 6 11 11 10 10
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
Elementary 10 11 9 12 12 16 12 10 10 15 15

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%)

3. Methodology

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is a continuous household survey. Most people are interviewed in person first and later by telephone.

The APS contains 12 months of survey data. It combines data from 4 successive quarters of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) with rolling-year data from the local labour force surveys for England, Wales and Scotland.

The sample size is approximately 320,000 respondents.

‘Confidence intervals’ are available. These give an indication of the range in which the true population value is likely to be, which is within the lower and upper range of the interval 95% of the time. Read more about how confidence intervals are used to judge the reliability of survey data.

Weighting

Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and make them more reliable. All APS and LFS analysis is weighted using 2018 population estimates.

For example, a survey of 25 women and 75 men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which is around 50% male and 50% female.

The weighting for this data is based on Office for National Statistics population statistics.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Data is not shown for estimates and confidence intervals where the number of respondents is smaller than 3. This is to protect confidentiality and because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.

Values based on fewer 26 responses have been highlighted in the download file as they may not be reliable and should be used with caution.

Rounding

Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number. This means some totals may not add up to 100%.

Related publications

Annual Population Survey Quality Methodology Information.

Quality and methodology information

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Yearly

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
  • education
  • health

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 the government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between censuses.

5. Download the data

Employment by Occupation - Spreadsheet (csv) 241 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, denominator, numerator, confidence intervals