Employment by sector
Last updated 14 May 2019 - see all updates
1. Main facts and figures
- overall in 2017, 29.7% of workers in the UK were employed in the public administration, education and health sector (the highest percentage out of all sectors); 18.7% were employed in distribution, hotels and restaurants, 17.3% in banking, finance and insurance, 9.3% in manufacturing, 9.0% in transport and communications, 7.4% in construction, 5.9% in other services, 1.7% in energy and water, and 1.1% in agriculture and fishing
- the public administration, education and health sector employed the highest percentage of workers in every ethnic group except the Pakistani/Bangladeshi group; in this ethnic group, the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector employed the biggest percentage of workers
The ethnic categories used in this data
Although data is collected for 18 ethnic groups, analysis by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is grouped under 6 broad ethnic categories:
- Black/Black British
- Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
- Other (which contains Chinese, other Asian and other ethnic groups)
Grouping in this way improves the reliability of the estimates and allows robust samples to be used.
This analysis distinguishes between the Indian ethnic group and the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups (which are combined). This reflects the different employment-related outcomes among different Asian ethnic groups, and is in line with other publications on the official labour market statistics website, Nomis.
2. By ethnicity and sector
|Industry||All||Indian||Pakistani/ Bangladeshi||Black||Mixed||White||Other inc Chinese and Other Asian|
|Agriculture & fishing||1.1||withheld to protect confidentiality||withheld to protect confidentiality||0.1||0.2||1.2||0.3|
|Energy & water||1.7||1.3||0.6||0.9||1.2||1.8||0.8|
|Banking, finance & insurance||17.3||20.9||15.8||16.5||20.2||17.1||18.6|
|Distribution, hotels & restaurants||18.7||20.2||29.1||16.0||21.8||18.2||27.1|
|Public administration, education & health||29.7||26.4||25.4||42.8||29.6||29.5||28.3|
|Transport & communications||9.0||15.7||17.9||10.0||9.4||8.5||10.6|
Summary of Employment by sector By ethnicity and sector Summary
The APS contains 12 months of survey data.
It combines data from 4 successive quarters of the Labour Force Survey with rolling-year data from the local labour force surveys for England, Wales and Scotland.
The sample size is approximately 320,000 respondents.
Interviews are carried out either face to face or by telephone.
Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.
For example, a survey which contains 25% females and 75% males will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know is around 50% male and 50% female.
Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.
Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.
The APS is weighted to reflect the size and composition of the general population, by using the most up-to-date official population data.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has suppressed:
- estimates and confidence intervals that have a group sample size smaller than 10
- estimates for where the number of people employed is less than 500
Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point. Totals may not add up to 100% because of this.
Further technical information
Before January 2009, data was collected on a standard industry classification (SIC) 92/03 basis.
It has since been reclassified to SIC 2007, based on the previous industrial code.
This approach may lead to a lack of continuity when comparing data for time series before and after January 2009.
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Office for National Statistics
Purpose of data source
The main purpose of the Annual Population Survey (APS) is to provide good quality estimates about the UK workforce.
It is the largest household study in the UK based on how many people it’s sent to and how in depth the questions are. It provides the official measures of employment and unemployment.
The survey measures all elements of people's work, including:
- the education and training needed to equip them for work
- features of their jobs
- unemployment and jobseeking
- income from work and benefits
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, denominator, numerator, confidence intervals