Employment by sector

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 30.2% of workers in the UK worked in the public administration, education and health sector in 2018 – the highest percentage out of all sectors
  • the public administration, education and health sector employed the highest percentage of workers in almost every ethnic group
  • the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group had a higher percentage of workers in the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector than any other ethnic group (30.7%)
Things you need to know

The data for this analysis comes from the Annual Population Survey (APS). The APS surveys a random sample of the population 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.

Industry sectors are matched to ‘Standard Industry Classification’ (SIC) codes.

This data uses the ‘UK SIC 2007’ list. This means that some of the data may not be comparable before and after January 2009.

What the data measures

The data measures the percentage of people from each ethnic group who work in a particular industry or sector in the UK.

The data includes both employed and self-employed people.

The chart and table show figures for 2018 only. Download the data to see figures for 2004 to 2018.

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

Percentage of workers in each ethnic group employed by different sectors
Industry All Asian Indian Pakistani, Bangladeshi Asian Other Black Mixed White White British White Other Other
% % % % % % % % % % %
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 1.1 0.1 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 1.2 1.3 0.8 0.3
Banking and finance 17.5 18.1 20.5 14.6 19.0 16.7 20.1 17.4 17.1 19.5 20.9
Construction 7.2 3.0 3.8 2.5 2.3 4.0 4.1 7.7 7.7 7.6 5.1
Distribution, hotels and restaurants 18.2 24.2 18.6 30.7 24.7 14.9 20.4 17.8 17.5 19.9 23.7
Energy and water 1.7 0.7 0.8 0.6 0.7 0.9 0.7 1.9 2.0 1.3 1.1
Manufacturing 9.0 6.1 8.0 4.6 4.7 4.6 7.5 9.5 9.2 11.4 6.9
Other services 6.0 4.3 3.7 4.0 5.6 5.5 8.6 6.0 6.1 5.6 7.2
Public admin, education and health 30.2 27.5 26.8 25.2 31.7 43.6 28.3 30.1 31.0 22.6 22.5
Transport and communication 9.1 16.1 17.7 17.8 11.1 9.7 10.3 8.4 8.1 11.3 12.4

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Employment by sector By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • 30.2% of all workers in the UK worked in public administration, education and health in 2018
  • in almost every ethnic group, the largest percentage of workers were employed in this sector
  • the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi (30.7%) and Other (23.7%) ethnic groups had the highest percentage of workers in the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector
  • Black workers had the highest percentage of any ethnic group working in public administration, education and health (43.6%)
  • White workers had the highest percentage working in construction (7.7%)

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

Confidence intervals are available if you download the data. 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.

‘Suppression’ means these figures have not been included in the data, to protect confidentiality and because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.

Rounding

Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point. This means some totals may not add up to 100%.

Count estimates have been rounded to the nearest hundred and therefore the group 'All' may not be the sum of all ethnic groups combined.

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 Sector - Spreadsheet (csv) 220 KB

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