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- 1. Main facts and figures
- 2. By ethnicity
- 3. By ethnicity (2 ethnic groups)
- 4. By ethnicity over time
- 5. By ethnicity and gender
- 6. By ethnicity and age group
- 7. By ethnicity and age group over time (16 to 24 year olds only)
- 8. By ethnicity and area
- 9. Methodology
- 10. Data sources
- 11. Download the data
- 12. Related content
1. Main facts and figures
- in 2017, the total working age population (people aged 16 to 64 years) in England, Wales and Scotland was just under 40 million – of those, just over 34 million people were White, and nearly 6 million people were from all other ethnic groups combined
- between 2004 and 2017, the employment rate went up in all ethnic groups; 2017 saw the highest rate of employment, with 75% of the working age population (people aged 16 to 64) employed overall – around 29.9 million people
- in 2017, the largest rates of employment were found in the White British and Other White ethnic groups, at 76% and 81% respectively
- 77% of White people of working age were employed in 2017, compared with 65% of people from all other ethnic groups combined – for both groups, these are the highest rates since 2004, and represent an increase of 1 percentage point since 2016
- the difference in the employment rate for the White ethnic group and the rate for ethnic minority groups (excluding White ethnic minorities) has decreased from 16 percentage points in 2004 to 12 percentage points in 2017 – download the data to see these figures in detail
- the highest employment rates for each ethnic group were in the South (mainly in the South East) and East of England, and the lowest employment rates were generally seen in the North (North East, North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber)
The ethnic categories used in this data
Data is shown for the following ethnic groups:
- Pakistani or Bangladeshi
- Any other Asian ethnicity (including Chinese)
- White British
- White other
Any other ethnic group
Data broken down by local authority is shown in the download files. For this data, the number of people surveyed (the ‘sample size’) was too small to draw any firm conclusions about specific ethnic categories, so the data is broken down into the following 2 categories:
- White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
- Other – all other ethnic minorities
People whose ethnicity is 'Unknown' (because their ethnicity was not recorded or they chose not to state their ethnicity) are counted when calculating the total number of people in employment (shown as the ‘All’ group in the data).
2. By ethnicity
|Pakistani and Bangladeshi||55||658,000|
|Asian other inc Chinese||64||528,000|
3. By ethnicity (2 ethnic groups)
|Other than White||65||3,743,000|
4. By ethnicity over time
|Pakistani and Bangladeshi||44||44||45||45||46||47||46||N/A*||48||49||52||53||54||55|
|Asian other inc Chinese||58||60||60||61||64||63||59||N/A*||60||59||62||64||63||64|
5. By ethnicity and gender
|Ethnicity||All %||All Employed people||Men %||Men Employed people||Women %||Women Employed people|
|Pakistani and Bangladeshi||55||658,000||71||436,000||38||223,000|
|Asian other inc Chinese||64||528,000||73||274,000||57||254,000|
6. By ethnicity and age group
|Ethnicity||16-24 %||16-24 Employed people||25-49 %||25-49 Employed people||50-64 %||50-64 Employed people||All (16-64) %||All (16-64) Employed people|
|Pakistani and Bangladeshi||32||94,000||64||486,000||53||78,000||55||658,000|
|Asian other inc Chinese||29||52,000||75||372,000||71||105,000||64||528,000|
7. By ethnicity and age group over time (16 to 24 year olds only)
|Pakistani and Bangladeshi||33||35||36||30||34||32||30||N/A*||30||28||32||35||32||32|
|Asian other inc Chinese||34||32||32||31||33||28||22||N/A*||23||24||24||27||27||29|
|Other||36||36||34||37||37||30||29||N/A*||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||26||34||33||30|
8. By ethnicity and area
|Ethnicity||All||East Midlands||East of England||London||North East||North West||Scotland||South East||South West||Wales||West Midlands||Yorkshire and The Humber|
|Indian||74||69||78||74||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||68||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||82||75||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||70||72|
|Pakistani and Bangladeshi||55||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||57||57||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||52||64||68||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||51||48|
|Asian other inc Chinese||64||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||81||67||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||64||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||72||66||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||51||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable|
|Black||67||63||75||68||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||63||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||73||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||62||61|
|Mixed||67||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||69||68||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||62||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||71||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|
|Other||62||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||64||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||55||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||66||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||56||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable|
The Annual Population Survey (APS) is a continuous household survey. Most people are interviewed in person first, and later by telephone. The sample is formed partly from waves 1 and 5 of the Labour Force Survey (in which selected addresses are contacted every 3 months) and partly from boost cases that are in the sample for 4 waves, spread one year apart.
Participants are randomly selected from the Royal Mail Postcode address File (PAF). The NHS communal accommodation list is also used and (in the case of remote parts of Scotland) telephone directories. All eligible individuals found at the selected address may be interviewed. Individuals are included in the dataset for this analysis if they respond themselves or if a family member responds on their behalf. The complex survey design has been taken into account when calculating confidence intervals.
The achieved sample of approximately 275,000 undergoes weighting which is structured at local authority level and uses age and sex dimensions.
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 makeup as the general population.
The Office for National Statistics population estimates and projections are used as the basis for this weighting process.
Confidence intervals for each ethnic group are available if you download the data.
Based on the APS, it is estimated that 64% of people of working age in the Asian ethnic group were employed in 2017.
The data from the APS is based on a sample of the population in England, Wales and Scotland, rather than the whole population. The estimate obtained from this sample is a reliable estimate of the employment rate (the percentage of individuals of working age who were employed), but it’s impossible to be 100% certain of the true percentage for the whole population.
It’s 95% certain, however, that somewhere between 62.2% (lower bound of the confidence interval) and 65.8% (upper bound of the confidence interval) of Asian people of working age were employed in 2017. In statistical terms, this is a 95% confidence interval. This means that if 100 random samples were taken, then 95 times out of 100 the estimate would fall between the lower and upper bounds of the confidence interval. But 5 times out of 100 it would fall outside this range.
The smaller the survey sample, the more uncertain the estimate and the wider the confidence interval. For example, the sample has less data for individuals from the Asian ethnic group than from the White ethnic group, so we can be less certain about the estimate for the smaller group. This greater uncertainty is expressed by a wider confidence interval, of between 62.2% and 65.8% for the Asian ethnic group compared with 76.3% and 77.1% for the White ethnic group in 2017.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
In data covering all ethnic groups together, estimates based on sample sizes of less than 30 have been suppressed. For data broken down by ethnic groups, estimates based on sample sizes under 100 have been suppressed.
‘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.
Percentages are rounded to whole numbers in charts and tables. Download the data to see the percentages rounded to 1 decimal place.
10. 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’s the largest household study in the UK in terms of 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 job seeking
- income from work and benefits
11. Download the data
This file contains the following variables: measure, age_band, year, local_authority, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, value, confidence_interval, numerator, denominator, samp_size
This file contains the following variables: measure, year, region, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, sex, age_band, value, confidence_interval, numerator, denominator, samp_size
12. Related content
Employment by occupation
The Indian ethnic group had the highest percentage of workers in professional occupations (31%) in 2017.
9% of Black people were unemployed in 2018, compared with 4% of White people.
Employment by sector
The public administration, education and health sector employed the highest percentage of workers in nearly every ethnic group in 2017.