BETA This is a new service – please send your feedback to ethnicity@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Employment

The main facts and figures show that:

  • since 2004, employment has gone up across all ethnic groups, with the highest rate of employment at 74% (around 29.5 million people in employment) in 2016

  • in 2016, every ethnic minority (other than White ethnic minorities) had lower rates of employment than White British people

  • in 2016, the rate of employment for people from all Other ethnic groups was 64%, up one percentage point since 2015, and the highest rate since 2004

  • the ‘employment rate gap’ – the difference between the employment rate for the whole population and that for all ethnic minorities (other than White ethnic minorities) - has decreased over time, from 15 percentage points in 2004 to 10 percentage points in 2016

  • Employment rates are lower for ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities) than the overall population across the country, with a larger gap in the North than in the South (13.2 percentage points compared to 9.0 percentage points)

Things you need to know

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is a ‘sample survey’. It collects information from a random sample of the population to make generalisations (reach 'findings') about the total population.

The commentary for this data includes only reliable, or ‘statistically significant’, findings. Findings are statistically significant when we can be confident that they can be repeated, and are reflective of the total population rather than just the survey sample.

Specifically, the statistical tests used mean we can be confident that if we carried out the same survey on different random samples of the population, 19 times out of 20 we would get similar findings.

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.

Smaller numbers of survey respondents from ethnic minority backgrounds mean that estimates for ethnic minorities (other than White ethnic minorities) are more unreliable than estimates for White people (which includes White British and White ethnic minorities).

Results taken from a sample which has a low number of responses are more likely to be affected by statistical variation, so observed changes might not reflect real differences. As such, caution is needed when interpreting short-term trends in the data, especially for sub groups (for example, a specific ethnic group, age group and gender).

When looking at data for ‘All’ groups, any values based on fewer than 30 responses have been withheld, and when further breaking down the data by ethnicity, any values based on fewer than 100 responses have been withheld. This is to protect confidentiality or because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.

Data is sourced from the Annual Population Survey to get lower level details such as local authority area. Higher-level figures may differ slightly from reports published by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office for National Statistics that also use the Labour Force Survey.

Changes were made to the Labour Force Survey (and therefore the Annual Population Survey) ethnicity questions in January to March 2011, to bring them more in line with Census data collection on these topics. In April to June 2011 further changes were made to the ethnicity questions to bring them in line with Scottish Census data collection. As a result, there may be some inconsistencies with estimates from earlier than 2011.

What the data measures

This data measures the rate of employment in England, Wales and Scotland across different ethnic groups.

This ‘employment rate’ is calculated as the number of people in employment as a percentage of the total working age population. ‘Working age’ includes everyone aged 16 to 64 years.

A person of working age is counted as employed if they either:

  • are in paid work, as an employee or self-employed
  • have a job that they are temporarily away from, for example on holiday
  • are on a government-supported training or employment programme
  • are doing unpaid family work, for example working in a family business

The figures come from the Annual Population Survey (APS), which is a general household survey covering the UK. It uses data from the Labour Force Survey as well as other local data.

The data also measures the ‘employment rate gap’, which is the difference between the employment rate for the whole population and that for ethnic minorities (other than White ethnic minorities).

The ethnic categories used in this data

Where possible, data is broken down by 9 groups:

  • White British
  • White Other
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • Indian
  • Pakistani/Bangladeshi
  • Other Asian
  • Other ethnic groups
  • Unreported – where the ethnicity has not been recorded or the person chose not to state their ethnicity

However, in cases where the number of people surveyed (the ‘sample size’) was too small to draw any firm conclusions, the data is broken down into:

  • White – White ethnic groups, including White British and White ethnic minorities
  • all Other ethnic groups – all other ethnic minorities

People whose ethnicity is 'Unreported' are counted in measurements for ‘all’ groups, such as all people in employment, and not counted where data is broken down by White compared with all Other ethnic groups.

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Employment by ethnicity

Percentage and number of employed people by ethnicity

Ethnicity % Employed people
All 74 29,478,000
Asian 63 1,978,000
Indian 73 828,000
Pakistani/Bangladeshi 54 637,000
Asian other 63 513,000
Black 67 891,000
Mixed 64 326,000
White 76 25,790,000
White British 75 23,397,000
White other 80 2,393,000
Other 61 468,000

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2016, the group with the highest employment rate was White Other, at 80%, and the group with the lowest was Pakistani/Bangladeshi, at 54%; this was a gap of 26 percentage points

  • in 2016, every ethnic minority (other than White ethnic minorities) had lower rates of employment than White British (75%); the Indian ethnic group was the closest, at 73%, followed by people from the Black ethnic group, at 67%

Employed people from White and Other ethnicities

Percentage and number of employed people who are from White and Other backgrounds

Ethnicity % Employed people
All 74 29,478,000
White 76 25,790,000
Other 64 3,664,000

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2016, the rate of employment for people from ethnic minorities (other than White minorities) was 64%

  • the ‘employment rate gap’ – the difference between the employment rate for the whole working age population and that for all ethnic minorities (other than White ethnic minorities) - was 10 percentage points in 2016

Employment by ethnicity over time

Employment rate by ethnicity from 2004 to 2016

Ethnicity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
All 73 73 73 73 72 71 70 70 71 71 72 74 74
Indian 68 69 69 69 69 68 70 N/A * 69 69 71 71 73
Pakistani/Bangladeshi 44 44 45 45 46 47 46 N/A * 48 49 52 53 54
Asian other 58 60 60 61 64 63 59 N/A * 60 59 62 64 63
Black 60 61 62 63 61 58 60 N/A * 60 61 62 65 67
Mixed 62 62 65 63 60 60 61 N/A * 60 62 63 65 64
White British 74 74 74 74 74 72 72 N/A * 72 73 74 75 75
White other 71 73 74 75 75 74 74 N/A * 75 76 77 79 80
Other 55 57 55 58 58 56 56 N/A * 56 57 57 59 61

Summary

This data shows that:

  • from 2004 to 2016, the employment rates for all ethnic groups were higher than in 2004; however for the Mixed, Other Asian and Other ethnic groups, sample sizes are small, so any generalisations based on this result are unreliable

  • from 2004 to 2016, the Pakistani/Bangladeshi ethnic group had the biggest rise in the rate of employment, from 44% to 54%, and the White British group had the smallest rise, from 74% to 75%

  • more recently, the rate of employment was generally higher in 2016 than in 2015 for most ethnic groups; however sample sizes for ethnic minorities are small, so any generalisations based on this result are unreliable

Employment by ethnicity and region

Percentage of employed people by ethnicity and region

Ethnicity East Midlands East of England London North East North West Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and The Humber
All 75 77 74 70 72 73 78 77 71 71 72
Indian 70 73 76 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 64 69 78 83 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 70 66
Pakistani/Bangladeshi 53 54 54 55 55 61 60 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 50 54
Asian other 60 71 66 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 57 49 66 68 52 50 60
Black 68 72 69 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 59 61 68 62 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 60 75
Mixed 60 74 63 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 68 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 72 60 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 56 61
White British 76 77 78 71 73 74 78 77 72 75 74
White other 80 84 81 74 79 78 81 78 77 75 77
Other withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 68 63 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 55 56 66 69 54 57 50

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in all regions across the country in 2016, the rate of employment for people from a White background, including White ethnic minorities, was higher than for people from all other ethnic groups

  • in 2016, the lowest rates of employment for each ethnic group were generally seen in northern regions, such as the North East (71% for White British and 74% for White Other) and the North West (59% for Black and 64% for Indian)

  • the West Midlands also saw relatively low rates of employment for each ethnic group (56% for the Mixed ethnic group and 50% for the Pakistani/Bangladeshi group)

  • in 2016, the highest employment rates for each ethnic group were generally seen in southern regions, such as the East of England (84% for White Other, 74% for the Mixed ethnic group and 71% for Other Asian), the South East (78% for White British) and the South West (83% for Indian and 69% for Other)

  • in contrast with most other regions, the Pakistani/Bangladeshi group had a relatively high rate of employment in Scotland, at 61%, and the Black group had a relatively high rate of employment in Yorkshire and the Humber, at 75%

  • Employment rates are lower for ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities) than the overall population across the country, with a larger gap in the North than in the South (13.2 percentage points compared to 9.0 percentage points)

Employment by ethnicity and gender

Percentage and number of employed people by ethnicity and gender

Women Men
Ethnicity % Employed people % Employed people
All 69 13,850,000 79 15,628,000
Asian - Indian 64 350,000 81 478,000
Asian - Other 55 243,000 72 270,000
Asian - Pakistani/Bangladeshi 35 197,000 72 440,000
Black 64 475,000 71 416,000
Mixed 62 171,000 67 156,000
White - British 71 11,086,000 79 12,311,000
White - Other 73 1,126,000 88 1,267,000
Other 51 191,000 71 277,000

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2016, the rate of employment for men was higher than for women in all ethnic groups

  • in 2016, the gender employment rate gap (the difference in employment rates for men compared to women) was at its smallest for the Mixed ethnic group; 67% of men were employed compared to 62% of women, a gap of 5 percentage points

  • in 2016, the gender employment rate gap was at its largest for the Pakistani/Bangladeshi ethnic group; more than twice as many men (72%) were employed than women (35%), a gap of 37 percentage points

  • in 2016, the difference between rates of employment for Pakistani/Bangladeshi women (35%) and White British women (71%) was 36 percentage points

  • Indian women have the highest employment rate of all ethnic minorities (other than White minorities), at 64%

  • in 2016, the Mixed ethnicity group had the lowest employment rate for men, at 67%

  • in 2016, the White Other group has the highest employment rate for men, at 88%, followed by Indian men at 81% and White British men at 79%

Employment by ethnicity and age

Percentage and number of employed people by ethnicity and age

16-24 25-49 50-64
Ethnicity % Employed people % Employed people % Employed people
All 54 3,745,000 83 17,458,000 70 8,275,000
Indian 35 56,000 82 616,000 70 156,000
Pakistani/Bangladeshi 32 85,000 63 480,000 49 72,000
Asian other 27 48,000 74 368,000 68 97,000
Black 38 107,000 75 565,000 73 220,000
Mixed 39 68,000 79 218,000 68 41,000
White British 58 3,123,000 85 12,997,000 70 7,277,000
White other 56 213,000 85 1,857,000 75 323,000
Other 33 43,000 68 342,000 65 83,000

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2016, the ‘employment rate gap’ – the difference between the employment rate for the whole population and that for ethnic minorities (other than White ethnic minorities), – was largest in the 16 to 24 age group; the rate was 34% for ethnic minorities, compared with 54% for the whole population, a difference of 20 percentage points

  • for people aged 16 to 24 years, the White British group has the highest rate of employment, at 58%, while the Other Asian group has the lowest rate, at 27%; this is a difference of 31 percentage points

  • for people aged 25 to 49 years, the White Other and White British groups had the highest rate of employment, at 85%, while the Pakistani/Bangladeshi group has the lowest rate, at 63%; this is a difference of 22 percentage points

  • for people aged 50 to 64 years, the White Other group has the highest rate of employment, at 75%, and the Pakistani/Bangladeshi group has the lowest rate, at 49%

Employment for 16 to 24 year olds by ethnicity over time

Percentage of employed 16 to 24 year olds by ethnicity

Ethnicity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
All 60 59 58 57 56 53 50 49 50 50 51 54 54
Indian 44 42 47 45 42 37 38 N/A * 41 33 34 35 35
Pakistani/Bangladeshi 33 35 36 30 34 32 30 N/A * 30 28 32 35 32
Asian other 34 32 32 31 33 28 22 N/A * 23 24 24 27 27
Black 36 35 38 38 31 28 27 N/A * 27 27 31 32 38
Mixed 49 46 49 49 44 41 36 N/A * 41 43 43 42 39
White British 63 62 61 61 59 56 54 N/A * 53 54 55 58 58
White other 56 62 65 61 63 57 55 N/A * 48 51 49 55 56
Other 36 36 34 37 37 30 29 N/A * 26 25 26 34 33

Summary

The 16 to 24 year old age group was less likely to be employed than people in the older age groups. This is partly because people in this age group are more likely to be in full-time education. Please see ‘Economic inactivity due to full-time education’ for more information.

  • for people aged 16 to 24 years, the rate of employment in 2016 was lower than in 2004, apart from the White Other and Black ethnic groups

  • the largest fall in the rate of employment between 2004 and 2016, for people aged 16 to 24 years, was in the Mixed ethnic group, which went from 49% to 39%, a difference of 10 percentage points

  • the next largest drop in the rate of employment was for the Indian ethnic group, which fell from 44% in 2004 to 35% in 2016, followed by the Other Asian ethnic group, which fell from 34% in 2004 to 27% in 2016

  • although the graph shows a rise in the percentage employed for Black 16 to 24 year olds from 2004 to 2016, the sample sizes are small so any generalisations based on this result are unreliable; this is also the case when looking at changes for all ethnic groups between 2015 and 2016

Methodology and type of data

Type of data

Survey

Purpose of data source

Survey data, collected to allow analysis of labour market and related topics at a lower level than is possible in the Labour Force Survey.

Methodology

The Annual Population Survey is a continuous household survey and is a ‘sample survey’. This means it collects information from a random sample of the population to make generalisations (reach 'findings’) about the total population (such as employment). Most people are interviewed face to face at 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 which are in the sample for 4 waves, spread one year apart.

Participants are randomly selected from the Royal Mail Postcode address File (PAF) although we also use the NHS communal accommodation list and (in the case of remote parts of Scotland) telephone directories. All eligible individuals found at the selected address may be interviewed. Only those for whom either the individual responds or another family member gives a proxy response are included in the dataset used for this analysis. 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. The Office for National Statistics population estimates and projections are used as the basis for this weighting process.

Quality and methodology information

Data source details

Source

Annual Population Survey

Department

Department for Work and Pensions

Type of statistic

National statistic

Publication frequency

Quarterly

Suppression rules

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.

Download the data

employment-by-local-authority.csv

This file contains employment rates by ethnicity, time, gender, local authority area and age, with numerator, denominator, sample size and confidence intervals

employment-by-region.csv

Year, ethnic group, region, age group, gender, numerator, denominator, value, confidence interval, sample size