Employment

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 76% of working age people (16 to 64 year olds) in England, Scotland and Wales were employed in 2019
  • 78% of White people were employed, compared with 66% of people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • the difference in the employment rates between the White ethnic group and all other ethnic groups combined went down by 5 percentage points between 2004 and 2019
  • the highest employment rate in 2019 was in the White Other ethnic group (83%)
  • the lowest employment rate was in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group (56%)
  • between 2004 and 2019, the biggest employment rate increases were in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group (from 44% to 56%) and the White Other ethnic group (from 71% to 83%)
  • the highest employment rates for most ethnic groups were generally in the South and East of England – the lowest were generally in the North of England, Scotland, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures the number and percentage of people in England, Scotland and Wales who are employed.

Percentages are worked out using the total working age population (people aged 16 to 64 years).

Someone is classed as employed if they:

  • 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

Percentages in the charts, tables and commentary are rounded to whole numbers, but have been worked out with unrounded figures.

Not included in the data

The data does not include estimates based on fewer than:

  • 30 survey respondents for data covering all ethnic groups together
  • 100 survey respondents for data broken down by ethnicity

This is to protect people’s confidentiality and because the numbers involved are too small to make reliable generalisations.

The ethnic groups used in the data

The data uses the ethnic categories from the 2011 Census.

Data is aggregated for the Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, which means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole.

Data is shown separately for White British people and all other White people (‘White Other’ ethnic group). Separate figures are also shown for 3 different Asian ethnic groups (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi combined, and Asian Other)

People whose ethnicity is not known are included in the figures for ‘All’.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for this data.

The Annual Population Survey updated its ethnicity questions in 2011. As a result, estimates from before and after 2011 may not be consistent, and data for individual ethnic groups in 2011 is not available.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about:

In the data file

See Download the data for estimates:

  • ​by region, age group and sex over time for detailed ethnic groups
  • for each 3-month period for the White and Other than White ethnic groups since 2001
  • confidence intervals for each ethnic group – read how we use confidence intervals to demonstrate the reliability of survey estimates
  • sample sizes
  • estimates rounded to 1 decimal place

3. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of 16 to 64 year olds who were employed, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of people employed
All 76 30,427,000
Asian 65 2,140,000
Indian 76 898,900
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 56 712,400
Asian Other 65 528,700
Black 69 996,900
Mixed 69 366,600
White 78 26,395,600
White British 77 23,808,800
White Other 83 2,586,800
Other 63 512,200

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

Summary of Employment By ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • 76% of people aged 16 to 64 in England, Scotland and Wales were employed in 2019
  • 83% of people from the White Other ethnic group were employed – the highest rate out of all ethnic groups
  • 56% of people from the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group were employed – the lowest rate out of all ethnic groups

4. By ethnicity over time (White and Other than White)

Percentage and number of 16 to 64 year olds who were employed, by ethnicity (White and Other than White) over time
All White Other than White
Year All % All Number of people employed White % White Number of people employed Other than White % Other than White Number of people employed
2004 73 27,057,900 74 25,022,700 58 2,011,900
2005 73 27,365,300 74 25,180,000 59 2,163,400
2006 73 27,592,800 74 25,245,300 59 2,329,900
2007 73 27,850,200 74 25,347,400 60 2,486,900
2008 72 27,957,200 74 25,329,800 60 2,611,100
2009 71 27,508,700 72 24,846,400 59 2,640,900
2010 70 27,484,600 72 24,703,600 59 2,755,200
2011 70 27,546,800 not collected not collected not collected not collected
2012 71 27,759,100 72 24,749,700 59 2,993,800
2013 71 28,069,200 73 24,996,900 59 3,055,700
2014 72 28,585,700 74 25,277,300 61 3,259,400
2015 74 29,208,300 75 25,718,900 63 3,453,800
2016 74 29,506,000 76 25,830,800 64 3,651,900
2017 75 29,946,000 77 26,214,500 65 3,712,500
2018 75 30,116,600 77 26,212,300 65 3,879,600
2019 76 30,427,000 78 26,395,600 66 4,015,700

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time (White and Other than White)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time (White and Other than White)’ (CSV)

Summary of Employment By ethnicity over time (White and Other than White) Summary

The data shows that:

  • 78% of White people were employed in 2019, compared with 66% of people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • the difference in the employment rates for White people and those from all other ethnic groups combined went down from 16pp in 2004 to 11pp in 2019
  • the last quarter of 2019 (October to December) had the highest employment rate (67%) for ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities) – download the data for quarterly figures in 2019

5. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of 16 to 64 year olds who were employed, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
% % % % % % % % % % % % % % % %
All 73 73 73 73 72 71 70 70 71 71 72 74 74 75 75 76
Asian 57 57 58 58 59 59 59 not collected 59 59 62 63 63 64 66 65
Indian 68 69 69 69 69 68 70 not collected 69 69 71 71 73 74 76 76
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 44 44 45 45 46 47 46 not collected 48 49 52 53 54 55 57 56
Asian Other 58 60 60 61 64 63 59 not collected 60 59 62 64 63 64 64 65
Black 60 61 62 63 61 58 60 not collected 60 61 62 65 67 67 67 69
Mixed 62 62 65 63 60 60 61 not collected 60 62 63 65 64 67 67 69
White 74 74 74 74 74 72 72 not collected 72 73 74 75 76 77 77 78
White British 74 74 74 74 74 72 72 not collected 72 73 74 75 75 76 76 77
White Other 71 73 74 75 75 74 74 not collected 75 76 77 79 80 81 82 83
Other 55 57 55 58 58 56 56 not collected 56 57 57 59 61 62 61 63

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

Summary of Employment By ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that:

  • between 2004 and 2019 the employment rate increased in every ethnic group
  • the biggest increases were in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group (from 44% to 56%) and the White Other ethnic group (from 71% to 83%)
  • the smallest increase was in the White British ethnic group (from 74% to 77%)

6. By ethnicity and gender

Percentage and number of 16 to 64 year olds who were employed, by ethnicity and gender
All Men Women
Ethnicity All % All Number of people employed Men % Men Number of people employed Women % Women Number of people employed
All 76 30,427,000 80 15,957,500 72 14,469,400
Asian 65 2,140,000 77 1,236,400 54 903,500
Indian 76 898,900 82 500,300 69 398,500
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 56 712,400 73 467,200 39 245,200
Asian Other 65 528,700 74 268,900 58 259,800
Black 69 996,900 71 470,600 67 526,300
Mixed 69 366,600 71 183,900 67 182,700
White 78 26,395,600 81 13,766,300 74 12,629,300
White British 77 23,808,800 80 12,451,500 74 11,357,300
White Other 83 2,586,800 89 1,314,800 78 1,272,000
Other 63 512,200 73 291,800 54 220,400

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

Summary of Employment By ethnicity and gender Summary

The data shows that:

  • in every ethnic group, the employment rate was higher for men than women
  • the gap between men and women was biggest in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group, where 73% of men and 39% of women were employed
  • the gap was smallest in the Black ethnic group, where 71% of men and 67% of women were employed
  • for both men and women, the highest employment rate was in the White Other ethnic group (89% for men, 78% for women)
  • the lowest employment rate among women was in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group (39%)
  • the lowest employment rate among men was in the Mixed and Black ethnic groups (71%)

7. By ethnicity and age

Percentage and number of 16 to 64 year olds who were employed, by ethnicity and age
16-24 25-49 50-64 All
Ethnicity 16-24 % 16-24 Number of people employed 25-49 % 25-49 Number of people employed 50-64 % 50-64 Number of people employed All % All Number of people employed
All 54 3,630,900 85 17,823,900 73 8,972,100 76 30,427,000
Asian 34 222,600 75 1,532,300 67 385,100 65 2,140,000
Indian 38 65,400 84 652,100 75 181,400 76 898,900
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 34 108,300 65 505,600 55 98,600 56 712,400
Asian Other 31 48,900 74 374,700 70 105,100 65 528,700
Black 37 108,000 78 615,600 75 273,300 69 996,900
Mixed 46 75,500 83 243,100 68 48,000 69 366,600
White 58 3,180,900 87 15,055,500 73 8,159,200 78 26,395,600
White British 58 2,956,700 86 13,080,000 73 7,772,200 77 23,808,800
White Other 59 224,200 88 1,975,600 79 387,100 83 2,586,800
Other 30 43,300 71 367,300 68 101,600 63 512,200

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

Summary of Employment By ethnicity and age Summary

The data shows that:

  • the employment rate was 54% for all 16 to 24 year olds, 85% for 25 to 49 year olds, and 73% for 50 to 64 year olds
  • among 16 to 24 year olds, the employment rate was highest in the White Other ethnic group (59%), and lowest in the Other Asian group (31%)
  • among 25 to 49 year olds, the employment rate was highest in the White Other ethnic group (88%), and lowest in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi group (65%)
  • among 50 to 64 year olds, the employment rate was highest in the White Other ethnic group (79%), and lowest in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi group (55%)
  • the difference in the employment rate between White people and those from ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities) was biggest among 16 to 24 year olds, where 58% of White people and 36% of those from ethnic minorities were employed
  • the difference in the employment rate between White people and those from ethnic minorities was smallest among 50 to 64 year olds, where 73% of White people and 70% of those from ethnic minorities were employed – download the data to see these figures in detail

8. By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only)

Percentage of 16 to 24 year olds who were employed, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
% % % % % % % % % % % % % % % %
All 60 59 58 57 56 53 50 49 50 50 51 54 54 54 54 54
Asian 37 36 39 35 37 33 30 not collected 31 28 30 33 31 34 37 34
Indian 44 42 47 45 42 37 38 not collected 41 33 34 35 35 43 43 38
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 33 35 36 30 34 32 30 not collected 30 28 32 35 32 32 37 34
Asian Other 34 32 32 31 33 28 22 not collected 23 24 24 27 27 29 29 31
Black 36 35 38 38 31 28 27 not collected 27 27 31 32 37 34 33 37
Mixed 49 46 49 49 44 41 36 not collected 41 43 43 42 39 47 46 46
White 63 62 61 61 60 56 54 not collected 53 54 55 58 58 58 58 58
White British 63 62 61 61 59 56 54 not collected 53 54 55 58 58 59 58 58
White Other 56 62 65 61 63 57 55 not collected 48 51 49 55 56 55 53 59
Other 36 36 34 37 37 30 29 not collected 26 25 26 34 32 30 31 30

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only)’ (CSV)

Summary of Employment By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only) Summary

16 to 24 year olds were less likely to be employed than older people. This is partly because people in this age group were more likely to be students and therefore classed as economically inactive.

The data shows that:

  • between 2004 and 2019, the employment rate for all 16 to 24 year olds went down from 60% to 54%
  • the biggest decreases were in the Indian ethnic group (from 44% to 38%), and the Other ethnic group (from 36% to 30%), but ​the numbers of people surveyed are too small to make reliable generalisations

9. By ethnicity and area

Percentage of 16 to 64 year olds who were employed, 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
% % % % % % % % % % % %
All 76 77 78 75 71 75 75 80 79 73 74 74
Asian 65 67 71 66 58 60 57 75 72 66 62 56
Indian 76 73 84 74 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 72 64 85 71 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 77 69
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 56 57 59 58 47 54 53 68 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 61 52 53
Asian Other 65 61 72 65 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 59 57 70 77 63 55 58
Black 69 72 73 69 60 67 63 76 77 63 62 74
Mixed 69 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 76 69 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 69 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 73 77 68 61 68
White 78 78 79 79 71 76 76 80 80 74 77 76
White British 77 78 78 78 71 76 75 80 79 74 77 76
White Other 83 83 86 83 77 82 80 85 85 81 84 80
Other 63 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 75 66 44 55 55 77 68 52 56 50

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

Summary of Employment By ethnicity and area Summary

The data shows that:

  • the lowest overall employment rate was in the North East
  • the highest overall employment rates were in the South and the East of England
  • the highest employment rate out of all ethnic groups and regions was for people in the White Other ethnic group living in the East of England (86%),
  • the lowest rate was for people in the Other ethnic group living in the North East (44%)

10. 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 household survey in the UK and covers topics, including:

  • personal characteristics
  • labour market status
  • work characteristics
  • education
  • health

The purpose of the APS is to provide information on social and socio-economic variables at local levels, such as labour market estimates.

The published statistics also allow the government to monitor estimates between Censuses.

11. Download the data

Employment by local authority - Spreadsheet (csv) 2 MB

This file contains the following variables: Measure, Measure_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Time, Time_type, Local_authority, Age, Value, Confidence_interval, Numerator, Denominator, Sample_size

Employment by region - Spreadsheet (csv) 3 MB

This file contains the following variables: Measure, Measure_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Time, Time_type, Region, Age, Age_type, Sex, Value, Confidence_interval, Numerator, Denominator, Sample_size

Employment quarterly data - Spreadsheet (csv) 20 KB

This file contains the following: Measure, Measure_type, Time, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Value.