Employment

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 75% of working age people (people aged 16 to 64) in England, Wales and Scotland were employed in 2018
  • 77% of White people were employed, compared with 65% 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 from 16 percentage points in 2004 to 12 percentage points in 2018
  • the highest employment rate was in the Other White ethnic group, at 82%
  • the lowest employment rate was in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group, at 57%
  • the biggest employment rate increases were in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group (up by 13 percentage points) and the Other White ethnic group (up by 11 percentage points)
  • the highest employment rates for most ethnic groups were generally found in the South and East of England and the lowest were generally found in the North
Things you need to know

In 2018, the total working age population (people aged 16 to 64 years) in England, Wales and Scotland was just over 40 million. Of those, just over 34 million people were White, and nearly 6 million people were from all other ethnic groups combined.

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 30 responses have been withheld from results for 'All' groups. Values based on fewer than 100 responses have been withheld from results for specific ethnic groups. This is both:

  • to protect respondents’ confidentiality
  • because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions

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 (LFS).

The APS updated its ethnicity questions in 2011 so they were 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.

Download the data for both the data shown and additional estimates for:

  • the 2 broad ethnic groups (White and Other than White) at the lower local authority level
  • the Other than White ethnic group broken down by age, gender and over time
  • data by ethnicity and age over time for all age groups
  • quarterly data for 2 broad ethnic groups (White and Other than White)
What the data measures

This data measures the employment rate for different ethnic groups in England, Wales and Scotland. Data is also broken down by gender, age group, area and disability.

The employment rate is the number of people in employment as a percentage of the total working age population (people 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, which is a general household survey covering the UK. It uses data from the Labour Force Survey as well as other local data.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Data is shown for the following ethnic groups:

Asian:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani and Bangladeshi
  • Asian Other (including Chinese)

Black

Mixed

White:

  • White British
  • White Other

Other

Data broken down by local authority is shown in the download files. For this data, the number of people surveyed 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 than White – all other ethnic minorities

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

2. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of 16 to 64 year olds who were employed, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of people employed
All 75 30,116,600
Asian 66 2,084,600
Indian 76 856,200
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 57 715,600
Asian Other 64 512,900
Black 67 940,900
Mixed 67 365,800
White 77 26,212,300
White British 76 23,733,100
White Other 82 2,479,200
Other 61 488,300

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • 75% of working age people (aged 16 to 64) in England, Scotland and Wales were employed in 2018
  • 82% of people from the Other White ethnic group were employed, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • 57% of people from the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group were employed, the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups

3. 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 % Number of people employed % Number of people employed % 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

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

This data shows that:

  • in 2018, the employment rate was higher for the White ethnic group (77%) compared with all other ethnic groups combined (65%)
  • the difference in the employment rates for White people and those from all other ethnic groups combined decreased from 16 percentage points in 2004 to 12 percentage points in 2018
  • the third quarter of 2018 (July to September) had the highest employment rate for ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities) at 67% – download the data for quarterly figures

4. 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
% % % % % % % % % % % % % % %
All 73 73 73 73 72 71 70 70 71 71 72 74 74 75 75
Asian 57 57 58 58 59 59 59 not collected 59 59 62 63 63 64 66
Indian 68 69 69 69 69 68 70 not collected 69 69 71 71 73 74 76
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 44 44 45 45 46 47 46 not collected 48 49 52 53 54 55 57
Asian Other 58 60 60 61 64 63 59 not collected 60 59 62 64 63 64 64
Black 60 61 62 63 61 58 60 not collected 60 61 62 65 67 67 67
Mixed 62 62 65 63 60 60 61 not collected 60 62 63 65 64 67 67
White 74 74 74 74 74 72 72 not collected 72 73 74 75 76 77 77
White British 74 74 74 74 74 72 72 not collected 72 73 74 75 75 76 76
White Other 71 73 74 75 75 74 74 not collected 75 76 77 79 80 81 82
Other 55 57 55 58 58 56 56 not collected 56 57 57 59 61 62 61

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • between 2004 and 2018, the employment rate increased in every ethnic group
  • the biggest increases were in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group, where the employment rate went up from 44% to 57% (up by 13 percentage points) and the Other White ethnic group, where the rate went up from 71% to 82% (up by 11 percentage points)
  • the smallest increase was in the White British ethnic group, where the employment rate went up from 74% to 76% (up by 2 percentage points)

5. By ethnicity and gender

Percentage and number of 16 to 64 year olds who were employed, by ethnicity and gender
All Men Women
Ethnicity % Number of people employed % Number of people employed % Number of people employed
All 75 30,116,600 80 15,895,800 71 14,220,800
Asian 66 2,084,600 77 1,212,000 54 872,600
Indian 76 856,200 83 476,300 69 379,900
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 57 715,600 75 480,800 39 234,800
Asian Other 64 512,900 71 254,900 58 258,000
Black 67 940,900 72 470,500 63 470,300
Mixed 67 365,800 71 186,300 63 179,500
White 77 26,212,300 81 13,733,200 73 12,479,000
White British 76 23,733,100 80 12,444,400 73 11,288,700
White Other 82 2,479,200 88 1,288,800 76 1,190,400
Other 61 488,300 70 280,200 51 208,100

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

Summary

This 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 75% of men and 39% of women were employed (a 36 percentage point difference)
  • the gap was smallest in the White British ethnic group, where 80% of men and 73% of women were employed (a 7 percentage point difference)
  • for both men and women, the highest employment rate was in the Other White ethnic group (88% for men, 76% for women)
  • the lowest employment rate among women was in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group, at 39%
  • the lowest employment rate among men was in the Other ethnic group, at 70%

6. 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 % Number of people employed % Number of people employed % Number of people employed % Number of people employed
All 54 3,656,100 84 17,725,400 72 8,735,200 75 30,116,600
Asian 37 231,700 75 1,502,900 66 350,000 66 2,084,600
Indian 43 67,200 84 621,800 73 167,100 76 856,200
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 37 116,600 66 517,000 53 82,000 57 715,600
Asian other 29 47,900 75 364,000 67 100,900 64 512,900
Black 33 96,200 76 584,300 75 260,400 67 940,900
Mixed 46 84,600 80 231,500 70 49,600 67 365,800
White 58 3,195,100 86 15,044,100 72 7,973,100 77 26,212,300
White British 58 2,998,500 86 13,143,900 72 7,590,800 76 23,733,100
White other 53 196,600 87 1,900,300 79 382,300 82 2,479,200
Other 31 46,100 68 349,600 64 92,600 61 488,300

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • the total employment rate was 54% for 16 to 24 year olds, 84% for 25 to 49 year olds, and 72% for 50 to 64 year olds
  • among 16 to 24 year olds, the highest employment rate was in the White British ethnic group (58%), and the lowest was in the Other Asian group (29%)
  • among 25 to 49 year olds, the highest employment rate was in the Other White ethnic group (87%), and the lowest was in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi group (66%)
  • among 50 to 64 year olds, the highest employment rate was in the Other White ethnic group (79%), and the lowest was in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi group (53%)
  • 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 77% of White people and 65% of those from ethnic minorities were employed – download the data to see these figures in detail

7. 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
% % % % % % % % % % % % % % %
All 60 59 58 57 56 53 50 49 50 50 51 54 54 54 54
Asian 37 36 39 35 37 33 30 not collected 31 28 30 33 31 34 37
Indian 44 42 47 45 42 37 38 not collected 41 33 34 35 35 43 43
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 33 35 36 30 34 32 30 not collected 30 28 32 35 32 32 37
Asian Other 34 32 32 31 33 28 22 not collected 23 24 24 27 27 29 29
Black 36 35 38 38 31 28 27 not collected 27 27 31 32 37 34 33
Mixed 49 46 49 49 44 41 36 not collected 41 43 43 42 39 47 46
White 63 62 61 61 60 56 54 not collected 53 54 55 58 58 58 58
White British 63 62 61 61 59 56 54 not collected 53 54 55 58 58 59 58
White Other 56 62 65 61 63 57 55 not collected 48 51 49 55 56 55 53
Other 36 36 34 37 37 30 29 not collected 26 25 26 34 32 30 31

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

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.

This data shows that:

  • between 2004 and 2018, the total employment rate among 16 to 24 year olds went down from 60% to 54%
  • the biggest decreases were in the White British ethnic group (where the employment rate went down from 63% to 58%) and the Other Asian group (where it went down from 34% to 29%)

8. 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 75 75 78 74 71 74 74 78 79 73 73 74
Asian 66 65 71 68 62 58 59 72 71 62 62 57
Indian 76 72 83 79 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 69 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 81 76 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 72 71
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 57 57 58 59 60 56 59 66 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 55 51
Asian Other 64 52 73 66 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 51 54 67 67 59 63 68
Black 67 64 83 66 58 68 56 72 72 56 64 70
Mixed 67 61 73 68 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 62 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 76 71 76 57 69
White 77 76 78 80 72 76 75 79 79 74 76 75
White British 76 76 78 78 72 76 75 79 79 74 76 75
White Other 82 81 83 83 73 81 78 81 86 80 81 82
Other 61 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 79 61 45 53 50 70 60 62 58 53

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • the lowest employment rates were in the North of England and Scotland
  • the highest employment rates were in the South and the East of England
  • out of all combinations of ethnicity and area where data was reliable, the highest employment rate was for people in the Other White ethnic group living in the South West, at 86%
  • the lowest rate was for people in the Other ethnic group living in the North East, at 45%

9. By ethnicity, disability and gender

Percentage of 16 to 64 year olds who were employed, by ethnicity, disability and gender
All Men Women
Ethnicity All (%) Disabled (%) Non-disabled (%) All (%) Disabled (%) Non-disabled (%) All (%) Disabled (%) Non-disabled (%)
All 75 51 81 80 52 85 71 51 76
Asian 66 48 69 77 59 80 54 39 58
Indian 76 58 79 83 62 86 69 55 71
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 57 42 61 75 60 78 39 26 42
Asian Other 64 48 66 71 53 74 58 44 60
Black 67 44 71 72 42 76 63 45 66
Mixed 67 44 72 71 48 76 63 41 69
White 77 52 83 81 52 87 73 52 79
White British 76 52 83 80 52 86 73 52 79
White Other 82 62 84 88 67 90 76 59 78
Other 61 40 65 70 41 76 51 40 54

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2018, the total employment rate was 51% among disabled people and 81% among non-disabled people
  • in every ethnic group, disabled people had a lower employment rate than non-disabled people
  • disabled men had a lower employment rate than non-disabled men in every ethnic group
  • disabled women had a lower employment rate than non-disabled women in every ethnic group except the Other ethnic group, where the difference was not meaningful
  • among disabled people, the lowest employment rate was in the Other ethnic group (at 40%) and the highest was in the Other White ethnic group (at 62%)
  • the biggest gap between disabled men and women was in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group, where 60% of disabled men and 26% of disabled women were employed

10. Methodology

The Annual Population Survey is a continuous household survey. Most people are interviewed in person first, and later by telephone.

The sample is formed from:

  • waves 1 and 5 of the Labour Force Survey (in which selected addresses are contacted every 3 months)
  • 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. 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.

People 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.

Weighting:

The sample of approximately 275,000 people undergoes weighting at local authority level, using age and sex dimensions.

Weighting adjusts the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and make them more reliable.

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.

Confidence intervals:

Download the data for confidence intervals for each ethnic group.

The data from the APS is based on a sample of the population in England, Wales and Scotland, rather than the whole population. The estimates obtained from this sample are reliable estimates but it’s impossible to be 100% certain of the true percentage for the whole population. For example it is estimated that 65.5% of people of working age in the Asian ethnic group were employed in 2018, with a 95% confidence interval of 64.1% to 66.9%.

This means that the actual employment rate is likely to be somewhere between 64.1% (lower confidence interval) and 66.9% (upper confidence interval). In statistical terms, this means that if 100 samples were taken, 95 times out of 100 the estimated Asian employment rate would be between 64.1% and 66.9%. 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 accuracy of the estimates for the Asian group. This greater uncertainty is expressed by a wider confidence interval compared with the White ethnic group (of between 76.6% and 77.2%).

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.

Rounding

Estimates in the charts and tables are rounded to whole percentages. Estimates in the download file are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Quality and methodology information

11. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official 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 government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between Censuses.

12. Download the data

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) 6 KB

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

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 occupation

Unemployment

Employment by sector