Employment

The main facts and figures show that:

  • 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)
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.

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. When further breaking down the data by individual ethnic groups, any values based on fewer than 100 responses have been withheld. This is to protect respondents’ confidentiality or because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.

Data is sourced from the APS to get more detailed information such as employment by 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.

Changes were made to the APS ethnicity questions in 2011, to make them more consistent with ethnicity questions in the national Census and Scottish Census. As a result, there may be some inconsistencies between estimates from before and after 2011, and data on employment rates for individual ethnic groups in 2011 is not available.

Download the data for additional estimates for the broad White and Other ethnic groups at the lower local authority level, and estimates for the Other ethnic group analysed by age, gender and over time.

What the data measures

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

This employment rate is calculated as 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 or Bangladeshi
  • Any other Asian ethnicity (including Chinese)

Black

Mixed/multiple ethnicities

White:

  • 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).

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Employment by ethnicity

Percentage and number of people aged 16 to 64 years in employment within each ethnic group

Ethnicity % Employed people
All 75 29,943,000
Asian 64 2,029,000
Indian 74 842,000
Pakistani and Bangladeshi 55 658,000
Asian other inc Chinese 64 528,000
Black 67 865,000
Mixed 67 363,000
White 77 26,181,000
White British 76 23,645,000
White other 81 2,536,000
Other 62 486,000

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, in 2017, 75% of the working age population of England, Scotland and Wales (people aged 16 to 64 years) were in employment
  • in 2017, the Other White ethnic group had the highest employment rate out of all ethnic groups (81%), and the Pakistani/Bangladeshi group had the lowest (55%)
  • every ethnic minority group except the Other White group had a lower employment rate than the White British group (whose rate was 76%); the Indian ethnic group was the closest, at 74%, followed by the Mixed ethnic group, at 67%

Employment by ethnicity (White and Other ethnic groups)

Percentage of people aged 16 to 64 years who were in employment within the White ethnic group and all other ethnic groups combined (‘Other’)

Ethnicity % Employed people
All 75 29,943,000
White 77 26,181,000
Other than White 65 3,743,000

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017, the rate of employment was 77% for the White group and 65% for people from all other ethnic groups combined (shown here as ‘Other’)
  • the difference between the employment rate for the whole working age population and the rate for ethnic minorities (excluding White ethnic minorities) was 10 percentage points in 2017

Employment by ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of people aged 16 to 64 years in employment within each ethnic group over time

Ethnicity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
% % % % % % % % % % % % % %
All 73 73 73 73 72 71 70 70 71 71 72 74 74 75
Asian 57 57 58 58 59 59 59 N/A* 59 59 62 63 63 64
Indian 68 69 69 69 69 68 70 N/A* 69 69 71 71 73 74
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
Black 60 61 62 63 61 58 60 N/A* 60 61 62 65 67 67
Mixed 62 62 65 63 60 60 61 N/A* 60 62 63 65 64 67
White 74 74 74 74 74 72 72 N/A* 72 73 74 75 76 77
White British 74 74 74 74 74 72 72 N/A* 72 73 74 75 75 76
White other 71 73 74 75 75 74 74 N/A* 75 76 77 79 80 81
Other 55 57 55 58 58 56 56 N/A* 56 57 57 59 61 62

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • the employment rates for all ethnic groups were higher in 2017 than in 2004; however, sample sizes are small for the Mixed, Other Asian and Other ethnic groups, so any generalisations based on these results are unreliable
  • between 2004 and 2017, the Pakistani/Bangladeshi ethnic group had the biggest increase in the employment rate, at 11 percentage points (from 44% to 55%), and the White British group had the smallest increase, at 2 percentage points (from 74% to 76%)
  • the rate of employment was higher in 2017 than in 2016 for all ethnic groups except the Black group (where the rate stayed the same); however, sample sizes for ethnic minority groups are small, so any generalisations based on these results are unreliable

Employment by ethnicity and gender

Percentage and number of people aged 16 to 64 years in employment within each ethnic group, by gender

All Men Women
Ethnicity % Employed people % Employed people % Employed people
All 75 29,943,000 80 15,818,000 70 14,125,000
Asian 64 2,029,000 75 1,181,000 53 848,000
Indian 74 842,000 82 471,000 66 371,000
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
Black 67 865,000 73 425,000 62 440,000
Mixed 67 363,000 69 174,000 66 189,000
White 77 26,181,000 81 13,750,000 73 12,431,000
White British 76 23,645,000 80 12,436,000 73 11,209,000
White other 81 2,536,000 89 1,315,000 74 1,221,000
Other 62 486,000 70 277,000 53 209,000

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017, the rate of employment for men was higher than the rate for women in all ethnic groups
  • the difference in the employment rate between men and women of the same ethnicity was largest in the Pakistani/Bangladeshi ethnic group, where 71% of men and 38% of women were employed (a gap of 33 percentage points)
  • the difference in the employment rate between men and women of the same ethnicity was smallest in the Mixed ethnic group, where 69% of men and 66% of women were employed (a gap of 3 percentage points)
  • the difference between rates of employment for Pakistani/Bangladeshi women (38%) and White British women (73%) was 35 percentage points
  • among women, those from the Other White ethnic group had the highest employment rate (74%), followed by White British women (73%) and Mixed ethnicity, and Indian women (both at 66%)
  • among men, those from the Other White ethnic group had the highest employment rate (89%), followed by Indian (82%) and White British men (80%); men with Mixed ethnicity had the lowest employment rate (69%)

Employment by ethnicity and age group

Percentage and number of people aged 16 to 64 years in employment within each ethnic group, by age group

16-24 25-49 50-64 All (16-64)
Ethnicity % Employed people % Employed people % Employed people % Employed people
All 54 3,745,000 84 17,678,000 71 8,519,000 75 29,943,000
Asian 34 222,000 74 1,466,000 65 341,000 64 2,029,000
Indian 44 76,000 83 608,000 69 158,000 74 842,000
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
Black 35 89,000 75 544,000 75 233,000 67 865,000
Mixed 48 88,000 81 229,000 64 46,000 67 363,000
White 58 3,305,000 86 15,068,000 71 7,808,000 77 26,181,000
White British 59 3,072,000 86 13,112,000 71 7,461,000 76 23,645,000
White other 55 233,000 87 1,956,000 73 347,000 81 2,536,000
Other 30 40,000 69 361,000 65 86,000 62 486,000

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017, among people aged 16 to 24 years, the White British group had the highest rate of employment (59%), while the Other Asian group had the lowest rate (29%)
  • among people aged 25 to 49 years, the Other White group had the highest rate of employment (87%), while the Pakistani/Bangladeshi group had the lowest rate (64%)
  • among people aged 50 to 64 years, the Black group had the highest rate of employment (75%), and the Pakistani/Bangladeshi group had the lowest rate (53%)
  • the difference between the employment rate for the whole population and the rate for ethnic minority groups (other than White minorities) was largest in the 16 to 24 age group, at 36% for ethnic minority groups compared with 54% overall (a difference of 19 percentage points) – download the data to see these figures in detail

Employment among 16 to 24 year olds by ethnicity over time

Percentage of people aged 16 to 24 years in employment within each ethnic group over time

Ethnicity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
% % % % % % % % % % % % % %
All 60 59 58 57 56 53 50 49 50 50 51 54 54 54
Asian 37 36 39 35 37 33 30 N/A* 31 28 30 33 31 34
Indian 44 42 47 45 42 37 38 N/A* 41 33 34 35 35 44
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
Black 36 35 38 38 31 28 27 N/A* 27 27 31 32 38 35
Mixed 49 46 49 49 44 41 36 N/A* 41 43 43 42 39 48
White 63 62 61 61 60 56 54 N/A* 53 54 55 58 58 58
White British 63 62 61 61 59 56 54 N/A* 53 54 55 58 58 59
White other 56 62 65 61 63 57 55 N/A* 48 51 49 55 56 55
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

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

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. See Economic inactivity due to full-time education for more information.

This data shows that:

  • between 2004 and 2017, the overall rate of employment among people aged 16 to 24 years fell from 60% to 54%; this pattern was seen in every ethnic group except the Indian group (where the rate stayed the same)
  • during the same period, the Other ethnic group saw the largest fall in the rate of employment for 16 to 24 year olds, from 36% to 30% (a decrease of 6 percentage points)
  • the Other Asian ethnic group saw the next largest fall in the rate of employment, from 34% in 2004 to 29% in 2017, followed by the White British ethnic group, from 63% in 2004 to 59% in 2017

Employment by ethnicity and area

Percentage of people aged 16 to 64 years in employment within each ethnic group, by 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 74 78 74 71 73 74 79 79 72 72 73
Asian 64 60 72 66 58 58 63 75 67 59 59 53
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
White 77 76 78 79 71 75 75 80 79 73 75 76
White British 76 76 78 78 71 75 75 79 79 73 75 75
White other 81 77 86 80 70 79 79 82 85 75 79 81
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

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • the lowest rates of employment for each ethnic group were generally seen in the North, including the North East (70% for White Other and 71% for White British), the North West (55% for Other, 62% for Mixed and 68% for Indian) and Yorkshire and The Humber (48% for Pakistani and Bangladeshi, 61% for Black)
  • the lowest rate of employment for the Other Asian ethnic group was seen in the West Midlands (51%)
  • the highest employment rates for all ethnic groups were seen in the South, including the South East (82% for Indian, 79% for White British, 71% for the Mixed ethnic group, and 68% for Pakistani/Bangladeshi), the East of England (86% for Other White, 81% for Other Asian, 75% for Black) and the South West (also 79% for White British)

Methodology

Methodology

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.

Weighting:

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:

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.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to whole numbers in charts and tables. Download the data to see the percentages rounded to 1 decimal place.

Quality and methodology information

Data sources

Source

Annual Population Survey

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Work and Pensions

Publication frequency

Quarterly

Purpose of data source

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

Download the data

Employment by local authority - Spreadsheet (csv) 716 KB

This file contains the following variables: measure, age_band, year, local_authority, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, value, confidence_interval, numerator, denominator, samp_size

Employment by region - Spreadsheet (csv) 1 MB

This file contains the following variables: measure, year, region, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, sex, age_band, value, confidence_interval, numerator, denominator, samp_size