Permanent and temporary employment

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 95% of working age people (16 to 64 year olds) who were employed in 2019 were in permanent employment – 5% were in temporary employment

  • 95% of employees from the White British and Indian ethnic groups were in permanent employment – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups

  • 9% of employees from the Black and Other ethnic groups were in temporary employment – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups

  • 5% of White British female employees were in temporary employment, compared with 4% of White British male employees

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the number and percentage of working age people (16 to 64 year olds) in employment who were in permanent and temporary work in their main job. The data covers employees in England, Wales and Scotland.

A person of working age is 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

An employee is in temporary employment if they have a fixed-period contract, or are doing one of the following:

  • agency temping
  • casual work
  • seasonal work
  • other temporary work

In the Annual Population Survey, respondents decide if they are in permanent or temporary employment.

Percentages in the charts and tables are rounded to whole numbers, but have been worked out with unrounded figures. Totals in the download file have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Not included in the data

The data does not include estimates based on fewer than:

  • 30 survey respondents for data which includes all ethnic groups together
  • 100 survey respondents for data by ethnicity

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

The ethnic categories used in this 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 the White British and White Other ethnic groups. 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.

Data for 2004 and 2005 is not comparable with later years. This is because the permanent or temporary employment status was not known for a large percentage of employees.

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, and by region and sex for all ethnic groups
  • confidence intervals for each ethnic group – see how we use confidence intervals to demonstrate the reliability of survey estimates
  • sample sizes
  • estimates rounded to 1 decimal place
  • estimates for employees whose employment status was not known

3. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of 16 to 64 year old employees who were in permanent and temporary employment, by ethnicity
Permanent Temporary
Ethnicity Permanent % Permanent Number Temporary % Temporary Number
Asian 94 1,653,800 6 109,400
Indian 95 728,000 5 39,100
Pakistani and Bangladeshi 93 506,700 7 38,800
Asian Other 93 419,100 7 31,600
Black 91 801,500 9 76,900
Mixed 92 290,100 8 25,000
White 95 21,478,100 5 1,073,700
White British 95 19,491,200 5 934,700
White Other 93 1,986,800 7 138,900
Other 91 372,200 9 35,300
All 95 24,605,300 5 1,321,400

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

Summary of Permanent and temporary employment By ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • 95% of working age people (16 to 64 year olds) who were employed in 2019 were in permanent employment, and 5% were in temporary employment

  • 95% of employees from the White British and Indian ethnic groups were in permanent employment – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups

  • 9% of employees from the Black and Other ethnic groups were in temporary employment – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups

4. By ethnicity over time (permanent employment only)

Percentage of employees in permanent work, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
% % % % % % % % % % % % % % % %
All 94 95 94 94 95 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 95 95
Asian 91 91 91 92 92 92 91 not collected 91 91 92 92 93 92 93 94
Indian 92 91 90 93 93 92 91 not collected 92 91 92 93 94 93 94 95
Pakistani and Bangladeshi 91 92 92 91 91 93 90 not collected 89 92 91 91 92 92 93 93
Asian other including Chinese 92 89 91 92 91 89 90 not collected 91 91 91 92 92 92 91 93
Black 92 90 92 92 92 94 91 not collected 90 91 89 89 90 88 89 91
Mixed 91 93 93 90 91 90 91 not collected 89 87 90 90 91 91 92 92
White 94 95 95 95 95 95 94 not collected 94 94 94 94 94 95 95 95
White British 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 not collected 94 94 94 95 95 95 95 95
White other 90 91 91 92 92 92 92 not collected 91 91 92 91 91 92 92 93
Other 87 89 89 88 89 88 93 not collected 90 92 91 91 90 91 91 91

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

Summary of Permanent and temporary employment By ethnicity over time (permanent employment only) Summary

The data shows that, between 2004 and 2019:

  • the percentage of employees who were in permanent employment was consistently between 94% and 95%

  • in every ethnic group except the Black group, the percentage of employees in permanent employment was higher in 2019 than in 2004

  • there was a small decrease for Black employees, where the percentage in permanent employment went down from 92% to 91%

  • the percentage of White employees in permanent employment went up from 94% to 95%

5. By ethnicity over time (temporary employment only)

Percentage of 16 to 64 year old employees who were in temporary employment, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
% % % % % % % % % % % % % % % %
All 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 5
Asian 9 9 9 8 8 8 9 not collected 9 9 8 8 7 8 7 6
Indian 8 9 10 7 7 8 9 not collected 8 9 7 7 6 7 6 5
Pakistani and Bangladeshi 9 8 9 9 9 7 10 not collected 10 8 8 9 8 8 8 7
Asian other including Chinese 8 11 9 8 9 11 10 not collected 9 8 9 8 8 8 8 7
Black 9 10 8 8 8 6 9 not collected 10 9 10 11 10 12 11 9
Mixed 9 7 7 10 9 10 9 not collected 11 13 10 10 9 10 8 8
White 6 5 5 5 5 5 6 not collected 6 6 6 6 6 5 5 5
White British 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 not collected 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 5
White other 10 9 9 8 8 8 8 not collected 9 9 8 9 9 8 8 7
Other 13 11 11 11 11 11 7 not collected 10 8 9 9 10 9 8 9

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

Summary of Permanent and temporary employment By ethnicity over time (temporary employment only) Summary

The data shows that, between 2004 and 2019:

  • the percentage of employees who were in temporary employment was 5% or 6% in every year

  • the percentage of White employees who were in temporary employment went down from 6% to 5%

  • there were no reliable differences over time in any other ethnic group

6. By ethnicity and gender

Percentage and number of 16 to 64 year old employees who were in temporary and permanent employment, by ethnicity and gender
Men Women
Ethnicity Men % Permanent Men Number Permanent Men % Temporary Men Number Temporary Women % Permanent Women Number Permanent Women % Temporary Women Number Temporary
All 95 12,408,300 5 601,900 94 12,197,000 6 719,500
Asian 94 903,100 5 51,900 93 750,700 7 57,500
Black 91 354,500 9 34,300 91 447,100 9 42,600
Mixed 92 140,700 8 11,700 92 149,400 8 13,300
White 96 10,809,100 4 481,900 95 10,669,000 5 591,800
Other 90 197,000 10 21,000 92 175,200 8 14,400

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

Summary of Permanent and temporary employment By ethnicity and gender Summary

The data shows that, among people in employment:

  • 6% of women were in temporary employment in 2019, compared with 5% of men

  • 5% of White British women were in temporary employment, compared with 4% of White British men

  • although the data appears to show differences between men and women in the Asian and Other ethnic groups, these differences are not reliable

7. 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.

8. Download the data

Permanent and temporary employment - Spreadsheet (csv) 1 MB

This file contains the following: Measure, Employment_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Time, Time_Type, Region, Gender, Value, Value_type, Confidence_interval, Numerator, Denominator, Sample_size.