33 Remarkable UK Employment Statistics

Employment statistics are an indication of the health of an economy. The more people who are in work, the more productive and, often, the happier a society becomes.

Here’s the deal:

In 2019, we are in a golden era for the labour market. UK employment statistics indicate that the economy is at full employment – a technical term that economists use that describes the point at which further increases in jobs numbers will lead to inflation. 

Check out the following employment stats for the UK economy as a whole as well as individual sectors:

Mind-blowing Employment Facts And Statistics (Editor’s Pick)

  • 80.6% of people work in the UK service sector. 
  • 9.3% of people in the UK work in manufacturing.
  • Self-employment in the construction sector is 37%, more than three times the national average. 
  • 26.5% of ex-offenders find employment one year after leaving prison.
  • 17.3% of UK workers work in banking, finance, and insurance.
  • Full-time, men work 39 hours per week, compared to 34 hours per week for full-time women.

Employment Statistics UK

Take a look at the following employment statistics from the UK:

1. “Hidden unemployment” may be as high as 3 million in the UK.

(Guardian)

Researchers from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Centre of Cities thinktank believe that hidden unemployment in the UK might add up to a staggering 3 million people. These figures take into consideration people who would like to be in work but have stopped looking because of something preventing them from getting a job, such as a disability. The real UK unemployment rate, according to the think tank, is more in the region of 13%, not the headline 3 to 4% quoted by the government, which is also supported by these UK unemployment statistics.

2. Single employment tribunal caseloads outstanding increased by 19% in 2019. 

(Ministry of Justice)

Employment tribunal statistics from the Ministry of Justice reveal that the number of tribunal cases outstanding rose by nearly 20% to the middle of 2019 from a year earlier. The total number of such cases currently stands at a whopping 602,000. 

3. 32,753,000 people are employed in the UK.

 (Trading Economics) 

The latest data shows that the total number of people employed in the UK is currently just shy of 33 million. The total population of the UK is approximately 66 million, suggesting that one in two people is now in work. The remaining people are either in retirement, education, unemployed, or not engaged in formal employment that the government can track. 

4. Graduate unemployment is 5.1%, just 0.2% above the lowest ever.

(Prospects)

Graduate employment statistics indicate that graduate unemployment is now just 5.1%, just a smidge higher than the record low 4.9% recorded in 1979 when records began. The cause of the low unemployment rate appears to be skills shortages across a wide variety of sectors in the UK, including engineering, IT, accountancy, marketing, and finance. The skills shortage has also led to an increase in the average starting salaries for graduates, to £22,399. 

5. 65% of deaf people in the UK are in employment, compared to 79% of the general population.

(Gov.uk)

Nearly two-thirds of people with hearing loss are employed according to deaf employment statistics in the UK. However, that is lower than the rate for the general population of 79%. There are currently 151,000 BSL users in the UK, and 50% have poor mental health, compared to 25% for the general population. 

6. 83% of male migrants are employed compared to 79% of men born in the UK.

(The Migration Observatory)

Immigrant employment statistics in the UK from The Migration Observatory suggest that 83% of male migrants find work, which is a slightly higher rate than the comparable figure for men born in the UK. Migrant women, however, are less likely to be in work. Data shows that 66% are working, compared to 72% of UK-born women. 

7. 26.5% of ex-offenders find employment one year after leaving prison.

(House of Commons)

According to ex-offenders employment statistics in the UK, 26.5% of people who serve a prison sentence find employment one year after their release from jail. 

Many employers automatically filter out anyone who indicates they have a criminal record on an employment application, making it harder for these people to find work. Having a criminal record, however, isn’t synonymous with serving a prison sentence. More than 11 million people in the UK have criminal records, mostly for driving offences. 

8. 74.8% of people of working age in London are in work.

(Gov.uk)

London employment statistics show that nearly three-quarters of people of working age are in work. This figure is very similar to the UK’s overall employment rate of 75.9%. 

9. 18% of the UK’s working-age population is disabled.

(St Andrews)

UK employment statistics suggest that more than 7 million workers have a disability, as defined by the 2010 Equality Act. Disability employment statistics for the UK also show that 2% of the working-age population becomes disabled every year. 

10. There are 670,000 black and minority ethnic workers in employment in the UK.

(Gov.uk)

The most recent ethnic minority employment statistics for the UK suggest that there are 670,000 black and minority ethnic people in employment. The current ethnic minority employment rate is 62.8%. 

11. 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health issues in the workplace.

(Mental Health)

Mental health and employment statistics from the Mental Health Foundation suggest that more than one in seven people in employment in the UK experiences mental health issues at work. Women are twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as men. 

12. One in eight trans employees have been physically attacked by their colleagues at work.

(Stonewall)

Transgender employment discrimination statistics from Stonewall suggest that 12% of trans employees have been physically attacked by their coworkers or customers in the last year. So, more than 51% of trans people hide their LGBT status in the workplace for fear of discrimination. 

13. 4.8 million people are self-employed in the UK.

(ONS)

Self-employment statistics reveal that the number of people classified as self-employed in the UK has grown from 3.3 million in 2001 to more than 4.8 million in 2017, according to the ONS. The rate of growth has been most rapid in the workforce aged 45 to 64 and slower in the younger working population. 

14. The average welder in the UK makes £10.77 per hour. 

(Payscale)

Welding employment statistics from Payscale suggest that welders now earn an average of £10.77 per hour, with salaries in the range of £25,600 per year. 

15. 8.65 million people aged 15 to 64 are not economically active.

(ONS)

UK workforce statistics suggest that there are more than 8.65 people in the country who are not economically active. In 2019, that figure was 100,000 lower than it was in 2018. 

16. 78% of women in the UK are now in employment or self-employment.

(IFS)

Female employment statistics for the UK from the IFS suggests that the proportion of women of working age in employment has grown from 57% in 1975 to more than 78% as of the end of 2018, with that number expected to continue to grow. Historically, female labour force participation grew fastest between 1985 and 1990 and then more slowly after that. 

17. 9 million women work full time in the UK and 6.3 million work part-time.

(House of Commons)

Women comprise a substantial chunk of the UK’s labour force. More than 9 million work in full-time employment and 6.3 million work part-time. Women primarily choose to work in sectors such as health, education and public administration.

UK Employment Statistics-jobs

UK Employment Statistics by Occupation

How do different sectors of the UK economy shape up in terms of employment? Let’s take a look. 

18. 29.7% of the total UK workforce is employed in public administration, education, and health.

(Gov.uk)

Data from the Office of National Statistics reports that 29.7% of people in work in the UK are employed in either health, education, or public administration. Included in these figures is everyone who works in schools, hospitals, and government departments. It is the largest sector of the economy as measured by the number of workers. 

19. 80.6% of people work in the UK service sector. 

(Gov.uk)

The UK is a service-dominated economy, meaning that more people work in jobs that provide intangible products, like accounting or legal advice, than those who produce physical goods. In recent years, as the economy has developed and specialised, the proportion of people working in service sector roles has gone up. These jobs can be high-paying, although that’s not necessarily the case. Many of the posts added to the UK service roster are low-paid clerical and food-service roles. 

20. 9.3% of people in the UK work in manufacturing.

(Gov.uk)

Manufacturing was once the primary employer for British workers. But services have since usurped it, following certain trends in the structure of the UK economy. According to these shocking manufacturing job loss stats, factories now employ a mere 9.3% of all UK workers. 

Interesting fact:

The traditional decline in the sector has gone into reverse over the last seven years, with both output and jobs growing steadily since 2011.

21. 1.1% of UK residents are employed in agriculture and fishing.

(Gov.uk)

Agriculture employment statistics UK show that just 1.1% of workers are employed in the sector, the overwhelming majority of whom are white. Only 0.1% of the agricultural workforce is black, and just 0.2% is of mixed race. 

22. 7.4% of the UK workforce is employed in construction.

(Gov.uk)

Data on UK employment by industry show that 7.4% of people work in construction. Indians, Pakistanis, blacks, Chinese and people of mixed race are underrepresented in the sector. 

23. The average UK manufacturing worker makes £617 per week.

(Trading Economics)

UK employment by sector statistics shows that the average wage in manufacturing is £617 per week, which is £85 per week more than the average weekly salary across the entire economy (£542). 

24. Self-employment in the construction sector is 37%, more than three times the national average. 

(House of Commons)

Construction employment statistics UK from the House of Commons Library, reveal that self-employment in the construction sector is 37%. That compares to an average rate across the rest of the economy of just 11%. 

The next highest sector for self-employment is the arts and entertainment, where around 25 per cent of people are classified as self-employed. Only 6% of people are self-employed in the accommodation and food sector, and just 7% in manufacturing and retail.

UK Employment Statistics-occupation

Male vs Female Employment Statistics

Men and women differ in their employment characteristics. Take a look at the following: 

25. 42% of women work part-time, compared to 12% of men.

(ONS)

While labour participation rates for women have increased dramatically, women do not work as long hours as men. Data from the Office for National Statistics suggest that 42% of women aged 16 to 64 are in part-time employment, compared to just 12% of men. 

26. Full-time, men work 39 hours per week, compared to 34 hours per week for women.

(Statista)

Women tend to work five fewer hours per week than men, according to data collected by the Statista. The reasons for this may have to do with the nature of work that women do, the types of contracts they sign, and their labour supply preferences. 

27. The female employment rate is 71.4% compared to the male rate of 80.3%.

(House of Commons)

UK employment statistics suggest that the labour force participation rate for women is around nine percentage points lower than for men. Research by the House of Commons indicates that 71.4% of women of working age are in employment, compared to more than 80.3% of men. 

28. 17.3% of UK workers work in banking, finance, and insurance.

(Gov.uk) 

The UK economy depends heavily on banking, finance, and insurance. Finance sector employment statistics show that more than 17% of the workforce is engaged in this sector, with equal representation across most ethnicities. UK employment figures show that 16.5% of blacks and 20.9% of Indians are employed in the industry.

UK Employment Statistics-work

UK Employment Statistics 2019

What is the state of employment in the UK in 2019? Let’s take a look at some recent data. 

29. The UK unemployment rate was 3.8% in the third quarter of 2019.

(Trading Economics)

The number of people unemployed in the UK in 2019 was just about as low as it has ever been, with the lowest recorded rate being 3.4% in 1979. 

Unemployment typically doesn’t fall much lower than 4%, even in a booming economy because of so-called ‘frictional unemployment’. It never goes to zero because of the need for a certain percentage of the workforce to transition from one kind of job to another as the economy changes. 

30. Creative industries employed 2.04 million people in 2019.

(Creative Industries Federation)

According to creative industries employment statistics from the Creative Industries Federation, more than two million people in the UK have a job in the creative industry. 95% of those are employed in micro-businesses with less than ten people. 

31. 5.42 million people are employed in the UK public sector as of June 2019.

(ONS)

Public sector employment statistics from the ONS show that there are nearly 5 and a half million people employed in the public sector in the UK. Around 16.5% of all people in paid work is in the public sector. 

32. 11.8% of 16 to 24-year-olds were classified as unemployed between May and June 2019.

(House of Commons)

Youth employment statistics from the Commons Library suggest that youth unemployment currently runs at nearly 12%, more than twice as high as the rate for the general population. 

33. 315,000 people are employed in the UK insurance industry.

(ABI)

Health insurance industry employment statistics suggest that the insurance industry in Britain is the largest in Europe, employing more than 315,000 people. The industry as a whole protects a mammoth £1.8 trillion of assets and pays nearly £12 billion in taxes every year. Employment stats UK suggest that insurance companies provide two-thirds of the overall insurance employment, with brokers and other ancillary services comprising the remainder.

UK Employment Statistics-economy

Wrap-up

And there you have it – the latest UK employment statistics to bring you up to speed with the state of the UK economy as we head into a new decade. 

Did you find any of them particularly bracing or, conversely, alarming? Which ones interested you the most? Let us know in the comments below.

FAQ

Q: What are employment statistics?

A: Employment stats UK are summaries of data that provides information related to work, jobs, and the number of people working in the economy. 

Q: What is the current employment rate?

A: The current employment rate is 76.1%. 

Q: What percentage of the current UK workforce is female?

A: UK employment statistics show that there are currently more than 32.7 million people employed in the country. Of those, 15.3 million are women, so 46.7% of the UK workforce is female. 

Overall, UK employment conditions remain favourable. However, a downturn in the global economy, Brexit, or a new financial crisis could lead to rapid deterioration in the figures presented here.  

Sources: