Employment and ethnicity


To help understand the variations in employment rates among broad ethnic groups, this articles draws upon results from the 2011 census and the 2015 annual population survey (APS).  The census results have been derived from the office for national statistics whilst the full range of APS results can be obtained from the Nomis labour market statistics website.

The annual population survey (APS) is a survey of households in Great Britain, with the purpose to provide information on key social and socio-economic variables between the 10-yearly censuses. The first publication of APS data covered the period January to December 2004. Subsequently, APS data have been published on a quarterly basis, but with each publication covering a year's data.

At the Lancashire level, some APS results are just too susceptible to statistical error to offer an accurate assessment, and in the case of relatively small numbers of particular ethnic groups in the county, figures for employment by gender are too volatile.  It is therefore necessary in some instances to just rely on the national results and hope that they also reflect what is happening within the county.

For the year to December 2015, there were 246,383 people surveyed in Great Britain, with 4,746 of these interviews taking place in the Lancashire-14 area. 

Employment rates by ethnicity from the annual population survey 

Table 1 lists the APS employment numbers and rates by six ethnic groups for Great Britain for 2015. The numbers for the smaller ethnic minority groups in the Lancashire-14 area are too volatile to include in table 1 because of the small sample size. 

At the national level, the white ethnic group accounted for a large majority of those in employment, and with a total employment rate of 75.3%, had the highest employment rate. The rate for the Indian community (71.2%) was the second highest, whilst the rates for the four other ethnic groups were somewhat lower. The employment rate for the Pakistani/Bangladeshi community was only 53.2% and was by far the lowest of the six ethnic groups.

The differences in employment rates between the genders reveal some significant issues. The overall female rate of in 2015 of 68.7% was somewhat lower than the male rate of 78.6%. For the Pakistani/Bangladeshi community, the low female employment rate of 34.2% was the prime reason for the low overall rate for the ethnic group.

Table 1 also details the overall employment rates for Lancashire-14. At 72.6% for both genders, the rate was one percentage point lower than the national average.


Table 1. Employment rate (16-64 years), January 2015 to December 2015 

Ethnic group
Great Britain
  All in employment Males Females
All 29,118,100 15,448,700 13,669,400
Employment rate  73.6% 78.6% 68.7%
White 25,658,900 13,541,400 12,117,500
Employment rate  75.3% 79.7% 71.0%
Mixed 297,400 138,600 158,800
Employment rate  64.4% 67.1% 62.2%
Indian 796,300 462,000 334,300
Employment rate  71.2% 79.7% 62.1%
Pakistani/Bangladeshi 583,800 401,900 181,900
Employment rate  53.2% 71.2% 34.2%
Black 850,600 395,400 455,200
Employment rate  65.0% 68.5% 62.3%
Other ethnic group 898,500 493,100 405,300
Employment rate  61.4% 69.7% 53.7%
All  661,000 345,200 315,800
Employment rate  72.6% 76.2% 68.9%

Source Annual Population Survey  

Ethnic populations from the 2011 census

Table 2 presents the percentages of people in the Lancashire area that are allocated to various ethnic groups. The white ethnic group is more prevalent than the national average in the Lancashire-12 area and in Blackpool, but in Blackburn with Darwen the percentage is much lower.  The authority has high percentages in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities that at the national level have low female employment rates.  The county council area also has a higher proportion in the Pakistani ethnic group than the national average. 

Table 2. Ethnic groups in Lancashire and England and Wales, 2011 Census 

  Lancashire-12 Blackburn with Darwen Blackpool England and Wales
Total persons 1,171.339 147,489 142,065 56,075,912
White 92.3% 69.1% 96.6% 85.9%
Mixed 1.1% 1.2% 1.2% 2.2%
Indian 1.6% 13.4% 0.4% 2.5%
Pakistani 3.1% 12.1% 0.2% 2.0%
Bangladeshi 0.5% 1.0% 0.2% 0.8%
Chinese 0.4% 0.5% 0.4% 0.7%
Other Asian 0.4% 1.1% 0.5% 1.5%
Black 0.4% 0.6% 0.2% 3.4%
Arab 0.1% 0.4% 0.1% 0.4%
Other 0.1% 0.4% 0.1% 0.6%

Source: 2011 Census of Population (table KS201)

Page updated April 2016