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Statistical bulletin: Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 30 September 2011 Download PDF

Headline figures

  • There were 26.8 million employees in the United Kingdom in September 2010, a fall of 134,000 compared with 2009.
  • The number of employees fell in all nations between 2009 and 2010, the largest fall being in Scotland at 73,000.
  • In September 2010, 18.1 million (68 per cent) were full-time employees and 8.7 million (32 per cent) were part-time employees.
  • The largest number of employees continued to be in the health sector with 3.6 million.
  • The construction sector saw the biggest contraction, down 118,000 employees. Business, administration and support service activities expanded by 62,000.

Summary

This bulletin contains annual employee and employment estimates for 2010 split by region and industry. The results, taken from the second release from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES), confirm the picture shown by other labour market statistics; that employment in the UK contracted in the year to September 2010.

Count of Employees: United Kingdom (thousands)

Values given to the nearest thousand
    2009   2010
    Full-time Part-time All   Full-time Part-time All
England   15,430 7,240 22,671   15,368 7,253 22,620
Wales   756 402 1,158   740 411 1,151
Scotland   1,621 764 2,384   1,556 755 2,311
Northern Ireland   457 252 709   457 249 705
GB   17,808 8,405 26,213   17,663 8,419 26,082
UK   18,264 8,657 26,921   18,120 8,668 26,787

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Results by region

The regions with the largest number of employees were London with 4.1 million (15.3 per cent of UK employees) and the South East with 3.7 million (13.8 per cent). Northern Ireland had the lowest number of employees with 705,000 (2.6 per cent of UK employees) followed by the North East with 999,000 (3.7 per cent).

London had the largest proportion of full-time employees at 74.1 per cent with all other regions less than 70 per cent.

Count of Employees and Employment by Region

2010

Values given to the nearest thousand
Region Full-time Part-time Total employees Employment
North East 664 336 999 1,046
North West 1,970 948 2,918 3,088
Yorkshire and The Humber 1,440 727 2,167 2,296
East Midlands 1,255 606 1,861 1,989
West Midlands 1,526 755 2,281 2,423
East of England 1,536 809 2,346 2,514
London 3,033 1,058 4,090 4,336
South East 2,495 1,207 3,702 3,960
South West 1,449 808 2,257 2,452
Wales 740 411 1,151 1,259
Scotland 1,556 755 2,311 2,452
Northern Ireland 457 249 705 780
Great Britain 17,663 8,419 26,082 27,815
United Kingdon 18,120 8,668 26,787 28,595

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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The region that showed the largest decrease in the number of employees between 2009 and 2010 was Scotland, with a fall of 73,000 to 2.3 million. Most industrial sectors within Scotland showed a fall in employees during this period, with the largest being manufacturing (14,000), professional; scientific and technical activities (13,000) and construction (13,000).

The North West was the region with the next largest fall (46,000). The two industrial groupings contributing the most to this fall were manufacturing (29,000) and construction (20,000).

Three regions showed an increase in the number of employees between 2009 and 2010. These were the South East (53,000), London (24,000) and the West Midlands (17,000).

Annual growth of employees between 2009 and 2010 (thousands)

Annual growth of employees between 2009 and 2010 (thousands)
Source: Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) - Office for National Statistics

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Sub-regional estimates

The City of Westminster was the local authority district with the largest number of employees working there in September 2010, at 590,000. This was followed by Birmingham and Leeds with 455,000 and 389,000 respectively. The lowest number of employees was in the Isles of Scilly, at 1,000.

There are 380 local authority districts in Great Britain. Of these, there were 153 districts that showed an increase in the number of employees between 2009 and 2010, and 227 that showed a decrease.

The largest increases in the number of employees were in the City of London (22,000 increase), Cheltenham (9,000) and Wolverhampton (7,000), while the largest decreases were in Glasgow (23,000 decrease), Swindon (9,000) and Edinburgh (8,000).

Notes for Sub-regional estimates

  1. These figures exclude employment for farm and agriculture, and so will be inconsistent with totals for higher geographies.

Results by industry

In 2010 the health sector had the largest number of employees, with 3.6 million (13.4 per cent of the whole of the UK). The agriculture, forestry & fishing sector had the smallest number of employees, with 214,000 (0.8 per cent of the whole economy).

The mining, quarrying and utilities industrial grouping had the largest proportion of full-time employees, with 93.3 per cent. The retail sector had the largest percentage of part-time employees, with 57.2 per cent.

Count of Employees and Employment by Industry: United Kingdom

2010

Values given to the nearest thousand
Broad Industrial Grouping Full-time Part-time Total Employees Total Employment
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing 151 63 214 537
Mining, Quarrying & Utilities 317 23 340 345
Manufacturing 2,172 198 2,370 2,445
Construction 1,063 119 1,182 1,395
Motor Trades 403 63 467 518
Wholesale 955 146 1,101 1,169
Retail 1,190 1,591 2,781 2,955
Transport & Storage (inc Postal) 1,029 183 1,212 1,263
Accommodation & Food Services 786 1,005 1,791 1,895
Information & Communication 853 130 984 1,066
Finance & Insurance 875 156 1,031 1,062
Property 271 97 368 456
Professional, Scientific & Technical 1,485 352 1,837 2,092
Business Administration and Support Services 1,396 738 2,134 2,217
Education 1,318 1,264 2,581 2,603
Health 2,015 1,582 3,596 3,678
Public Admin 1,179 392 1,571 1,571
Other 662 568 1,230 1,328
Total 18,120 8,668 26,787 28,595

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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The industrial grouping with the largest decrease in employees between 2009 and 2010 was construction, which saw a fall of 118,000 employees. The manufacturing sector had the next largest decrease in employees of 60,000.

The industrial grouping with the largest increase between 2009 and 2010 was the business administration and support services sector, which saw an increase of 62,000 employees.

Annual growth of employees by industry between 2009 and 2010: United Kingdom (thousands)

Annual growth of employees by industry between 2009 and 2010: United Kingdom (thousands)
Source: Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) - Office for National Statistics

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Public/private sector estimates

Definitive figures of public sector employment are available from the Public Sector Employment Survey. The employee figures from the Business Register Employment Survey allow an analysis of public and private sector employees at the sub-regional level.

Public and private breakdown by region

2010

Public and private breakdown by region
Source: Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) - Office for National Statistics

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Northern Ireland was the region with the largest percentage of public sector employees, at 30.9 per cent. The South East of England had the lowest percentage of public sector employees, with 18.7 per cent.

The local authority district with the largest percentage of public sector employees was Copeland, with 52.2 per cent. The district with the smallest proportion of public sector employees was the City of London, with 5.8 per cent.

Notes for Public/private sector estimates

  1. Farm agriculture figures, all of which are included within the private sector, are unavailable at the sub-regional level so percentage levels should be treated with caution. The exclusion of farm agriculture estimates at the sub-regional level has the impact of increasing the proportion of the public sector for these geographic areas.

2011 User feedback survey

ONS is carrying out a user feedback survey for the Business Register Employment Survey 2010 Statistical Bulletin, which will close on 14 November 2011.

The survey provides an opportunity for you to tell ONS about your use of the Business Register Employment Survey 2010 estimates and your perceptions of the quality of the statistical bulletin. 

Take part in the user survey.

Background notes

  1. To support this release a set of tables providing greater geographical and industrial detail is available.

  2. Estimates presented in this release and associated published tables are rounded to prevent disclosure. Differences may exist in totals across tables due to rounding of estimates and disclosure methods used.

  3. The Business Register Employment Survey replaced two ONS surveys in 2008: the Annual Business Inquiry and the Business Register Survey. Detailed analysis of the impact of this change is available  here (64.4 Kb Pdf) .

  4. For 2010, employee job numbers are estimated as at 10 September.

  5. Sub-regional estimates are based on the county and district geography boundaries as at the time the survey sample was selected (September 2010).

  6. Data provide estimates of employee, rather than workforce, jobs. Self-employed jobs, HM Forces and Government Supported trainees are therefore excluded (workforce jobs = employee jobs + self-employed jobs + HM Forces + Government Supported trainees). Estimates are counts of employee jobs not employment (which is a measure of the number of people in employment). The level and share of self-employment, HM Forces and government supported trainees will differ between areas.

  7. Employee jobs are allocated to the area in which the workplace is located. Geographical figures relate to the area where employees work, which is not necessarily the same as where they live. Jobs at local hospitals, for example, may be situated in one local authority while the employees/people may reside in another.

  8. The data classify employees to one of seven categories that their employer's organisation falls into. The private sector is defined as: company, sole proprietor, partnership and non profit body or mutual association. Public sector employees are those in: public corporations/ nationalised bodies, central government and local authority.

  9. An employee is defined as anyone aged 16 years or over that is paid directly from the payroll, in return for carrying out a full-time or part-time job or being on a training scheme. Employment includes employees plus the number of working owners who receive drawings or a share of the profits but are not paid via PAYE. Full-time is defined as working more than 30 hours per week with part-time working 30 hours or less per week.

  10. Farm agriculture figures are provided by DEFRA, Scottish Government and Welsh Assembly and Department for Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland. These figures are not available for all sub-regions so for consistency they have not been included in estimates below Government Office Region level. The figures have only been included at a 2-digit SIC level and above. Where employment in farm agriculture has been included in estimates it has been included within the private sector.

  11. Alternative employment estimates are available from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Work Force Jobs (WFJ). BRES is the primary source for employee estimates at a detailed regional and industrial level. Work Force Jobs will benchmark the private sector employee component to the BRES private sector employee estimates on an annual basis. Previously Work Force Jobs was benchmarked to the Annual Business Inquiry. The WFJ series, which is compiled mainly from surveys of businesses, is the preferred source of statistics on jobs by industry, providing information also on the number of self employed. The LFS, which collects information mainly from residents of private households, is the preferred source of statistics on employment at the whole economy level. The concept of employment (measured by the LFS as the number of people working at least one hour during the survey reference week) differs from the concept of jobs, since a person can have more than one job, and some jobs may be shared by more than one person. The LFS can also be used to produce estimates of the total number of jobs in the UK, by adding together the headline employment figures (which are equivalent to main jobs) and those for workers with a second job.

  12. The public sector employee job figures aggregated to regional or national level will not match those produced from the Public Sector Employment release, which is the recommended source for public sector employment figures. For example, in 2010 the BRES estimates that there were 6,129,000 employee jobs in the public sector in the UK. The public sector employment estimates for the UK in the comparable period (2010 Quarter 3) indicate that public sector employment was 6,014,000; a difference of 115,000. One difference being that public sector employment includes HM Forces which account for 196,000.

  13. Public sector estimates for 2009 include banks that were re-classified to public corporations, as announced on 19 February 2009 by ONS.

  14. On 13 October 2010, ONS announced the reclassification of most sixth form and further education colleges to the public sector. Further education colleges are classified to the public sector for the 2010 BRES estimates and to the private sector as part of the BRES 2009 estimates. This change in classification accounted for a large part of the increase in public sector employment in 2010.

  15. Where identified, Managed Service Companies (MSCs) have been excluded from this release. MSCs are intermediary companies through which the services of a worker are provided to an end client. The worker in a MSC is almost invariably not in business on his own account and is not exercising control over the business. This control lies with the scheme provider. MSC scheme providers are businesses (usually companies) that provide generic company structures and administer the schemes. MSC providers emphasise that the worker is not involved in running the company and will receive payments in a similar way to if they were an employee. ONS attempts to exclude these from all outputs because they are registered at the address of the service company provider, and therefore distort the geographical location and industry of the businesses. The table below shows the number of MSCs excluded from the 2010 survey.

    Estimated employment of MSCs included/excluded from BRES 2010

      2008 2009 2010
    Estimated employment of MSCs excluded from BRES 100,000 45,000 35,000
    Estimated employment of MSCs included within the BRES estimates between 1,000 and 35,000 between 1,000 and 28,000 Under 1,000

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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    * The employment of MSCs included within the BRES results is an estimate of those businesses identified as a MSC after the sample for each year was selected.

  16. A further breakdown of the number of employees, by region and industry, is provided on the Nomis website. Employee estimates from the Business Register Employment Survey can only be viewed on Nomis by applying for access, details of which can be found on the Nomis website.

  17. Figures are classified to the 2007 revision to the Standard Industrial Classification. BRES includes breakdowns by public and private sector according to the legal status of employees for National Accounts classification purposes.

  18. The coefficient of variation (CV) is a statistical measure of the precision of an estimate. Generally, the smaller the CV, the higher the quality of the estimate. The CVs at a regional level for the 2010 total employee estimates are shown in the table below:

    Coefficent of variation - total employees (BRES 2010)

    GOR CV
    North East 1.1
    North West 0.8
    Yorkshire and The Humber 0.9
    East Midlands 0.8
    West Midlands 0.8
    East of England 0.7
    London 0.8
    South East 0.8
    South West 0.9
    Wales 0.6
    Scotland 0.7
    Northern Ireland 1.0

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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  19. Quality Methodology Informaton (QMI) for BRES will be published on the National Statistics website before the end of November 2011.

  20. BRES is a sampled survey. For the 2010 survey period 80,000 businesses were sampled. Further details of the sample design can be found in the BRES QMI to be published before the end of November 2011. The response rate for the 2010 BRES survey was 83 per cent.

  21. For the 2011 BRES, the survey questionnaire has been amended to clarify the status of employees in limited companies. This will mean that limited companies should no longer report working proprietors, instead these will be treated as employees. ONS will assess whether this introduces a discontinuity and if necessary will report on its impact.

  22. The statistical contact for this release is James Scruton (james.scruton@ons.gsi.gov.uk).

  23. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office.

  24. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. © Crown copyright 2011.

  25. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
James Scruton +44 (0)1633 456724 Business Statistics Division james.scruton@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.