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Release: 2011 Census Analysis, English Language Proficiency in the Labour Market

Released: 29 January 2014

Contact

Tristan Browne

Census Analysis

tristan.browne@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455951

Categories: People and Places, People, Language, Labour Market, People in Work, Employment, People not in Work, Economic Inactivity

Frequency of release: Ad-hoc

Language: English

Geographical coverage: England and Wales

Geographical breakdown: Country

Survey name(s): Census

  • On census day 27 March 2011, the majority (91.9 per cent; 41.8 million) of the usual resident population aged 16 and over in England and Wales reported English (English or Welsh in Wales) as their main language. The rest of the population who reported a different main language comprised 6.4 per cent (2.9 million) who could speak English ‘Well’ or ‘Very well’, and 1.7 per cent (785,000) who could speak English ‘Not well’ or ‘Not at all’.

  • Usual residents aged 16 and over with a main language other than English (English or Welsh in Wales) who could speak English ‘Well’ or ‘Very well’ had the youngest age profile with two thirds (66.8 per cent) aged 16 to 39. This compares with 43.6 per cent for those who could speak English ‘Not well’ or ‘Not at all’ and 37.4 per cent for those with English (English or Welsh in Wales) as their main language.

  • A sixth of all usual residents aged 25 to 34 (16.3 per cent) reported a language other than English (English or Welsh in Wales) as their main language. This is made up of 13.8 per cent who could speak English ‘Well’ or ‘Very well’ and 2.4 per cent who could speak English ‘Not well’ or ‘Not at all’.

  • Usual residents aged 16 to 64 who could speak English ‘Not well’ or ‘Not at all’ had an employment rate of 48.3 per cent. This compares to an employment rate of 71.9 per cent for those whose main language was English (English or Welsh in Wales) and 65.4 per cent for those who could speak English ‘Well’ or ‘Very well’.

  • The employment rate for females who could speak English ‘Not well’ or ‘Not at all’ was 34.3 per cent, whereas for the males it was almost double at 68.0 per cent. The majority of these females not in employment were economically inactive, around half (50.1 per cent) of whom were ‘Looking after home or family’.

  • Economically inactive usual residents who could speak English ‘Well’ or ‘Very well’ were around four times as likely to be a student (45.1 per cent) to those who could speak English ‘Not well’ or ‘Not at all’ (11.2 per cent). This compares with 27.3 per cent of those with English (English or Welsh in Wales) as their main language who were students.

  • Three quarters (76.2 per cent) of usual residents aged 16 to 64 in employment who could speak English ‘Not well’ or ‘Not at all’ worked in ‘elementary’ (38.2 per cent), ‘skilled trades’ (21.1 per cent) or ‘machine operatives’ (16.9 per cent) occupations.

  • Those who could speak English ‘Very well’ or ‘Well’ had the highest proportion of usual residents aged 16 to 64 with ‘Degree level or above’ qualifications (34.5 per cent). This compares to 29.7 per cent of those with English (English or Welsh in Wales) as their main language and 7.6 per cent of those who could speak English ‘Not well’ or ‘Not at all’.

  • Those aged 16 to 64 who could speak English ‘Not well’ or ‘Not at all’ were more than three times as likely to report having ‘no qualifications’ (46.2 per cent) than those with English (English or Welsh in Wales) as their main language (14.6 per cent). 12.4 per cent of usual residents who could speak English ‘Well’ or ‘Very well’ reported having ‘no qualifications’.

This analysis uses 2011 Census data to explore the effect English language proficiency might have on people getting into the labour market in England and Wales, such as opportunities to get into different occupations, and how qualifications can differ to those who have English (English or Welsh in Wales) as their main language.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.