1. Headline figures

  • The level of employees in the UK showed an increase of 0.5% between September 2011 and September 2012
  • The number of UK full-time employees increased by 30,000, while the number of part-time employees increased by 96,000
  • London had the largest growth in the number of employees, with an increase of 143,000. Scotland had the largest fall in the number of employees, with a decrease of 34,000
  • The business administration and support services sector was the industrial grouping with the largest growth in the number of employees with an increase of 71,000. Public administration had the largest fall in the number of employees, with a decrease of 36,000.
  • The level of employment (employees + working proprietors) showed an increase of 0.2%
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2. Summary

This bulletin contains annual employee and employment estimates for 2012 split by region and industry.

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3. Results by region

The regions with the largest number of employees were London with 4.4 million (16.2% of UK employees) and the South East with 3.8 million (13.7%). Northern Ireland had the lowest number of employees with 0.7 million (2.5% of UK employees) followed by the North East with 1 million (3.7%) and Wales with 1.2 million (4.3%).

London had the largest percentage of full-time employees at 73% while all other regions showed percentages of less than 70%. The South West had the largest number of part-time workers at 37%.

Scotland showed the largest decrease in the number of employees between 2011 and 2012, with a fall of 34,000 to 2.3 million. The industries which fell the most were education (10,800) and construction (10,700).

Yorkshire and the Humber was the region with the next largest fall (27,000). The two industrial groupings contributing the most to this fall were transport and storage (16,000) and retail (14,000).

Six regions showed an increase in the number of employees between 2011 and 2012. The increase in the number of employees in London (143,000) was significantly higher than that for the other six regions. The largest increase other than London came in the West Midlands, where the number of employees grew by 17,000.

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4. Sub-regional estimates

From among the county and unitary authorities, Westminster had the largest number of employees in September 2012, at 640,000. This was followed by Hampshire and Kent with 559,000 and 548,000 respectively. The lowest number of employees was in the Isles of Scilly, at 1,000.

There are 206 counties and unitary authorities in Great Britain and 26 local councils in Northern Ireland. Of these, 130 showed an increase in the number of employees between 2011 and 2012, and 102 showed a decrease.

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5. Results by industry

In 2012 the health sector had the largest number of employees, with 3.7 million (13.5% of all UK employees). The agriculture, forestry & fishing sector had the smallest number of employees, with 0.2 million (0.8% of all UK employees).

The mining, quarrying and utilities industrial grouping had the largest percentage of full-time employees, with 93%. The retail sector had the largest percentage of part-time employees, with 58%.

The industrial grouping with the largest decrease in employees between 2011 and 2012 was public administration, which saw a fall of 36,000 employees. Construction and manufacturing sectors both showed a fall of 24,000 employees.

The industrial grouping with the largest increase between 2011 and 2012 was the business administration and support services sector, which saw an increase of 71,000 employees.

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6. 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 and Employment Survey allow an analysis of public and private sector employees by detailed geography and industry.

Northern Ireland was the region with the largest percentage of public sector employees, at 30.6%. The South East of England had the lowest percentage of public sector employees, with 16.2%.

The local authority with the largest percentage of public sector employees was the Orkney Islands, with 46.4%. The district with the smallest percentage of public sector employees was the City of London, with 5.5%.

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7 .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. For 2012, employee job numbers are estimated as at 14 September.

  4. Sub-regional estimates are based on the county and district geography boundaries at the time the survey sample was selected (September 2012).

  5. BRES produces estimates of employees and employment (employees plus working proprietors). BRES therefore includes self-employed workers as long as they are registered for VAT or Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) schemes. Self employed people not registered for these, along with HM Forces and Government Supported trainees are excluded.

  6. 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.

  7. The public sector comprises central government, local government and public corporations. The private sector comprises companies, sole proprietors, partnerships and non-profit bodies.

  8. 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. Full-time is defined as working more than 30 hours per week with part-time defined as working 30 hours or less per week.

  9. Farm agriculture figures are provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the 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 Region level. The figures have only been included at a 2-digit Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) level and above. Where employment in farm agriculture has been included in estimates it has been included within the private sector.

  10. Alternative employment estimates are available from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Workforce Jobs (WFJ). BRES is the primary source for employee estimates at a detailed regional and industrial level. Workforce Jobs will benchmark the private sector employee component to the BRES private sector employee estimates on an annual basis. The WFJ series, which is compiled mainly from surveys of businesses, is the preferred source of statistics when comparing changes in employment by industry over time. 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.

  11. The public sector employee job figures from BRES 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 2012 the BRES estimates that there were 5.62 million employee jobs in the public sector in the UK. The public sector employment estimates for the UK in the comparable period (2012 Quarter 3) indicate that public sector employment was 5.75 million; a difference of 125,000. The Public Sector Employment figures include HM Forces, whereas BRES does not.

  12. On 31 May 2012, ONS announced the reclassification of English further education corporations and sixth form colleges to the private sector, as Non-Profit Institutions Serving Households (NPISH), effective from 1 April 2012. As such, employee estimates for English further education colleges and sixth form college corporations are included in ONS estimates of public sector employment for 2011 and earlier years. From 2012 onwards, English further education corporations and English sixth form college employment estimates will be included in the private sector.

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

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

  15. 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. Regional level coefficients of variation for the 2012 total employee estimates are shown in the table below:

  16. Quality Methodology Information (QMI) for BRES is published on the ONS website and updated each year. This year's update will take place by the end of October 2013.

  17. BRES is a sample survey. For the 2012 survey period, approximately 82,000 businesses were sampled for Great Britain. Further details of the sample design can be found in the BRES QMI. The response rate for the 2012 BRES survey was 89%. Northern Ireland data was collected independently by the Northern Ireland Statistical and Research Agency (NISRA).

  18. The statistical contact for this release is Mark Williams (mark.williams@ons.gsi.gov.uk).

  19. 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 2013.

  20. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting 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.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Mark Williams
mark.williams@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456728