New Data Reveals: Employees Rise by 540,000 in the UK


 Number of employees in the UK increased by 540,000 (1.8%) between 2015-16
 Employees increased in all regions except the North East, which decreased by 23,000
 Strongest growth in London (up 99,000) and the East of England (up 85,000)
 The transport and storage sector saw the largest percentage increase (up 6.7%)
 The retail sector saw the largest percentage decrease (down 2.0%)


The UK Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES), the number of employees in the UK increased by 540,000 (1.8%) between 2015-16 – from 29.5 million to 30.0 million.

Duly, considered the employee percentage change in key UK industries – with interesting results – to determine which sectors are benefitting from the rise the most and which industries are losing employees.


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Between 2015/16, there were percentage increases in all but five sectors (18 in total). The largest percentage increases were found in transport and storage (including postal) (up 6.7%), accommodation and food services (up 4.7%) and the professional, scientific and technical sector (up 4.7%.)


Contrastingly, it is the retail sector which saw the largest percentage decrease (down 2.0%.) There were also notable employee decreases in agriculture, forestry and fishing (down 1.5%), the property sector (down 0.5%), public administration (down 0.5%) and the education sector (down 0.4%.)


Delving deeper, found the divisions which had witnessed a particularly high rise in the number of employees – with a few exceeding a rise of 20% in total.


Largest increases in employees, by industry divisions, 2015/16:


Ø  Fishing and aquaculture, 18%

Ø  Programming and broadcasting activities, 19%

Ø  Manufacture of wood and of products of wood and cork, 20%

Ø  Civil engineering, 22%

Ø  Other professional, scientific and technical activities, 28%


Moreover, Turner Little found the top five percentage decreases in divisions each exceeded a 10% fall. The largest percentage decrease was seen in the manufacture of tobacco products, which decreased by a vast 80%.


Largest decreases in employees, by industry divisions, 2015/16:


Ø  Manufacture of tobacco products, -80%

Ø  Mining of coal and lignite, -45%

Ø  Water transport, -20%

Ø  Manufacture of electrical equipment, -16%

Ø  Information service activities, -13%


James Turner, managing director of, comments:


“In investigating this release by ONS, it is positive to see employee growth in the clear majority of British industries.

We live – and work in uncertain times; many employees are highly concerned regarding the nature and longevity of their working role which could be nixed by digital advancements and it is therefore encouraging to see human input remains vital to key sectors.”

Author: Editorial Team

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