The UK - a nation of minorities

Four in five people are women, disabled, older or non-white

The Equality Act seeks to promote equality amongst all individuals irrespective of their socio-economic characteristics and hence it is interesting to note from the outset of this report that total ‘membership’ for four ‘key’ groups of people in the UK often associated with being ‘minorities’ with respect to representation in the workforce (women, disabled, ethnic minority and older people) actually encompass around 80% of the entire population (aged 16 and above) living in the UK.

This is largely down to the high proportion of UK residents that are either women (51% of the total) or aged 50 and above (45%) though 23% of the population in 2016 could be classed as disabled according to EA2010 definitions and 12% were of non-white ethnic origin.

Key groups and labour market participation

Only 30% of disabled people were in work in 2016

The overall level of labour market participation varies substantially for these four groups and whilst 60% of individuals from ethnic minorities were in work in 2016, the figures were much lower for other groups - 55% for women, 41% for individuals aged 50 or over and just for 30% disabled people.

Figure 1: Labour market participation in the UK, 2016
Click the image to enlarge it

Figure 1: Labour market participation in the UK, 2016
Source: Analysis of ONS Quarterly Labour Force Survey by BCS

The other striking observations from these charts are the extremely high proportion of disabled people that are inactive (67%) and the proportion of non-white people that are unemployed (6%)[1].

[1] Not to be confused with unemployment rates which are documented later in this report.