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Number of employees in UK up nearly 2% in 2016, report reveals

Per the October 2017 ONS release: 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 29.5m to 30.0m. Turnerlittle.com considered the employee percentage change in key UK industries to determine which sectors are benefitting from the rise the most and which industries are losing employees.


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, turnerlittle.com 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:



➢ Fishing and aquaculture, 18%

➢ Programming and broadcasting activities, 19%

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

➢ Civil engineering, 22%

➢ 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:

➢ Manufacture of tobacco products, -80%

➢ Mining of coal and lignite, -45%

➢ Water transport, -20%

➢ Manufacture of electrical equipment, -16%

➢ Information service activities, -13%


James Turner, managing director of TurnerLittle.com, commented, “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.” 


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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