Defining Employment

In short

The ONS defines employment: The UK government does not define employment: the Office for National Statistics does. The ONS definition matches Eurostat, and accords with ILO guidelines.

The Definition of Employment

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) defines, for people aged 16 or over:

“Time for you to think for yourself”

We can consider that definition against various claims on social media.


The Distribution of Hours

Implying the classification of those who work only one hour per week drastically affects the employment estimates is likely to be misleading.

The percentage is rounded to one decimal place. (Source: ONS)



This blog looks at the use of statistics in Britain and beyond. It is written by RSS Statistical Ambassador and Chartered Statistician @anthonybmasters.

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