The UK workforce as 100 people: Showcasing representation

What if the UK workforce were 100 people? Let’s talk representation.

Reading time: 3 minutes.

The UK is a vibrant, diverse, and multicultural community. The sharing and cross-fertilisation of ideas that results from this prompts an ever-advancing dialogue that helps to further technology, knowledge, and understanding. Therefore, it’s important that the diverse nature of the country’s population is reflected in the workforce, to bring these benefits to bear there.

To understand whether this is currently the case, here’s what both the UK population and the UK workforce looks like when proportionally visualised as 100 people. This unique visualisation allows people to easily identify where groups are being under- or over-represented in the UK workplace.

Building the visualisation

All data used in the study was taken from 2011 census data, provided by the Office of National Statistics. Nine different areas were examined in the study, to give a fully rounded idea of who makes up the UK workforce:

  1. Gender
  2. Ethnicity
  3. Religion
  4. Health
  5. Age
  6. Hours worked
  7. Industry
  8. Qualifications
  9. Primary language

Where possible, the breakdown for the workplace as 100 people was compared with the UK as a whole. These comparisons took place with regards to gender, religion, ethnicity, and health.


When it comes to gender in the workplace, it’s not only issues surrounding pay where women are facing inequality. In terms of numbers, women are under-represented in UK industries. Despite making up 51 out of 100 people in the UK population as 100 people, when it comes to the workplace, they are represented by just 47.

The upshot of this is that women are under-represented by four people in this study. Those four women equate to over 1m real UK residents.


Britain’s general population is made up of people from all over the world. Currently, however, they are slightly under-represented in the workplace.

Those from Asian and mixed-race backgrounds are most likely to be under-represented in the UK workforce. Asian people are under-represented by two people in 100, while mixed-race individuals are under-represented by one.


When looking into religious representation across UK industries, it appears those who actively follow a major religion are less likely to find employment.

All three religions with enough followers to make up whole people in the UK workforce as 100 people (Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism) are under-represented when compared to the UK as a whole.


There are, of course, many people who are unable to work owing to restrictions placed on them by their health. But for those who still feel able, it seems as though there is a lack of representation in the UK workforce around those suffering from ill-health.

Currently, those in bad or very bad health are under-represented by five people in the UK workforce as 100 people.

Improving representation

These visualisations were created with the hope that they would prompt managers and employers to assess diversity in their own workplaces. Although there are a number of reasons why a workplace may not have complete representation, it’s still important that all managers try and make their organisations as welcoming as possible.

It can be difficult to fully realise the things that can be off-putting to others if you don’t share their direct experiences. For example, for those who follow a religion, joining a workplace without a dedicated quiet room or prayer space may present a challenge.

Similarly, if your workplace is not set up to make it easy for those with physical disabilities to negotiate your office space, it‘s unlikely that they’ll feel welcome.

Starting a new job can be intimidating at the best of times, but if you’re having to request changes right from the get-go it can make you feel even more conspicuous. Set up your office space so it’s as welcoming as possible to all potential candidates.


About the author

Andy Jones is digital marketing specialist at Viking


Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *