This week’s interactive chart comes courtesy of the Office for National Statistics, and we invite you to use the dropdown menu to explore the data. The chart shows the risk posed by Covid 19 to a wide range of professions, with additional information about each profession. The ONS have provided the proportion of those employed in each field in higher risk groups such those aged 55 years plus and those from a BAME background. They also provide the gender split and average hourly wage. As might be anticipated, professions lacking in physical contact are at the least risk, for example artists, marketing professionals and those operating agricultural machinery. Indeed, differences are apparent between occupations that do have physical contact dependent on the likelihood of contact with infected people, so hairdressers, chefs and bar staff are all at lower exposure that care workers and health professionals. Educational professionals in primary, nursery and special educational needs sectors are at far higher risk than those in secondary and higher sectors.


In terms of the trends seen across sectors, it appears that more women are employed in sectors at highest risk constituting three quarters of those in the most frequent contact with people and disease. High risk jobs where women form the majority include dental nursing, midwifery and veterinary nursing


There are more women working in occupations that are more likely to be in frequent contact with people and also frequently exposed to disease. Three in four workers (75%) in these roles are women. These include dental nurses, midwives, and veterinary nurses, where women make up the majority of workers. When accounting for age, it is these jobs too where older staff are significantly represented. Some 20% of the workforce are aged 55 plus, but when looking at care workers, this rises to over 50%. Excluding paramedics, 37% of ambulance staff are in this higher age bracket. 35% and 24% of residential wardens and prison officers respectively hail from the 55 plus cohort.

These occupations also have an overrepresentation of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic staff, who constitute only 11% of the working population at large. Dental and medical practitioners are each 28% BAME, and opticians 27%, as well as higher than proportional representation in nursing (including auxillary), radiographers and assisting technicians.

Looking at pay, over a third of the highest-risk jobs have a below median hourly pay rate (currently £13.21 in the UK). Care escorts, dental nurses, and nursing auxiliaries and assistants are among the lowest paid and all range between £9.45 and £10.93.


Posted by Aimée Allam