HL Deb 02 April 2003 vol 646 cc130-1WA
Lord Laird

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In respect of (a) males, (b) females and (c) both sexes combined, what is the employment gap between Protestants and Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland. [HL1963]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn)

What is referred to as the employment gap has been described in different ways. One approach expresses the number of persons in a particular group in employment as a percentage of all of persons in that group who are of working age. The latter includes both economically active and economically inactive persons. The report of the Task Force on Employability and Long-Term Unemployment (Department for Employment and Learning, December 2002) employs this approach and includes associated targets to reduce differences between groups. Relevant statistics from the Labour Force Survey are noted in the following table.

% of Protestants of working age who are in employment % of Catholics of working age who are in employment
Males 76.5 68.3
Females 65.4 53.9
Both sexes 71.2 61.2

source: Labour Force Survey Religion Report 2001.

Another approach is to compare a group's percentage share of the total economically active population with its percentage share of all persons in employment, the difference between the two also being referred to as the employment gap. Statistics from the Labour Force Survey are also available to show the extent to which Protestants and Roman Catholics are over-represented or under-represented in employment relative to their proportions among the economically active.

% of economically active % of those in employment over/under-representation
Protestant 55.9 57.2 +1.4pp1
Catholic 44.1 42.8 -1.4pp1
Protestant 57.4 58.0 +0.6 pp1
Catholic 42.6 42.0 -0.6 pp1
Both Sexes:
Protestant 56.5 57.6 +1.0 pp
Catholic 43.5 42.4 -1.0 pp1
1 Percentage point (pp) differences calculated using unrounded percentages.