Employment and income


Areas with higher levels of varied employment are more likely to thrive, whereas areas of higher unemployment or single industry employment are at risk of less favourable economic conditions.

For Bracknell Forest to have a strong, sustainable and resilient economy, it is important that the area has a diverse mix of businesses from different sectors, which offer a wide range of job opportunities to a workforce with a good blend of academic and vocational skills to fill them.

The Regeneration of the town centre is estimated to create around 2,500 jobs throughout the construction and post-construction phases. The development will also increase the appeal of Bracknell as a shopping and leisure destination and provide job opportunities in those sectors.

Key inequalities and risk factors

  • Location – Within the borough, there are geographical inequalities with unemployment rates higher in the urbanised area surrounding Bracknell town centre (Berks PH source and data)
  • Gender – There are fewer women in employment than men, however, employment for both sexes is significantly higher than the England figures
  • Disability – the proportion of males with a learning disability in employment is lower than for females, however the proportion of females with a mental health issue in employment is higher than males

Facts, figures and trends

Despite the economic downturn, the number of new UK business registrations increased by 1.2% from 346,000 to 351,000 between 2013 and 2014, a ‘birth rate’ of 13.7% compared with a rate of 14.1% in 2013. The 351,000 business births in 2014 were the highest recorded since comparable records began in 2000. The total UK business birth rate was 13.7% and greater than the death rate of 9.6%. The south east region is fortunate in having one of the higher business birth rates and lowest death rates when compared to other areas.

Economic vitality

In 2015, there were 4,410 enterprises recorded in Bracknell Forest (based on turnover and employment) according to NOMIS data.

Compared to the South East region as a whole, Bracknell Forest has a higher percentage of micro, medium and large businesses:

Business count (Enterprises 2015)

This is positive as smaller enterprises employ 60% of the nation’s workforce according to Public Health England data.

Industry make up

Outside public sector provision, the principal employment sectors in the borough are in wholesale, retail, warehouse, IT, communications and related support services:

Employee jobs by industry, 2015

Labour opportunity and supply

Job density is the ratio of total jobs to population aged 16-64. The ratio in Bracknell Forest in 2015 was 0.89, a figure which is higher than the south east (0.85) and Great Britain as a whole (0.82).

The numbers of people in Bracknell Forest who are economically active or in employment is higher in Bracknell Forest than in the south east or Great Britain as a whole:

Employment and unemployment, all people, 2015/16

Unemployment in Bracknell Forest is also lower than the regional and national figures.  Whilst there is an 8.7% gap between male and female employment, this gap is narrower in Bracknell Forest than in the region or nationally.

The following map sets out unemployment rate (%) by ward using data from the 2011 Census. It shows unemployment rates are highest in the urbanised area surrounding Bracknell town centre. For more information contact the Berkshire Public Health Team.

2011 Census

Work patterns

Of the total number of recorded jobs in Bracknell Forest (62,000), 75.2% were full-time and 22.6% were part time. The number of people in full-time employment was higher than the south east and Great Britain as the following graph shows:

Employee jobs, work pattern 2015

On average, full-time workers in Bracknell Forest work more hours in 2015 than they did in 2013. However, the average weekly hours worked is similar to the south east average and the same as the all England figure:

Average weekly hours worked, full-time workers, 2011-2015

Employment by occupation

The largest proportion of people living in the borough are employed in managerial, professional and technical occupations. A large number of people are employed in administrative and secretarial, skilled trades and jobs in the service industry.  In this regard, the Bracknell Forest workforce is similar to the south east and GB workforce with fewer people in the borough working in process, plant and manufacturing jobs.

Employment by occupation, 2015/2016

Employment rate

The percentage of people aged 16-64 in employment in Bracknell Forest is statistically significantly higher than the south east and the all England averages:

People aged 16-64 in employment, 2012-2015

Although there are fewer women in employment than men, employment for both sexes is significantly higher than the England figures and has been so for the past three periods.

Employment for people with disabilities or long-term conditions

Evidence and research set out in the government review “Is work good for your health and wellbeing” concluded that work was generally good for both physical and mental health and wellbeing.  Being able to work benefits individuals financially  but contribute to society gives a sense of wellbeing and helps people to reconnect to their community as a way of reducing social isolation.

People with a learning disability

Proportion of working age adults with a learning disability in paid employment (%)

The HSCIC data shows Bracknell Forest significantly outperformed the south east region and England as whole as well as other similar authorities (8.4%).  This represents a continuing trend and an increase on 16.3% reported in 2012/13.

People with mental health issues

In 2014/15, the proportion of working age adults (18-69) receiving secondary mental health services recorded as being employed in Bracknell Forest was 13.3%.  This is a small increase of 0.3% on the 2012/13 figure, however the total percentage and figures for both men and women were higher than the south east and England averages, as well as the figures for other similar authorities (9.9%):

Proportion of working age adults receiving mental health services recorded as being employed (%)

People with long-term conditions

The public health outcomes framework reports the percentage point gap between respondents in the Labour Force Survey who have a long-term condition who are classified as employed (aged 16-64) and all respondents in the survey classed as employed (aged 16-64).  A small gap is preferable and this is the case in Bracknell Forest:

% point gap in employment rate between those with a long-term health condition and the overall employment rate

Skills and qualifications

The potential of the local workforce is a key factor for businesses choosing to locate into an area.  Educational achievement of the workforce plays a part in location decisions because jobs need to be matched to the skills in a local labour market for business sustainability and growth.

The four National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) levels are used as a composite measure of overall skills and qualifications with greater weighting attached to the higher levels.

In Bracknell Forest, qualifications at higher levels compares well with the regional averages and is better than national figures across all NVQ categories.

Qualification levels, 2015

The percentage of people without a qualification in Bracknell Forest is low at 4.1% in 2015 according to NOMIS labour market statistics. This figure is in the lowest quintile range of all local authorities in the south east region.


From an individual perspective, income is a useful economic indicator of an area’s standard of living.  Standard of living defines the wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities available to us and which are associated with quality of life.

From a business perspective, to ensure cash flow and profit, a business must manage income and costs. A factor in locating a business is being able to offer competitive salaries.  The average gross annual pay of a full-time worker in Bracknell Forest is around £31k which is relatively stable when compared to the south east and England figures:

Average gross annual pay, full-time workers, 2011-2015

Figures from the Office for National Statistics annual survey of hours and earnings and quoted in the NOMIS report indicate that the average weekly gross wage (before taxes and deductions) for a full-time worker in 2015 was £586.40, with men earning more per week (£617.30) than women (£514.90).

Want to know more?

Labour Market Profile – Bracknell Forest (ONS, NOMIS dataset) – an aggregate of data from a wide range of sources relating to employment, economic activity, occupation, qualifications, earnings, benefits, job market and business.  Also allows for comparison with other local areas. (Accessed 29 September 2016)

Bracknell Forest Economic Profile (Grant Thornton, 2014) – Analysis from 2014 to assess the attractiveness of the borough to inward investment and an assessment of overall economic strength.

This page was created on 27 February 2014 and updated on 29 September 2016.  Next review date: September 2017

Cite this page:

Bracknell Forest Council. (2016). JSNA – Employment and Income. Available at: jsna.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/people-places/wider-determinants-health/employment-and-income (Accessed: dd Mmmm yyyy)

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