The pandemic changed working life in Islington census shows

New census data reveals how the coronavirus pandemic affected employment and commuting in Islington last year.

By Sonja Tutty, Data Reporter

Stock photo of a laptop on a dining room table set up as a remote office to work from home.
Photo: Radar

New census data reveals how the coronavirus pandemic affected employment and commuting in Islington last year.

Jon Wroth-Smith, census deputy director, said the latest figures from the snapshot of England and Wales taken in March 2021 reflect the nation’s labour market during a period of “unparalleled and rapid change”.

Office for National Statistics data shows 63% of residents aged 16 and older in Islington were economically active and employed when the census took place last year – above England’s overall rate of 57%.

A further 5% were economically active but in search of work.

Of the 32% who were economically inactive, the highest proportion (29%) did not work as they were retired.

The largest proportion of those working and aged 16 and older in Islington were employed in education (10%), followed by retail trade (8%).

About 77% worked full-time for more than 30 hours a week, including 18% who worked 49 hours or more.

The figures also show how people travelled to work, with the highest proportion in Islington stating they work mainly from home (56%) followed by those who said they use the underground, metro, light rail, tram (10%).

Talking about the statistics for England and Wales as a whole, Mr Wroth Smith said: “The data shows there was an increase in home working from 10% in 2011 to 31% in 2021 but, of course, the Government advised people to stay at home and only attend work if you had no alternative at that time.”

He added that despite the removal of Covid travel restrictions, there is a “new normal” after the pandemic where hybrid and home workings remain commonplace.

“The truth is, the world is always changing and more timely data than a census provides is needed,” he said.

Despite the significant shift to working from home, the most selected mode of travel to work across England and Wales was driving a car or a van – around 45% of people selected this option last year.

And the largest number of employed residents aged 16 years and over worked within the broad wholesale, retail and motor trade industry – accounting for 15% of those in employment.

Including paid and unpaid overtime, 70% of respondents worked 31 hours or more a week including the 11% who worked 49 hours or more.

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