Reasons for not working

Date 1 September 2017
Date updated 9 October 2017
What does this chart show?
Reasons for not working chart

This chart looks at the working-age adults in London who are not in work. There were 1.5 million workless adults of working age in London in 2016 which is one quarter (26%) of the working-age population. 17% of these workless adults are unemployed, meaning they are available to start working and are seeking work. The larger proportion of workless adults, 83%, is made up of those who are economically inactive, meaning that they are not available for work.

Women are more likely to be workless than men in London – 19% (570,000) of men are workless compared with 33% (980,000) of women. This is because of the large variation in the number of economically inactive men (440,000) and women (840,000). Those who were looking after the family or home contributed the most to this difference: 31,000 men and 340,000 women.

In London more than a quarter of the economically inactive (27%) are students and do not work because they are in education (if a student has a job, they are counted as being in work). Another quarter (24%) are not working because they are looking after the family or home – generally this is caring for children. 14% are long-term sick, 10% are inactive for some other reason, 6% are retired and 2% are temporarily sick.

This has implications for government policy, which has tried to encourage people into becoming economically active through conditionality in the social security system, such as through requirements to look for work or face a sanction. There are potential barriers to work or economic activity through caring responsibilities or sickness or disability.