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Equal Opportunities

Gender

52% of the workforce is female. However, women are under-represented in higher level management and technical roles, but are over-represented in those operative roles that are most vulnerable to the ongoing restructuring occurring within the sector.

Historically, the majority of workers within the sector have been women, but significant job losses amongst female sewing machinists and in female administrative roles have reversed the trend. The overall gender profile of the sector is now 55% women, largely as a result of a continuing trend of job losses among female sewing machinists and administrative staff.

Sources: Strategic Skills Assessment for the Fashion and Textiles Sector in UK 2010 and Working Futures 2007-2017


Age

The sector has an ageing workforce compared to wider employment within the sector. 44% of the sector workforce is aged over 45 years and 21% over 55 years, compared to 17% for all sectors.

This is a key issue for the UK fashion and textiles sector as many older workers hold key management and technical positions. As they retire their replacements will require extensive training and development over a prolonged period.

Sources: Strategic Skills Assessment for the Fashion and Textiles Sector in UK 2010 and Skillfast-UK AACS LMI report 2010


Ethnicity

14% of the workforce is from a Black Minority Ethnic background, compared with an average for the wider employed workforce of 9%. Asian/Asian British are the largest ethnic group in the sector, accounting for 9% of employment.

The fashion and textiles sector as a whole is a major source of employment for people from ethnic minority groups. Around 38,000 people from an ethnic minority background work in manufacturing and servicing areas.

Sources: Strategic Skills Assessment for the Fashion and Textiles Sector in UK 2010 and Skillfast-UK AACS LMI report 2010


Disability

There is an apparent lack of data concerning people with disabilities in the sector.