Rural England

Low pay by industry

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • Low pay in rural districts is much more prevalent in distribution, hotels and restaurants than in other industry sectors.  In 2009, around half of employees in distribution, hotels and restaurants were paid less than £7 per hour.  This compares with 20% or less in other industry sectors.
  • Two-fifths of workers in rural districts earning less than £7 per hour work in distribution, hotels and restaurants.  A further third work in the public and voluntary sectors.
  • In terms of both the rates by industry and their shares of the total, the pattern in rural districts is very similar to that in urban districts.
  • The rural/urban ratios for low pay are very different from those for lacking but wanting work.  See the indicator on lacking, but wanting, paid work.
  • See the UK indicator on low pay by industry.

Rural/urban ratios (urban = 10)

On most poverty and social exclusion indicators, rural areas have ‘better scores’ than urban areas.  The purpose of the table below is to differentiate between those subjects where rural areas are ‘a bit better’ and those where rural areas are ‘a lot better’.  It does so by presenting the rural statistics for the indicator as a proportion of the urban statistics.  So, for example, a rural ‘score’ of 6 in the table below means that the rural statistic is around 60% of its urban equivalent.

Type of district  Distribution, hotels and restaurantsPrivate sector services Public and voluntary sectorsManufacturing and other production
'Very rural' districts10 12 12 10
'Mostly rural' districts10 11 11 10
'Part rural' districts9 10 11 8

Definitions and data sources

The graphs

For each type of local authority district, the first graph shows the proportion of employees paid less than £7 per hour in 2009, with the data broken down into four overall industry sectors.  These are manufacturing and other production (Standard Industrial Classification or SIC 2007 codes A-F); distribution, hotels and restaurants (G & I), private and community services (H plus J-N), and the public sector (O-S).

For each type of local authority district, the second graph shows the share of employees paid less than £7 per hour by industrial sector.

Level of the data

Lower tier local authorities (districts), as classified by the DEFRA 2009 classification system.  Both the DEFRA classification rules and their results by local authority can be found on the page on rural/urban classification systems.


The Annual Population Survey (APS), which is effectively the Labour Force Survey with selected booster samples to compensate for small sample sizes in some authorities.

The numbers

Graphs 1 and 2

Type of district Distribution, hotels and restaurants Private sector servicesPublic and voluntary sectorsManufacturing and other production
RateNumbers RateNumbers RateNumbers RateNumbers
'Very rural' districts52% 150,000 18% 50,000 22% 130,000 17% 50,000
'Mostly rural' districts52% 210,000 16% 80,000 21% 170,000 16% 70,000
'Part rural' districts49% 190,000 15% 80,000 21% 160,000 14% 60,000
Urban authorities52% 900,000 15% 360,000 20% 710,000 17% 270,000