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3.0 Demographics

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3.1 Summary and key findings
3.2 Gender
3.3 Age
3.4 Ethnicity and nationality
3.5 Comparison with other built environment professions


3.1 Summary and key findings

This chapter explores the demographics of Planners in the UK. We estimate that:

  • Around two-fifths of planners are women and three-fifths of planners are men, compared to close to half-half in the general working population.
  • The most common age group for planners is 35 to 44 (just under a third of the total). The APS estimates that around a third are under 35 and just over a third over 45. If this is correct the RTPI membership is slightly older than the profession as a whole.
  • The planning profession has a higher proportion of women and under 40s than other built environment professions and a lower proportion of BAME individuals.

3.2 Gender

The APS estimates that 41% of UK planners are women (around 9,000) and 59% are men (around 13,000). The split between male and female estimated in the APS data is very similar to the 'UK town planning officer' groups from our member data, (41% women, 59% men), and the RTPI Member Survey 2017 (40% women, 60% men). There remains a slightly higher proportion of male planners (59%) than the average for all occupations in the wider economy (53%). There appears to be a greater proportion of women in the public sector than the private sector (see 5.2).

We can also look at change over time in the APS data on the gender of planners (Figure 2). As elsewhere, this should be taken with care given margins of error, however a few trends may be worth further exploration. First, it seems that the proportion of female planners has not risen in the last decade. Second, the APS estimates that the proportion of women in the profession dropped from 2009-12. While this cannot be confirmed by the data, one hypothesis would be that female planners were affected by the financial crisis earlier and to a greater extent than male planners.

Figure 2: Proportion of each built environment profession who are women over time

Figure 2 Chart

Source: ONS Annual Population Survey, filtered by SOC10M for selected built environment occupations.

3.3 Age

Figure 3 shows data from the RTPI Member Survey, RTPI membership records, and the APS on the age profile of planners. In each dataset the largest group is those aged 35 to 44 (just under a third), with between a fifth and a quarter each for the age bands 25-34 and 45-54 (see Figure 3). If the APS estimates are correct, the RTPI Membership is slightly older than that profession as a whole, with a lower proportion of under-35 year olds and a higher proportion of over-45 year olds.

Figure 3: Estimates of proportion of planners in each age group from APS and RTPI data

Figure 3 Chart

Sources: RTPI Membership data Jan 2019 filtered by planner groups. RTPI Member Survey 2017 filtered by planner groups. ONS Annual Population Survey, filtered by SOC10M = 2432 (Planners). See also Appendix Table 5.

3.4 Ethnicity and nationality

The RTPI membership as a whole is roughly 7% BAME individuals, however all our data sources estimate the proportion of BAME individuals working in town planning in the UK at around 3-4%. If we filter our member data for the UK town planning officer group, we are left with 96% white, and 4% BAME. For the RTPI Member Survey 2017, respondents in the UK town planning officer group identified as 97% White, with 3% BAME. The APS estimates that 3% of UK planners are from BAME ethnic groups, though this estimate varies greatly each year given small sample size.

If correct, this suggests a lower proportion of BAME individuals in planning (3-4%) than the average for all occupations in the wider economy (12%).

From the APS, we can estimate that 94% of planners in the UK hold UK nationality, with 4% EU and 2% the rest of the world.

3.5 Comparison with other built environment professions

According to the APS data there is a far higher proportion of female planners than in other built environment professions. Taking five-year averages, the APS estimates that 41% of planners are women compared to 25% of architects, and 13% of chartered surveyors. However, whilst the proportion of female planners appears around the same as a decade ago, the proportions of female architects and surveyors appear to be rising (see Figure 2). [7]

In terms of age we see quite a large amount of variety between the professions in the APS data. The APS estimates that over half of planners are under the age of 40, compared to around two-fifths of architects and chartered surveyors.[8]

Finally for ethnicity, there appears to be a lower proportion of BAME Planners (3-4%) than some other built environment professions. Taking 5 year averages, the APS estimates 9% of architects and 4% of chartered surveyors are BAME individuals.[9]

 

[7] This data can also be viewed in Appendix Table 4.

[8] A full breakdown for each occupation is available in Appendix Table 6.

[9] A full breakdown for each occupation is available in Appendix Table 8.

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