Where did non-Bermudian job growth come from?

The latest Employment Report data has been released for 2016 so it’s a good time to revisit job numbers to get an idea of the state and direction of employment locally.

One of the more controversial topics recently is that job growth only occurred among non-Bermudians.  This has many Bermudians up in arms but there is likely more to the story than simply comparing one number against another.  Where are the jobs being created and what are the details of the growth?  We already reviewed where this argument doesn’t tell the full story as when you account for attrition in government jobs, Bermudian job numbers did grow.  Let’s take a deeper look into the numbers to see what else they show.

Let’s start by looking at the Top 15 minor divisions of economic activity that employ non-Bermudians.

The first thing that jumps out at me about this chart is the ongoing declines in the biggest division for non-Bermudian employment: “Financial and insurance activities of IBEs”.  That’s honestly quite concerning that we’re still not adding to overall numbers of our key industry.

What does that look like when comparing Bermudian to non-Bermudian job numbers?

So, where is job growth for non-Bermudians coming from if not from international business?

Looking a bit closer

Let’s take a look at each one of these and compare Bermudian vs. non-Bermudian job growth

This chart is a bit telling.  Bermudians gained jobs while non-Bermudians lost jobs in the period from 2009-2012.  Then Bermudian jobs declined until they reached parity and we’re now seeing job growth for both, though stronger non-Bermudian job growth.

Recreational, cultural and sporting activities?  Bermudians saw a dip post 2013 while non-Bermudians have climbed.  I’m a bit curious about this one as I’m not really sure what “Recreational, cultural and sporting activities” covers, though it does seem to employ quite a few Bermudians.  I wouldn’t be surprised if many America’s Cup workers fell into this category and contributed to the significant growth but I’m honestly not sure.

Interestingly construction is one area where we see improvements in non-Bermudian job numbers while Bermudian jobs are still in decline.  Why?

Finally we see that in the Legal, accounting, market research and business and management consultancy division for the last couple years there is non-Bermudian growth while Bermudian job numbers are fairly stagnant.

Interesting.  Is it as simple as demanding that Bermudians get jobs before non-Bermudians?  Perhaps not. We can’t point the finger at international business as that is still in decline.  Restaurants are a tough industry that many Bermudians aren’t very keen on working in for the low levels of pay offered.  Legal and accounting require specialized expertise that isn’t easily replicated.  Construction leaves us with questions.  Finally, since America’s Cup is now finished, we might see a quick decline in the recreation and sporting activities division numbers next year.

#WhereDidTheJobsGo? – Health care and government most stable fields

So continuing our series of using excel voodoo (aka VLOOKUP) to take a look at where jobs the jobs went, let’s take a look at what jobs losses looked like across industries.

Unfortunately the data to break things down by Bermudian vs. non-Bermudian isn’t available so we’ll just look at jobs overall

How about construction?

Clearly this stands out as the industry that faced the most pain of the recession.  We overheated the economy and ultimately construction demand dried up causing the very painful loss of nearly 2000 jobs.

International business and associated business services have also had a painful slide with slight indications of recovery in 2014-2015.

It is too bad we don’t have a picture of pre-2008 due to the change in the occupational categories as it might give us more insight into what things looked like before and afterwards.

Then we can see retail, hotels and transport were all hard hit, likely especially due to the recession.  Restaurants seemed to hold steady.

Let’s move on to the growth sectors of the last few years.

Education, Healthcare and Social work was one of the few places that saw job growth. Perhaps unsurprisingly as Bermuda was increasingly encumbered with unemployed people needing assistance.

Oh, and government…


#WhereDidTheJobsGo – Comparing declines in major occupations by Bermudian status

Ah, so much to write about, so little time.  I haven’t followed up on our #WhereDidTheJobsGo analysis in a bit so I thought I’d throw up some more charts I’ve generated.

One thought I wanted to explore is what job declines looked like for Bermudians vs. non-Bermudians (excluding spouses and PRCs) on a relative basis.  \

Basically, if I zero the y-axis, plot Bermudians on the left, non-Bermudians on the right and adjust the upper values so that they start at the same spot, what do the declines look like relative to each other?

But what does it all mean?

Well, so far we’re seeing a story that non-Bermudian jobs on a relative basis declined first and more aggressively than Bermudian jobs across all job categories except Elementary Occupations.

It adds more questions to dig into.  Which jobs within major categories declined the most?  Why did Elementary Occupations see an increase rather than a decline?  Why did Plant and Machine Operators and Assemblers witness a spike in 2015?

Lots of questions, few answers as of yet.
What have we reviewed so far in this series?

Black Executives: A Bermudian Disparity

When we last examined the hard numbers for Black Executives in the Bermudian workforce, we noted how statistics of Black Executives were wildly skewed by the largely white non-Bermudian workforce.  This led us to examine in greater depth Bermudians only in the analysis of levels of employment data so that we could get a more representative picture.  This  subsequently left us with the questions of how well represented blacks are in various levels of the Bermudian workforce when compared to Bermudian demographics.

So we left off by looking at the levels of employment by Race and Bermudian Status from the Commission for Unity and Racial Equality’s Annual Review of the Workforce Survey (ARWS) Report of 2006.

This gives us a good picture of present representation of blacks and whites in the workforce at various levels of employment.  In order to better compare this to present Bermudian demographics, lets again review data from the ARWS Report which suggests that, in 2006, 72% of the Bermudian workforce was black, 21% was white and 7% was Mixed/Other.

Initially, just by looking at these numbers we can note how blacks are over-represented in the non-professional category and underrepresented in all others.  Yet this doesn’t give a clear picture without a better understanding of the actual hard numbers in each category so lets look at the actual numbers of Bermudians for each level of the workforce.

Here’s the dame data as above, simply represented in another way so we get a clear idea of the representation in percentages.

Percentages, however, don’t tell the whole picture.  The whole picture is much better represented when you start comparing the hard numbers to get an idea of how many non-professionals there are vs. the other levels of employment.


Suddenly it becomes much more clear how a 5% difference from the Bermudian demographic of 72% of blacks in the workforce can add up to such wide ranging disparities in the other categories.  Indeed, in order for the various levels of employment to match Bermudian workforce demographics, 680 of the 13033 non-professionals would need to be white instead of black, 209 of the 3479 non-managerial would need to be black instead of white, as with 103 of the 940 middle managers, 285 of the 1186 senior managers and 109 of the 350 executives who would each also need to be black instead of white.

However, let’s not be racist by pretending that the mixed/other category doesn’t matter and recognize that there is a 2% under-representation in the executive category equating to some 7 whites that should be mixed/other.

So now that we’ve identified the hard numbers with regards to the racial disparities between Bermudians in the various levels of the workforce we’re now prepared to pursue our next question:  what is the cause of these disparities?

Black Executives: The ex-factor

Before we got sidetracked with some weak humour, we were exploring the hard numbers for black executives.  When we last left off, we were asking the question of how non-Bermudians impact the statistics that measure the level of employment on a racial level.

Here’s what we examined, the stat for Level of Employment by Race in 2006 from the Commission for Unity and Racial Equality’s Annual Review of the Workforce Survey Report of 2006.

As suggested, it’s a startling stat, up until you realize that this isn’t a Bermudian only statistic because non-Bermudian racial demographics are included.

Thankfully, CURE has also been tracking and publishing statistics of Levels of Employment by Race since 2004 so a more telling picture is available.  So, what is the real picture of Level of Employment by Race amongst Bermudians alone?

Ah, does this give a better picture?    Suddenly whites no longer dominate Senior and Executive management and the numbers make a bit more sense as the disparities between the race are less drastic and closer to Bermudian demographics.  While there is much more to be explored in this chart such as it’s implications of racial equality amongst Bermudians in the workforce and the causes thereof, let’s not get sidetracked just yet.

So, now lets look at the demographics of non-Bermudians in the workforce by Level of Employment.

Woah!  Whites dominate every level of non-Bermudian employment.  But wait, is that really shocking?  Let’s take a rough guess at the countries that are most likely to contribute non-Bermudian workers to Bermuda.  Are they most likely to be Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom?  Lets run with this assumption and subsequently examine their racial demographics.

According to the 2001 Canadian Census, 83% of the total population of Canada claimed they are white and only 2% claiming black.

According to the 2006 American Community Survey, 73% of American’s are white and 12.4% are Black.

According to the 2001 UK Census, 92.2% of UK citizens are white and only 2% are black.

So, if the most likely places that our International Businesses are to pull workers from are countries with white majorities is it really surprising that non-Bermudian level’s of employment are white dominated?  This when non-Bermudian demographics actually already appear to be representative of the racial demographics of the countries from which non-Bermudians originate?

Is it then right that we spend our time focusing on levels of employment by race overall when they are inherently skewed by non-Bermudian demographics?  Perhaps we shouldn’t be allowing the expatriate factor to skew our statistics when our focus should be on two core goals:

  • achieving racial equality amongst Bermudians
  • gradually decreasing our reliance on foreign workers


This raises new questions:

  • How representative are levels of employment by race of Bermudian demographics when only looking at Bermudians?
  • What are the likely causes for present disparities between the Bermudian races and what potential solutions are there?
  • Does the draft workforce equity legislation adequately address the two core goals stated above?

Black executives: The hard numbers

Back in October I expressed disappointment at the poor statistical analysis of the decline in the ratio of Black executives in the workforce.  Subsequently, I’ve done some digging and discovered that the Commission for Unity and Racial Equity produced the comprehensive, non-spin based, numbers I was looking for.

As part of the Annual Review of the Workforce Survey Report 2006, here is the depiction of the Level of Employment by race for 2006.

As quoted by Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Wayne Perinchief, the rate of black executives indeed did  decline from 29% in 2005 to 27% in 2006.  In my piece, I questioned whether the hard actual number of black executives increased or decreased.  Studying the actual numbers, the number of black executives overall decreased from 173 in 2005 to 159 in 2006.

However, it is interesting to note that in 2004, the percentage of black executives was 27%, some 154, which suggests that if you compare 2004 to 2006, the percentage was the same and yet there was an increase of 5 black executives.

Interesting.  Lets dig a little bit further back as data was collected in 2003 and 2002 wasn’t it?  Well, in 2003, the percentage of black executives in the workforce was 21%, however, the number of black executives was 203.    In 2002?  The percentage of black executives in the workforce was 22% with the overall number being at 217.

So, we’ve had over the years a gradual decrease in the number of executives overall, black executives included, however, the percentage of black executives has been generally trending upwards indicating that despite the wild claims of some, international business may well be doing it’s part in promoting blacks in the workforce.  Though, of course, all we really care to focus on is the one year drop from 29% to 27% in 2006 rather than focusing on the data that has been available for 5 years, right?

Now, here’s the real kicker.  While digging through the actual hard numbers I discovered that ‘black executives’ isn’t the same as ‘black Bermudian executives’ in CURE’s statistics.  I’ve realised that I was making the incorrect assumption that CURE statistics was dedicated to promoting equality between Bermudians in the workforce.  However, this was not the case as CURE was originally studying race overall including Bermudians and non-Bermudians in their reports. From 2004 on, statistics have been improved to give breakdowns of employment levels by race and Bermudian status, which presents a far different picture.  This leads me to a whole new question, how are non-Bermudian’s being worked into the justification for why workforce equity legislation as it exists in it’s draft form is necessary and should they be non-Bermudians be included when calculating whether black Bermudians have fair representation in our workforce?

More on this with greater investigation of the real hard numbers to come, as time allows.