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Jobs and job recovery in Bermuda

This is a look at the Labour Force Survey report issued in May 2020 issued by the Bermuda Government Department of Statistics.

The report is based on data collected from the November 2018, May 2019 and November 2019 surveys. It presents survey highlights, concepts, definitions, methodology, summary counts, and indicators. The surveys were based on all private households using the household replacement method to focus on sampled households (3,001 private residential addresses, with a final size of 1,500 households). This represented a 95 per cent confidence level, with a margin of error of 2.5 per cent.

Since the report is current only through November 2019, it will not reflect the abrupt and debilitating changes in jobs and employment from the Covid-19 pandemic this year. Nevertheless, it is valuable in assessing categories, kinds of jobs, ages, salary skills remuneration, and other demographics.

The primary objective of the report was to measure and assess the current employment and unemployment situation in Bermuda, as of that date.

The categories are weighted on age, sex, and Bermudian status, with the focus on three job groups, the working population employed, the unemployed and the underemployed (distinctly different).


This represents all person 16 years or older who were without work, but were willing and able to work for pay and were actively seeking a job.


This is a subcategory of employed persons where their current employment situation is compared to an alternative employment situation, possibly optimal employment. There are three categories:

Time-related underemployed persons would like alternative employment with a sufficient number of work hours, or more convenient work hours, or permanent employment.

Skills-related underemployed persons desire alternative employment where individual can use skills and/or qualifications they possess that are not being utilised in their current job.

Income-related underemployed persons desire additional compensation than what they earn in their current position through an alternative position.

Working population

This comprises all residents, 16 years and over, who meet the following requirements:

— They perform some work for pay, profit, or family gain, in cash or in kind, or

— They were temporarily absent either from a job in which they already worked and still maintain a formal attachment, or from self-employment such as a business, a farm, or a service undertaking.

Statistics are often assumed to be incredibly tedious, and wading through numbers is not everyone's cup of tea. Learning statistic calculations can be even more frustrating for those of us who are not fans of mathematics. One of the items to keep in mind is that not every category is broken down specifically by Bermudian status only.

For instance, median gross annual income for a Bermudian ($61,130) versus non-Bermudian ($67,750) does not compare equally to median gross income by race.

Here are just some observations of this document, and a baseline for this year as well.

A table that shows working population by sex, age, Bermudian status, race, and highest academic qualification in 2018 and 2019, can be found on page 13 of the document.

The numbers

The total Bermuda working population was 35,748, comprised of 26,764 Bermudians and 8,942 non-Bermudians (non-Bermudian spouses of Bermudians, PRCs, and others).

Race and median gross income

Black (18,689), median gross income of $58,108.

White (11,375), $74,201.

Mixed other races (5,491), $57,561.

Not stated (193), n/a.

The education/academic qualifications and salary comparisons

The highest academic qualifications break down in a different manner, as the statistic encompasses the entire working population, not just Bermudians:

• No formal certificate (1,772 persons), median gross annual income of $44,537.

• High school certificate (11,694), $47,596.

• Tech/vocational/associate/diploma (8,517), $57,561

• Degree (13,765), $90,178.

The salary comparisons by age

As would be expected, median gross annual income salaries for younger age groups were lower than those in full-fledged career modes, ranging from $31,257 for the 16-24 age group, to highest earners in the 45-54 group at $69,147, then dropping down to a comparable range to the youngest earners for those 65 years old and older.


There were 1,249 people of Bermudian status unemployed, and 149 of non-Bermudian status.

The total unemployment rate for Bermudians was 4.4 per cent. The unemployment for Bermudians aged 16-24 was 18.1 per cent.

Unemployment broken down by category numbers

No formal certificate — 142 were unemployed

High school certificate — 646 unemployed

Tech/vocational/associate/diploma — 257 unemployed

Degree — 349 unemployed

Date showed that 847 people had been out of work for less than a year, while 531 were still unemployed after one year.


There were 4,764 people of Bermudian status underemployed. Of these, 1,411 were time-related underemployed, 1,275 were skills-related underemployed, while 2,077 were in the income-related underemployed group desiring to earn more income.

The largest group who desired better time-, skills- and income-related employment was those with high school certificate qualifications.

These statistics disclose many facts, among them disparity in earnings, ages, gender, race, and academic qualifications.

One significant item also stands out in addition to the inequalities listed above: that training, skills, degrees, and higher learning make a massive, positive difference in a working person's career.

Covid restraints have set so many Bermuda islanders back financially, and for which Moneywise is so very sorry.

But do not give up your lifeplanning! Your best earnings are ahead of you, this reports supports that by the age numbers.

If ever there was a positive argument for higher and continuing education, the report supports that goal too.

Please note the earnings chart accompanying this article is based on US numbers.


• Thanks to the statistics department for the report, which can be downloaded at the Bermuda Government Department of Statistics https://www.gov.bm/employment-statistics

Martha Harris Myron CPA JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services, dual Bermudian/US citizen. All proceeds earned from these columns are donated by the Royal Gazette to The Bermuda Salvation Army

Learning and living: a measurement of how educational attainment can affect a person's median lifetime earnings expectation (Graph source: societypages.org)

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Published July 04, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 04, 2020 at 8:02 am)

Jobs and job recovery in Bermuda

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