Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings linked to 2011 Census - England and Wales

This dataset links the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) to the 2011 Census for England and Wales.

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), carried out in April each year, is the most comprehensive source of information on the structure and distribution of earnings in the UK. ASHE provides information about the levels, distribution and make-up of earnings and paid hours worked for employees in all industries and occupations. The census is undertaken by the Office for National Statistics every 10 years and gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales.

Linking these datasets allows for insight into the dynamics of wage and employment issues, and how characteristics such as gender, disability, and ethnicity influence these. This linked dataset was developed as part of the Wage and Employment Dynamics project to aid better understanding of wage inequalities in Britain.

The Wage and Employment Dynamics team has also created some Stata code to enrich the core ASHE dataset and to add new variables such as minimum wage rates and survey dates. There are also new weights which account for attrition and selection effects, available from 2004. Access to the code will enable research into the dynamics of wage and employment issues, from labour market entry, through job mobility and career progression to retirement. It will be available within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service on a shared accessible drive. Please note that this code is not part of the ONS ASHE official Statistics output.

Component datasets and linkage

This dataset is composed of the ASHE 2011 dataset which includes de-identified personal information such as age and gender, employment information such as wage and working hours and employer information such as the work postcode. ASHE has been linked to the 2011 Census which provides additional personal information such as education, qualifications, country of birth as well as family information.

Timeframe 1997 - 2021
Update Frequency Annual
Population ASHE population spine (approx. 0.66% of the entire workforce)
Coverage England and Wales
Size ~175,000 records per year
Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings linked to 2011 Census - England and Wales


Examples of research questions

  • How do people’s earnings change throughout their career? And how does this differ depending on characteristics such as gender, disability, or ethnicity?
  • What are the patterns or characteristics of those who do and do not progress out of low paid employment?
  • What is the relationship between migration and the labour market?
  • What role do employers play in wage inequality?

This list is illustrative only and intended to demonstrate the research potential of the dataset. For research priorities, see the areas of research interest or the ADR UK funding opportunity.

Core documentation

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User guide

Both the user guide for ASHE-2011 Census and Code for Enriched ASHE quick start guide documents can be found on the Wage and Employment Dynamics website.

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Data dictionary

The data dictionary is available on the ADR UK Data Catalogue.

Other supporting resources

Resource Description
Training to use the data

See the upcoming training opportunities on the data, as well as recorded webinars from previous training sessions.

Data Explained: ASHE-2011 Census A Data Explained document outlining experiences and learnings from working with the dataset.
Wage and Employment Dynamics Knowledge Hub The Knowledge Hub is a community and knowledge base for researchers who are interested in or are currently accessing the ASHE dataset – or the WED versions of this data - via the ONS SRS. The Knowledge Hub allows this growing community of researchers to access relevant information and engage with other ASHE data users. It is intended as a platform for researchers to ask questions of each other regarding ASHE datasets or analysis. It allows researchers to connect, collaborate and share knowledge, insight and good practice.

Published research using the data

Accessing the data

Accredited researchers with an approved project can access the ASHE linked to Census 2011 dataset via the ONS Secure Research Service. 

1. Apply to become an accredited researcher under the Digital Economy Act 2017

2. Apply for an accredited research project

3. Access the data securely

The options available to access this dataset are:

  • Safe Rooms – based in ONS offices in Titchfield and Newport, open Monday-Friday, 9.00-16.00

  • SafePod Network– a small, self-contained secure room with a single workstation

  • Assured Organisational Connectivity – the ability to access the ONS Secure Research Service from your office or home. Check what arrangements your institution already has or can put in place.

View ASHE linked to 2011 Census - England and Wales 

ADR UK Research Fellowships

ADR UK is funding policy-relevant research using ADR England flagship datasets. Research fellows will address priority research questions, generate insights and demonstrate the value of ADR England data. These datasets are held securely within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service or other trusted research environments.

Learn more

“This project addresses weaknesses in our evidence base – improving the quality of longitudinal earnings data and extending coverage to a broader range of characteristics –that should enable researchers to give new and innovative insights into the wage and employment dynamics of the lowest paid.”

Tim Butcher, Chief Economist, Low Pay Commission

Download the ADR England Flagship Datasets brochure