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National Indicator: Living Wage

up Reduce the proportion of employees earning less than the Living Wage

Indicator Measure
The proportion of employees earning less than the Living Wage in Scotland

Current Status
In 2017, the proportion of employees earning less than the Living Wage was 18.4, a decrease of 1.8 percentage points on the previous year.

NI 52 - Graph 2

Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), Office for National Statistics
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 8 November 2017
Next Update: November 2018

Living Wage

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
What more do we know about this National Indicator?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Low pay is one of the three main drivers of in-work poverty, which has been an increasing feature of poverty statistics in recent years. In 2013/14, half of working age adults in poverty lived in working households, as did more than half of children in poverty. There is a need to ensure that those in work get fairly rewarded, supporting those on lowest incomes and protecting public sector jobs.

Research evidence also highlights that paying the Living Wage benefits both employees and employers alike. Paying the Living Wage demonstrates a commitment by employers to their staff, and in return employers have experienced benefits including increased productivity, reduce absenteeism and improved staff morale.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Although the Scottish Government's commitment to the Living Wage (see below) has led to payment of the Living Wage across the public sector, further increases in incomes of low paid workers will depend on other employers’ commitment to adopt the Living Wage. This in turn will be influenced by legislative requirements from the UK Government, including when the National Living Wage is introduced in April 2016.

What is the Government's role?

The Scottish Government is an accredited Living Wage employer. The Living Wage is paid to staff (including NHS) and staff of contractors working in our buildings. It has been a feature of our public sector pay policy since 2011. The Scottish Government has encouraged other Scottish public bodies to follow that lead. The Scottish Government funds the Poverty Alliance to run the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative and we are on track to meet the target of 1000 Scots based employers by autumn 2017. In addition, the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 took every opportunity to tackle Living Wage through procurement. Following this statutory guidance, addressing Fair Work Practices, including the Living Wage in public contracts which was published on 6 October 2015.

Promotion of the Living Wage is a key part of the wider Scottish Government approach to promoting fair work:

  • In 2015, we established the Fair Work Convention. Their Framework (2016) sets a vision, which we fully endorse, for Fair Work to be embedded in all workplaces by 2025.

  • The Scottish Business Pledge was launched in summer 2015 with payment of the Living Wage being a mandatory requirement, amongst other actions which boost innovation, productivity, and fair work.

How is Scotland performing?

The proportion of employees earning less than the Living Wage has decreased between 2014 and 2017, from 19.3% in 2014 to 18.4% in 2017.

The 2017 figure is lower than the comparable figure for the UK of 22.0%.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

What more do we know about this National Indicator?

A higher proportion of female employees earn less than the Living Wage, than male employees.

In 2016, the proportion of female employees earning less than the Living Wage was 24%. The proportion of male employees earning less than the Living Wage was 15% in 2016.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

The evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 1.5 percentage points of last year’s figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease in the gap of 1.5 percentage points or more suggests that the position is improving; whereas an increase in the gap of 1.5 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

Further information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Living Wage Foundation

Poverty Alliance

Related Strategic Objectives

Wealthier & Fairer

Safer & Stronger

View National Indicator Data

Downloadable document:

Title:Reduce the proportion of employees earning less than the Living Wage
Description:Reduce the proportion of employees earning less than the Living Wage
File:Reduce the proportion of employees earning less than the Living Wage [XLSX, 27.7 kb: 07 Nov 2017]
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