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Purpose Target: Participation

 To maintain our position on labour market participation as the top performing country in the UK

Current Status

Between Q3 2006 and Q4 2009, Scotland maintained its position as the top performing country in the UK on labour market participation. Between Q1 2010 and the current quarter, Scotland has been the top performing country in 19 of the 30 calendar quarter releases.  

Scotland’s employment rate of 75.2 per cent for Q2 2017, is the second highest across all UK countries, 0.3 percentage points below the rate for England.  

This indicates a maintaining position compared with a year ago when Scotland had the second highest employment rate across all UK countries, 0.7 percentage points below England.

Last Update: 23 August 2017
Next Update: November 2017

down To close the gap with the top five OECD economies by 2017

Current Status

Scotland has the 15th highest employment rate of the OECD countries. The gap between Scotland and the 5th highest has increased over the year and now stands at 3.0 percentage points.

The gap between Scotland’s employment rate and that of the 5th highest OECD country is higher by 0.6 percentage pont than in 2006 (baseline

Last Update: 26 July 2017
Next Update: July 2018

Participation

Why is this Purpose Target important?
What will influence this Purpose Target?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
Criteria for recent change
Further information

Why is this Purpose Target important?

Improved labour market participation is a key driver of economic growth. Increasing the number of people in employment adds to the productive capacity of the economy and makes better use of our human capital potential. It also improves the standard of living of those moving into employment and supports a more equitable distribution of the benefits of growth.

What will influence this Purpose Target?

Participation rates in Scotland are influenced by demand for labour and the number of jobs in the Scottish economy as well as the supply of labour to fill those jobs. Supply depends on:

  • The ability of individuals to participate in the labour market (which is influenced by health and social factors as well as skills levels)
  • The willingness of individuals to participate in the workforce (which is affected by issues such as the relative incentive of seeking income from employment)
  • The impact of net migration on the size of the workforce

What is the Government's role?

The Government can take a number of actions to influence labour market participation in Scotland. These include:

  • Learning, skills and well-being: ensuring the supply of education and skills is responsive to, and aligned with, actions to boost demand for skills; and removal of any barriers that stand in the way of individuals realising their potential in the workforce
  • Supportive business environment: provision of responsive and focused enterprise support to increase the number of highly successful, competitive businesses; a focus on key sectors with high-growth potential; and a competitive tax regime which gives incentives for business growth and attracts mobile factors of production
  • Effective government: supporting local employability partnerships to increase job outcomes for those disadvantaged in the labour market, developing and delivering effective and coherent services which meet the needs of individuals and the local labour market

How is Scotland performing?

For UK Target:

Scotland currently has the second highest employment rate of the four countries in the United Kingdom and over the past year the employment rate has increased by 0.9 percentage points. From the mid-1990s, Scotland’s employment rate was steadily increasing, reaching a peak of 74.9 per cent during the second calendar quarter of 2007 (Apr-Jun).

This was followed by a period of lower employment rates due to the impact of the recession, although during the past three years, Scotland’s employment rate has been gradually returning to its pre-recession position.

Last year, in Q1 2016, Scotland had an employment rate of 73.2 per cent (highest) and England had an employment rate of 74.5 per cent, giving a gap of 1.4 percentage points to the detriment of Scotland.

Scotland’s employment rate increased in the latest calendar quarter (Jan-Mar 2017) to 74.0 per cent, making it the second highest of all UK countries. England (the highest of all UK countries) had an employment rate of 75.2 per cent, giving a gap of -1.1 percentage points.

So over the year, the gap has shifted by 0.2 percentage points in Scotland’s favour.

Please note that figures for change over the year and gap between Scotland and England are based on unrounded figures.

 

participation uk chart

participation uk chart

Source: Labour Force Survey, Seasonally Adjusted data, Office for National Statistics
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

For OECD Target:

The employment rate in Scotland, using the European age definition (15-64), in 2016 was 71.9% which is the same as the previous year. Compared to the other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Scotland has moved from 13th position to now having the 15th highest employment rate.

The gap in employment rates between Scotland and the country with the 5th highest rate (New Zealand in 2015 and Denmark in 2016) has increased from 2.4 percentage points in 2015 to 3.0 percentage points in 2016.

OECD chart

OECD chart 2

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Annual Population Survey
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

What more do we know about this Purpose Target?

In Q3 2016,  Scotland had the second highest male and female employment rates across the countries of the UK, 77.0% and 70.3% respectively.  The male employment rate in Scotland was 2.8 percentage points below England (highest male employment rate at 79.8%) while the female employment rate in Scotland was 0.4 percentage point below Wales (highest female employment rate at 70.6% ).

For Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Target:
The employment rate in Scotland, using the European age definition (15-64), in 2015 was 71.9% which is 0.5 percentage points higher than the previous year. Compared to the other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Scotland has moved from 12th position to now having the 13th highest employment rate.

Between 2014 and 2015 the gap in employment rates between Scotland and the country with the 5th highest rate (New Zealand in 2014 and 2015) decreased from 2.9 percentage points in 2014 to 2.4 percentage points in 2015.

Gap between the employment rates in Scotland and the fifth highest OECD country  
         
Year 5th Highest OECD Country Employment Rate 5th Highest OECD Country (%) Employment Rate Scotland (%) Gap (Percentage Points)
2006 New Zealand 74.8 72.3 2.4
2007 New Zealand 75.1 72.5 2.6
2008 Netherlands 75.9 72.2 3.7
2009 Denmark 75.3 70.6 4.8
2010 Denmark 73.3 69.8 3.6
2011 Sweden 73.6 69.2 4.3
2012 Sweden 73.8 69.3 4.5
2013 Netherlands 74.3 69.6 4.7
2014 New Zealand 74.2 71.4 2.8
2015 New Zealand 74.3 71.9 2.4
2016 Denmark 74.9 71.9

3.0

 

Criteria for recent change

For UK Target:
This evaluation is based on: any difference in the gap within +/- 1 percentage points of the equivalent quarter in the previous year suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A movement of 1 percentage point or more in Scotland's favour suggests that the position is improving, whereas a movement of 1 percentage point or more to Scotland's detriment suggests that the position is worsening.

For Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Target:

This evaluation is based on: any difference in the gap within +/- 0.5 percentage points of the previous year suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A movement of 0.5 percentage point or more in Scotland's favour suggests that the position is improving, whereas a movement of 0.5 percentage point or more in favour of the fifth highest OECD country suggests that the position is worsening.

As the gap has shifted by 0.6 percentage points to Scotland’s detriment, it is recommended that a ‘Performance Worsening’ is posted.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

View Purpose Target

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Title:Participation
Description:Participation
File:Participation [XLSX, 120.4 kb: 22 Aug 2017]
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