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Summary: Age and Labour Market

Employment OpportunitiesSummary: Age and Labour Market

In 2016:

  • The employment rate for those aged 16-64 stood at 72.9%.  The employment rate was highest for 35-49 year olds (81.9%) and lowest for the 16-24 year old age group (55.7%).

  • The employment rates for 25-34 year olds (80.8%) and 50-64 year olds (68.8%) increased by 0.2 percentage points while the employment rate for 16-24 year olds (55.7%) decreased by 0.7 percentage points and the employment rate for 35-49 year olds (81.9%) decreased by 0.5 percentage points.

  • For those aged 16 and over, the lowest employment rates were seen by those aged 16-24, 50-64 and 65+ (55.7%, 68.8% and 9.1%); 16-24 year olds are more likely than other age groups to be in full-time education, whereas those in the 50-64 and 65+ age groups are more likely to be retired or long-term sick.

  • The youth (16-24) employment rate in Scotland decreased by 0.7 percentage points over the year from 56.4% in 2015 to 55.7% in 2016. In the UK, the youth employment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the year to 53.5%.

  • 26,000 (10.7%) of 16-19 year olds were not in education, employment or training (NEET). The level of NEET has increased by 2,000 (1.1 percentage points) since 2015. The number of young people not in education, employment or training is down 10,000 on 2010 levels.

Source: Annual Population Survey

Employment rates by age and gender for 2016, and change since 2015, Scotland

Employment by Age

Source: Annual Population Survey, Jan-Dec 2016, ONS.


See the monthly briefing papers for the latest labour market statistics


Useful Links

Age page

Labour Market page

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

Regional Employment Patterns in Scotland - Statistics from the Annual Population Survey

The main publication contains data on age and gender while further equalities analysis can be found in the Supplementary Local Authority Tables.

Labour Market briefs

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Age Evidence Review (2013) - A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to age equality.



Annual Population Survey microdata is available (through a ‘special licence’ scheme) from the UK Data Archive.

External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site.

Office for National Statistics website


Other Reports relating to Age and the Labour Market

Older Workers in the Labour Market (2014) - report for the TUC Women's Conference on older women and the labour market.

Older People Inside and Outside the Labour Market: A Review (2009) - report by EHRC reviewing older people (50+) within and out of the labour market at different life stages.



Labour Market