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Summary: Gender and Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning

Summary: Gender and Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning

  • Over half (56.5%) of students in Higher Education in 2015-16 were women.

  • In Higher Education in 2015-16, most students in Science and Engineering subjects were men (63.4%), while most students were women in Medical Studies (76.6%), Business and Social Studies (61.7%) and Education and the Arts (67.9%).

  • The subject areas with the largest proportion of students who were men were Engineering and Technology (84.7% men) and Computer Science (81.4% men). The subject areas with the largest proportion of women students were subjects allied to Medicine (81.1%) and Veterinary Science (79.0%).

Source: Higher Education Students and Qualifiers at Scottish Institutions 2015-16


  • In 2015-16, students in Further education were more evenly split than those in HE. 53% of students in Further Education were women and 47% were men.

  • Considering those of working age (18-64 for men, 18-59 for women), the subject groups with the largest proportion of men students were Nautical Studies (93% men) and Engineering (92% men). The subject groups with the largest proportion of women were Care (73% women) and Hairdressing, Beauty and Complimentary Therapies (95% women)

Source: SFC Report on Widening Access 2015-16 (Formerly Learning for All),  Scotland’s Colleges: A Baseline Report 15-16


  • In 2016-17, there were more men starting Modern Apprenticeships than women (60% of new starts were men).

  • In 2016-17, 70% of Modern Apprenticeship frameworks had a gender balance of 75:25 or worse.

  • In 2015/16, the framework groupings with the highest proportion of men were Construction & Related (98%), Automotive (97%), Other Manufacture (97%). The framework groupings with the highest proportion of women were Personal Services (93%), Sport, Health and Social Care (83%) and Administration and Related (72%).

Source: Modern Apprenticeship Statistics, 2016-17 Q4


  • In 2015-16, young men were slightly less likely than women to be in positive destinations. 91.0% of 16-19 year old women were participating in education, employment, training or other development, compared to 89.7% of 16-19 year old men.

  • Young women were more likely to be in education (75.9%) than young men (66.9%)

  • Young men were more likely to be participating in employment (20.3%) than young women (13.4%).

Source: Annual Participation Measure 2016, Skills Development Scotland


Useful Links

Gender page

Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning

national Performance Framework

National Performance Framework

Fifty National Indicators enable progress towards the achievement of the National Outcomes and ultimately the delivery of the Purpose to be tracked.

Indicators are chosen to show how the Scottish Government are progressing on the range of Outcomes.

National Indicator number 8: Improve the skill profile of the population, data table

National Indicator numer 12: Increase the proportion of young people in learning, training or work, data table

National Indicator number 13: Increase the proportion of graduates in positive destinations, data table

- progress against these National Indicators, broken down by select equality characteristics can be found under the 'What more do we know about the National indicator?' heading.

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

Work First Scotland & Work Able Scotland 2017 Q1&2 (December 2017) - Statistics on the participants of the Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland for April to September 2017.  This publication contains data for age, disability, ethnicity and gender

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. The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

External Publications and Outputs

College Statistics 2016-17 (SFC, January 2018) An annual publication which contains an overview of college student characteristics, including age, disability, ethnicity, and gender. A more detailed breakdown is published in the Widening Access report published later in the year

Widening Access For All 2015/16 (SFC, September 2017) A report on progress towards the Commission on Widening Access targets. Contains data on further and higher education with analysis covering age, disability, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status

Modern Apprenticeship Statistics 2016/17 (Skills Development Scotland, June 2017) Statistics on modern aprenticeships, covering age, deprevation, disability, ethnicity, and gender

External Research Organisations

Scottish Funding Council - Collects information on further and higher education in Scotland

Skills Development Scotland - Collects information on modern apprenticeships in Scotland



Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning