Addressing racial inequality in the workplace

Plan to improve fairness in the labour market.

Employers across Scotland are being encouraged to close the employment and pay gaps for all ethnicities under a new strategy launched today.

A Fairer Scotland for All: An Anti-Racist Employment Strategy sets out the actions the Scottish Government will take and how it will work with employers to help make Scotland’s workplaces more diverse, fair and inclusive. 

The strategy will support employers to: 

  • improve their collection of workforce data, including reporting their pay gap, and take action on the findings
  • take an anti-racist approach to remove barriers in their recruitment, retention and progression practices to improve representation of workers
  • drive cultural, attitudinal and organisational change through building an understanding of the impact of institutional racism and the processes and practices in an organisation that lead to the unfair treatment of people on the basis of race

Labour market data and research shows that ethnic minorities are more likely to be paid less than their white counterparts, be underemployed or underrepresented at senior level roles, and experience workplace discrimination.

The new strategy will sit alongside the refreshed Fair Work Action Plan, which brings together the Scottish Government’s existing Fair Work, Gender Pay Gap and Disabled People’s Employment action plans.

Both have been developed following extensive consultation and engagement with the public, private and third sectors along with trade unions.

Employment and Fair Work Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“Our ambitious plans for Scotland’s economy are built on ensuring that everyone can thrive in a diverse, safe and inclusive workplace. The refreshed Fair Work Action Plan and anti-racist employment strategy will further drive these ambitions.

“All employees should have the opportunity to succeed and, in cooperation with businesses, we are making great progress in spreading fair work principles across the workplace.

“More people in Scotland receive the real Living Wage and above than in any other part of the UK, while the disability employment gap is at its lowest since our baseline year of 2016. Meanwhile, the latest gender pay gap figures for full-time employees show Scotland is outperforming the UK as a whole.

“However, we recognise more needs to be done to address racial inequality in the workplace. The anti-racist employment strategy sets out the Scottish Government’s commitment to work with business to develop a diverse and inclusive workforce, recognise the skills of hidden talent pools and drive productivity to grow the economy.”


The refreshed Fair Work Action Plan and anti-racist employment strategy continue the Scottish Government’s commitment to Fair Work outcomes for all, as well as specific improvements in the experience of work and the workplace for women, disabled people and racialised minorities - people treated unfairly or disadvantaged on the basis of race.

A Fairer Scotland for All: An Anti-Racist Employment Strategy

Fair Work Action Plan: Becoming a leading Fair Work Nation by 2025

Read how the Scottish Government is improving pay and working conditions through public sector investment.


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