Decrease in gender employment gap over last decade

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The gender employment gap, which measures the difference between the employment rates for men and women, has decreased from 10.5 percentage points in 2008 to 7.6 percentage points in 2018.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published statistics on Regional Employment Patterns in Scotland from the Annual Population Survey (APS). This publication presents annual estimates for a wide range of labour market indicators across local authority areas in Scotland for 2018.

The main findings for 2018 are:

  • 2,638,400 people (aged 16 years and over) were in employment in Scotland, slightly lower than in 2017. The employment rate was 74.1 per cent, slightly lower than the year before (74.2 per cent) and below the UK rate of 75.0 per cent. Since 2008, the employment rate has increased in 18 local authorities and decreased in 14 local authorities.
  • 7.4 per cent of employees who are in work said that they would prefer to work more hours for the same rate of pay, down from 10.0 per cent in 2012 and down from 8.0 per cent in 2017.
  • 88,600 people aged 65 years and over were in employment in Scotland, almost twice as many as ten years ago. The most common reason for working past 65 years was being ‘not ready to stop working’, reported by 55.4 per cent.
  • The employment rate for those classed as disabled under the Equality Act 2010 was 45.6 per cent which was significantly lower than the employment rate for those not classed as disabled (81.1 per cent). In 2018, the disabled employment rate gap was 35.5 percentage points.
  • The employment rate for the minority ethnic population aged 16-64 was 55.4 per cent, lower than the white population with an employment rate of 75.1 per cent, giving an employment rate gap of 19.7 percentage points.
  • 11.6 per cent (387,400) of the population in Scotland aged 16-64 years old have low or no qualifications (SCQF level 4 or below).

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Trends in Scotland’s labour market are monitored monthly using the quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Monthly briefing for Scotland is available at:

As the quarterly LFS has a smaller sample size it cannot be used to monitor trends below Scotland-level or smaller groups including employment by equality characteristics so the APS remains the best source for measuring Regional Employment Patterns.

About the publication

The APS is an annual version of the LFS and the official source of many labour market and skill indicators for Scotland and its local authority areas. The publication provides a summary of data covering key indicators such as employment rates, underemployment (employed people who would be willing to work extra hours), rates of young people not in education, employment or training,  economic inactivity and employment rate gap by gender, ethnicity and disability.

The data in this publication covers the calendar year, January to December 2018.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

The full statistical publication can be accessed at:


Media enquiries

Back to top