Manufacturing - recovery plan: equalities impact assessment

The Equalities and Fairer Scotland Impact Assessment (EQIA) for Making Scotland's Future: A Recovery Plan for Manufacturing considers how the Recovery Plan impacts on the diverse groups of manufacturing stakeholders, and its socio-economic impact to help reduce inequalities in Scotland.

Stage 1: Framing

Results of framing exercise

Due to the pace with which Making Scotland’s Future: A Recovery Plan For Manufacturing has been developed, it has not been possible to conduct the usual level of framing workshops that would normally take place.

Given the importance of assessing the socio-economic impact and the impact on each of the protected characteristics, the Scottish Government has considered the actions set out in the plan against the needs of the general equality duty as set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. The Scottish Government has also considered whether the measures could constitute direct and/or indirect discrimination.

However, it should be noted that Making Scotland’s Future: A Recovery Plan For Manufacturing has been developed through the Making Scotland’s Future Programme Board whose membership comprises of senior representation from: Scottish Engineering Trade Association; Trade Unions as nominated by the STUC; Scottish Economic Development and Skills Agencies; Innovate UK/Made Smarter; and Scottish Government. This provided an opportunity to consult on the socio-economic impact of the plan and the impact on those in the protected characteristic groups.

Representation on the Making Scotland’s Future Programme Board

The following organisations are involved in the Making Scotland’s Future Programme Board:

  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • South of Scotland Enterprise
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • Scottish Engineering
  • Innovate UK
  • Unite the Union
  • National Manufacturing Institute Scotland

Specifically, the Equality and Fairer Scotland Impact Assessment considers impacts on equalities groups based on the three legal tests it is required to address:

  • Does this policy eliminate discrimination for each of the nine protected characteristics? If not is the discrimination justifiable? Can it be mitigated?
  • Does this policy advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not?
  • Does this policy foster good community relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not?

Within Government

The following Scottish Government directorates has been consulted throughout the planning stage:

  • Directorate for Energy and Climate Change
  • Directorate for International Trade and Investment 
  • Directorate for Scottish Procurement and Property


  • Business and industry representatives have been involved throughout the planning and development stages of the plan.   The Manufacturing Strategic Leadership Group, comprising of public, private and academic sector members have been consulted.
  • Businesses will have a further opportunity to contribute via a public consultation process.

Groups with protected characteristics

  • An internal framing exercise has been completed which has identified that the Recovery Plan may have some impact on all 9 protected characteristic groups, with some groups being more impacted than others. Where any negative impacts have been identified, we have sought to address these.  Data gathered advises that:
  • 36.5% of the manufacturing workforce are aged 50+. This compares with 33% of the Scottish workforce as a whole.
  • 67.4% of the manufacturing workforce were aged 35+ compared to 64.9% of Scotland's overall workforce.2
  • The above figures indicate that the manufacturing workforce is comparatively older than that of people in employment generally and so any intervention aimed at the manufacturing sector is likely to affect older people proportionately more than younger people.
  • 76.6% of the manufacturing workforce are men with only 23.4% women. This is significantly lower than for Scotland as a whole – where 48.8% of the workforce are women.
  • This would indicate that any intervention in the manufacturing sector will disproportionately affect men. It also may be indicative that there is a lack of opportunity for women in the sector and this could be addressed in the implementation of the proposed actions.
  • 6.9% of employees in the manufacturing sector are women with dependent children (aged 0-16) compared with 15.4% of the Scottish workforce as a whole.3  This may be indicative of barriers to employment for women with young children in the sector.
  • Also of note is that only 8.8% of those employed in manufacturing work part-time compared with 26.4% of employees in Scotland overall.4 This could also contribute to creating a barrier for people with young children to work in the sector.
  • Census data shows that 98.51% of employees in manufacturing identify as White compared with 96.73% of employees in the Scottish workforce overall.
  • 8.19% of people with a White background who are employed in Scotland are employed in the manufacturing sector. This compares with only 3.29% of people with an Asian background, 5.59% of those with a Black Caribbean background, 3.8% of those with a Black African background, 4.5% of those with a mixed background and 5.41% of those with a different ethnic background.5
  • This indicates that employment in manufacturing is disproportionately made up of people from a White background. This could indicate a lack of opportunity for people from a non-White background in the manufacturing sector which could potentially be addressed in the implementation of the Recovery Plan.
  • 25.6% of workers in the manufacturing sector have a medical condition or illness lasting more than 12 months with 11.6% having such a condition which was classed as respiratory, cardiovascular, or diabetes related or related to a progressive long term illness.
  • Census data shows that the percentage of people working in manufacturing who identify as Christian is slightly higher than in the Scottish workforce overall with 53.56% of manufacturing workers identifying as Christian versus 52.05% in the overall workforce. Among workers identifying as Christian the percentage identifying as Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic is slightly higher than for Scottish workers as a whole (32.23% versus 30.56% and 17.21% versus 16.15% respectively) while numbers for other Christian denominations are slightly lower (4.12% versus 5.34%).
  • The percentage of workers in manufacturing belonging to non-Christian faiths is lower across the board with 0.16% of the workforce identifying as Buddhist versus 0.25% overall, 0.16% identifying as Hindu versus 0.34% overall, 0.07% identifying as Jewish versus 0.11% overall, 0.41% identifying as Muslim versus 1.04% overall and 0.07% identifying as Sikh versus 0.17% overall.5
  • 0.2% of manufacturing workers belong to other, not listed, faiths which compares to 0.33% overall. 38.85% of manufacturing workers report that they belong to no faith group compared to 39.44% in Scotland’s overall workforce and 6.51% did not state any response in the census compared with 6.28% in the overall workforce. 5
  • Of particular note is that the data in the census indicates that the rate of employment of those belonging to the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths is less than half of that in the Scottish workforce overall. This agrees generally with the data on ethnicity which shows that people from an Asian background are less likely to be employed in the manufacturing sector.
  • There is insufficient evidence to show how the guidance will affect people who fall into the following groups of protected characteristics:
  • Transgender people
  • Non-heterosexual people

Extent/Level of impact assessment required

The Scottish Government’s assessment is that insufficient evidence is held to determine the full impact of Making Scotland’s Future: A Recovery Plan For Manufacturing.

The EQIA process has highlighted that there are existing inequalities in employment in manufacturing with the vast majority (76.6%) of those employed being male. The rate of employment of people from non-White ethnic backgrounds and from non-Christian religious backgrounds is also noticeably lower than that in Scotland’s workforce as a whole. There is also evidence to indicate that the manufacturing workforce is older than the Scottish workforce overall.

Making Scotland’s Future: A Recovery Plan For Manufacturing includes a commitment to Fair Work and Just Transition principles and recognises the need for a vibrant, diverse manufacturing sector to support Scotland’s long-term economic recovery.

The actions set out in the plan are designed to support a collaborative and inclusive approach to recovery for the manufacturing sector. The plan includes actions aimed at safeguarding apprenticeships and promoting progressive Fair Work Practices. Through this the plan will provide an opportunity to target people who are underrepresented in the manufacturing workforce.

Along with the public consultation on the draft Making Scotland’s Future – A Recovery Plan For Manufacturing, which was launched on 4 December 2020, the Equality and Fairer Scotland Impact Assessment consultation will give a wide range of equality stakeholders the opportunity to help shape the final policy.   Consultation responses will help us to consider the socio-economic impact of the Recovery Plan and its proposed actions on people with one or more of the protected characteristics and ensure that any impacts are necessary, proportionate and legal in line with our commitment to creating a modern, inclusive Scotland which protects, respects and realises equality and human rights.



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