4. Employment outcomes
The first part of this section examines the employment status of FSS participants, beginning with the 2019 cohort and moving on to look at the 2018 cohort and how their employment status has changed between the Wave 1 and Wave 2 surveys. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on employment will also be explored. It should also be noted that, for the majority of people joining FSS, not enough time has elapsed to allow for assessment of sustained employment job outcomes.
The second part of the section describes the quality of work that both the 2019 and 2018 cohort have moved into, including their job role, pay and contract type.
Employment status of the 2019 cohort
At the time of the survey, just under one third (31 per cent) of the 2019 cohort were either working for an employer or self-employed, see Figure 4.1, with a further four per cent having worked at some point in the last week. This total of 35 per cent is higher than the equivalent proportion of 2018 participants that were in work at the point of the Wave 1 interview (in June 2019), which was 29 per cent.
The majority were not in work however, with over half (53 per cent) claiming an out-of-work benefit, and one in twenty (five per cent) in education, as shown in Figure 4.1. Of those that were not working, four percent said that they do undertake some paid work in a typical week.
Of the group that was in work, almost half (46 per cent) started their role less than six months ago, with over four fifths (83 per cent) having started work within the last year (June 2019 or later). Figure 4.2 shows that over half (54 per cent) were working for 30 or more hours per week, with a further third (30 per cent) working between 16 and 29 hours a week. Men were more likely to work 30 or more hours a week (60 per cent) than women (44 per cent).
There were several factors that affected participants' likelihood of being in work at the time of the survey:
- Previous employment history was the clearest driver of current employment status, with those who had done some form of work in the last five years much more likely to be in work (45 per cent) than those who had not (nine per cent in work).
- Participants limited by a long-term health condition were more likely to be out of work (67 per cent), compared to those with no condition (50 per cent not in work).
- Age was also an important factor in determining employment status. Those aged 25-34 were more likely to be in work (43 per cent), while those aged 35-49 were less likely to be in work (27 per cent) than the other age groups. Those over 50 were less likely to be in education or training (one per cent) and more likely to be claiming an out of work benefit (60 per cent). As might be expected, the youngest group (16-24) were most likely to be doing something else (11 per cent) such as education or volunteering.
- Education also had an impact, with those with a degree level qualification or higher more likely to be in work (46 per cent, compared with 34 per cent average).
- There were some differences in employment status by geographical area. Participants in Lot 3 - Tayside more likely to be in work (62 per cent), compared to other areas, while those in Lot 5 - East were less likely to be in work (21 per cent).
In terms of the forms of work undertaken, women were more likely than men to be working for an employer in a paid role (34 per cent, compared with 26 per cent), and men were more likely than women to be claiming an out of work benefit (58 per cent, compared with 43 per cent). Those in priority families were more likely to be self-employed (six per cent) than those not in priority families (one per cent).
Employment status of the 2018 cohort
At the time of the Wave 2 survey, over a third (36 per cent) of the 2018 cohort were either working for an employer, self-employed or did some paid work in a typical week. The majority were not in work however, with over half (55 per cent) claiming an out-of-work benefit, and one in twenty (four per cent) in education, as shown in Figure 4.3 below.
Over two fifths (44 per cent) of this cohort started their job over a year ago, with almost three quarters (74 per cent) having started at least six months ago. This indicates that those entering work are managing to sustain it over time.
Again, there were various factors that affected the likelihood of 2018 participants being in employment at the wave 2 survey. The strongest driver appeared to be qualifications. Those with Highers or Advanced Highers were more likely to be working (52%) than average (36%) and those with no qualifications were more likely to be out of work (77%) than average (59%).
The youngest age group, 16-24, were more likely to be in work (51 per cent) than other ages, and women were more likely to be in education or training than men (8 per cent compared with one per cent). Furthermore, priority families were less likely to be out of work claiming benefits than those not in a priority family group (41 per cent, compared with 58 per cent).
Figure 4.4 shows that almost half (47 per cent) of those in work were working for 30 or more hours per week, while 15 per cent were on fewer than 16 hours per week. Men were more likely than women to be in work more than 30 hours per week (55 per cent compared with 35 per cent).
Change in employment status over time
The 2018 cohort joined the FSS service between March and December 2018. A proportion of this cohort were surveyed in both June 2019 and May 2020, allowing us to track their employment status over time.
Figure 4.5 shows that the majority of the 2018 cohort were not in work at either Wave 1 or Wave 2 (64 per cent). However, more than one in ten (12 per cent) had moved into work between waves, while only five per cent moved out of work. Around one in five (19 per cent) remained in work throughout both waves.
Participants were also asked about their employment status for the year between the Wave 1 and Wave 2 survey. As shown in Figure 4.6, the majority (64 per cent) reported that their employment situation had stayed the same between waves. One in six (16 per cent) were mostly in work (either employment or self-employment), while one in ten (11 per cent) were mostly out of work. Around two-thirds of those that said their situation had stayed the same were not working and claiming an out-of-work benefit (64%). A further quarter were working for an employer in a paid role (26%).
Impact of Coronavirus
All participants were asked whether and how the Coronavirus outbreak had impacted their employment status. Four in five (79 per cent) had seen no impact on their employment status at the time of the survey in May 2020. Of those that were affected, as shown in Figure 4.7, four in ten had left employment (31 per cent) or education/training (9 per cent). A further four in ten (39 per cent) were in employment but had been put on furlough, and a further nine per cent reported that their work had been affected in another way, such as increased hours or working from home. One in twenty (5 per cent) were working reduced hours. Those in the other category (9%) included participants who were forced to isolate or were on sick pay.
Quality of work
The Wave 2 survey asked participants about their job roles, how much they earned and the type of contract they were employed on. These questions were new at Wave 2 and asked of all participants (across the 2018 and 2019 cohorts) who were employed at the time of the survey.
Around one third (35 percent) of participants were currently employed, self-employed, or had done some work in the week before the Wave 2 survey. These participants were asked about their job title and their duties in the role, these answers were coded into job role descriptions and occupations.
Figure 4.8 shows the profile of working participants by occupation. They are ordered based on the ONS hierarchy which moves from highly skilled professions at the top, to less skilled professions at the bottom. Similarly, they are colour coded based on the broad occupation groups they fall into.
The most common grouping was elementary occupations, representing four in ten (41 percent) participants who had worked in the last week. Following that, 16 per cent worked in sales and customer service occupations. Around one in ten worked in caring leisure and other service occupations (12 per cent), process plant and machine operatives (9 per cent) and administrative and secretarial occupations (9 per cent). No participants worked in the following occupational groups: Corporate Managers and Directors; Science, Research, Engineering and Technology Professionals; Health Professionals; Protective Service Operations all of which fall into the top three major groups recognised by the ONS as requiring the most skills.
This means that half (50 per cent) of working FSS participants were in labour intensive occupations, almost three in ten (28 per cent) were working in service intensive occupations, 15 per cent were working in middle skill occupations and just over one in twenty (7 per cent) worked in high skill occupations.
Income from employment
Participants that were employed, self-employed or had worked in the last week were asked about their usual pay, including overtime, bonuses or tips, but before tax and other deductions were taken out.
Figure 4.9 shows that, of those participants that had worked in the last week, three in ten earned the national minimum wage or below (30 per cent). Around six in ten (61 per cent) earned above the national living wage, the majority of whom earned £8.22 to £9.30 an hour (36 per cent) or £9.30-£15.00 (22 per cent). A small minority earned above £15.01 an hour (3 per cent).
Types of employment contract
Participants who were working or had worked in the last week were asked what type of employment contract they held. Figure 4.10 shows that over half of this group were employed on a permanent contract (56 per cent). Around one quarter were employed on a temporary employment contract (23 per cent) with a further (10 per cent) employed on zero hours contracts. One in twenty were self-employed per cent (6 per cent).
There were some participant sub-groups that were more likely to be employed on a permanent contract than other groups. These included female participants (67 per cent compared to 51 per cent of male participants), and white participants (59 per cent, compared to 39 per cent of minority ethnic participants). In addition, individuals in priority families were more likely to be self-employed than those not part of the priority family groups (15 per cent, compared to 4 per cent).