A fairer Scotland for women: gender pay gap action plan

Our action plan setting out a list of actions that will be taken to address the many drivers of the gender pay gap.

This document is part of a collection

Chapter 6 Employability

Since the concentrated impact of the 2008 financial crisis on young people, the Scottish Government has prioritised education and our on going commitment to developing young people who have the right skills and qualifications needed to succeed in the labour market, through our Developing the Young Workforce Strategy[53]. We were delighted in 2017, through our partnership working with COSLA that we were able to report the achievement of the programme’s headline target, to reduce youth unemployment by 40 per cent by 2020[54].

What we are doing

However while it is still imperative that we continue to improve the positive destinations of Scotland’s young people into employment, we also need to make sure that we are tackling any barriers which are preventing women from participating in employability programmes and employment, including specific barriers faced by women with other protected characteristics. It is essential that our employability programmes focus on that, and that they do not reinforce any of the causes of the gender pay gap, such as occupational segregation.

In March 2018, we published No One Left Behind: Next Steps for the Integrated and Alignment of Employability Services in Scotland[55]. This Plan laid out the steps we and our partners, including local government, NHS Scotland and SDS, will take to deliver more effective and joined-up employability support across Scotland. As part of this work we will be developing and introducing a collectively agreed national outcomes and measurement framework that enables front lines service providers – public, private and third sector – to align their activity and deliver more flexible services to the people that need them the most. In doing so we are currently developing the thinking on how women, especially those with other protected characteristics, who rely on these services can influence how they are developed and delivered.

Scotland has an opportunity to develop a system that focuses on the needs of the individual, to give them the right support when finding employment. The Scottish Government has shown its commitment to this belief with the roll-out of Fair Start Scotland from April 2018, which focuses on breaking down barriers to employment for people who are further removed from the labour market. That is why we have been, and will continue to work at a local, regional and national level to improve the join up in services and other provision focussing on health, housing and justice.

We will in 2019 and going forward:

  • Design programmes of employment support for individuals and parents, including the range of new employment support activities announced in the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, to challenge occupational segregation and improve women’s quality of employment, pay and progression.
  • Ensure that the process for designing the new £12 million programme of employment support for parents and other future employability programmes is gender-sensitive, and that the new programme explicitly meets women’s distinct needs. The programme will focus on the needs of the priority families identified in the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan and we can expect disabled women, minority ethnic women, single parents, women living in larger families, women with young children and young mothers to benefit. The programme will also focus on women who have experienced domestic abuse.
  • Ensure a gender-sensitive approach, as described above, to developing the specific programme of support for disabled parents, the £6 million pilot programme announced in A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Employment Action Plan. This will test approaches for supporting disabled parents towards and into work in areas with high levels of child poverty and low levels of disability employment.
  • Building upon and improving the collection of data being published by Scotland’s new devolved employment services, the Scottish Government will gather and publish gender-disaggregated data on wider employability delivery in Scotland, including around gendered needs of service users such as their care and childcare roles. As part of this there will be consideration given to, where possible, publishing analysis of experience of domestic abuse amongst service users.
  • Require successful bidder(s) for delivery of employment support for parents and of future employability programme to demonstrate their current knowledge and skills around intersectional gender analysis and gender sensitive service development and or their detailed plan for further developing that capacity. 


Email: lorraine.lee2@gov.scot

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