Health and social care - staff experience: report 2021

Independent report by Webropol providing detailed information and analysis of staff experience in health and social care across Scotland during 2021.

Appendix 8: Demographic Profile

Demographic questions have been introduced to the iMatter survey in 2021. A slightly different set of demographic questions were asked on the 2020 Everyone Matters Pulse Survey.

The demographic questions were optional within the survey and typically 7,000 – 11,000 staff (6% - 11%) chose not to answer one or more of these questions.


Among those responding to iMatter 2021, 75% are female and 19% are male. 6% of those taking part chose not to answer this question.

Percentage of respondents who confirm the sex they identify as: female 75%; Male 19%; no answer given 6%

In response to the question "Do you consider yourself to be trans or have a trans history?" less than 1% say they are trans, 93% say they are not and 7% chose not to answer the question.

As at September 2021, official statistics showed that 79% (headcount) of NHSScotland workforce are women.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual Orientation
Straight/Heterosexual 87%
Gay or Lesbian 2%
Bisexual 1%
Prefer to self-describe 1%
No Answer Given 8%

87% of staff describe their sexual orientation as straight/heterosexual.

8% of staff chose not to answer this question. However, among the 1% who said they prefer to self-describe, many used the 'please write in' box on the survey to say that they didn't want to answer the question, often saying that they felt they it was not relevant to be asked this question.

This differs from the 59% of the NHSScotland staff that declared their sexual orientation to be heterosexual, 2% declared to be gay, lesbian or bisexual while 39% declined to declare or unknown. The Scottish Surveys Core Question (2017) estimates 3% of the Scottish population are LGBT.

Maternity/Parental Leave

Among those taking part in iMatter 2020, 4% said they had been on maternity/parental or shared parental leave in the last 12 months, 88% said they had not and 8% chose not to answer the question.

Disability and Illness

In response to the specific question about disability*, 5% of staff said they considered themselves disabled, 88% said 'no' and 6% chose not to give an answer.

As at March 2021, 1.1% of staff working in NHS Scotland declared a disability. In the 2011 census, one in five of Scotland's population reported long-term disability; about 7% of the population declared a physical disability.

*Question asked: Disability: The Equality Act 2010 describes a disabled person as: '...anyone who has a physical, sensory or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'. Do you consider yourself to be disabled within the definition of the Equality Act 2010?

Staff were then asked "Do you have any of the following, which have lasted, or are expected to last, at least 12 months?" 85,212 staff answered the question and percentages shown below are based on those people. Among the 4% who selected 'Other condition' many mentioned hidden illnesses and conditions that work colleagues may not be aware of including asthma, diabetes, arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, and menopause.

22,948 staff did not answer this question. It is reasonable to assume the majority of these do not have any conditions lasting 12 months or more. Therefore, as a proportion of all staff the percentages reported below are likely to be reduced by c.20%.

Disability and illness
Different conditions that respondents who answered “Yes” to having a disability noted having:  Other condition 4%; Long term illness, disease or condition 14%; mental health condition 10%; Physical disability 4%; Developmental disorder – less than 1%; Learning difficulty 2%; Learning disability 1%; Full or partial loss of voice or difficulty speaking – less than 1%; blindness or partial sight loss 1%; Deafness or partial hearing loss 4%


11% of staff (11,414 people) chose not to provide their age. Of those that did, the majority of staff are aged between 35 and 64 years.

As at September 2021, 27% (headcount) of NHSScotland workforce are under 34 years, 49% are aged 35 – 54 years and 24% of all staff are over 55 years.

Age distribution of respondents: 3% were under 25 years of age; 15% were 25-34; 21% were 35-44; 27% were 45-54; 21% were 55-64; 2% were 65-74 and less than 1% were 75 and over

Among those staff who gave their age and identified as male or female, the age profile is very similar, with female staff very slightly younger than male staff.

Age split by gender
Age distribution of respondents split for male and female: 3% of male and 4% of female respondents were under 25 years old; 16% of males and 17% of females were 25-34; 24 percent of both males and females were 35-44; 30% of both males and females were 45-54; 24% of males and 23% of females were 55-65 and 3% of males and 2% of females were 65 or over

Marital/Civil Partnership Status

Half of staff taking part in iMatter 2021 say they are married, and a quarter say they have never married or registered a civil partnership. The remaining quarter includes 9% who chose not to answer the question.

Marital/Civil partnership status
Marital status of respondents: Never married and never registered in a civil partnership 25%; married 52%; in a registered civil partnership 1%; separated, but still legally married 3%; separated, but still legally in a civil partnership less than 1%; Divorced 8%; Formerly in a civil partnership which is now legally dissolved less than 1%; Widowed 2%; surviving partner from a civil partnership less than 1% and no answer given 9%

In Scotland, 2011 census indicated that 45% of people aged 16 and above were either in marriage or civil partnerships.


Half of staff taking part in iMatter 2021 say they have no religion. 21% of staff are Church of Scotland and 14% are Roman Catholic. 7% chose not to answer the question.

Respondents described their religion: None was 50%; Church of Scotland was 21%; Roman Catholic was 14%; Other Christian was 4%; Muslim was 1%; Hindu was less than 1%; Buddhist was less than 1%; Sikh was less than 1%; Jewish was less than 1%; Pagan was less than 1%; Another religion was 1% and No answer given was 7%

32% of staff employed by NHSScotland declared their religion as Christian, of which Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland made up of 16% and 10% of this respectively. 28% declared they follow no religion.

The most prevalent responses among the responses given to the 'write in' options are:

Another religion or body

  • Agnostic
  • Atheist
  • Humanist
  • Jehovah's Witness
  • Non-denominational
  • Orthodox


  • Sunni

Other Christian

  • Anglican
  • Baptist
  • Born again Christian
  • Church of England
  • Christian
  • Episcopal
  • Evangelical
  • Free Church (of Scotland)
  • Methodist
  • Pentecostal
  • Protestant


90% of staff describe their ethnicity as 'white' with the majority of those people saying they are Scottish. 4% of staff describe their ethnicity as other than white and 6% chose not to answer the question.

What is your ethnic group?

White 90%

  • Scottish 85%
  • Other British 10%
  • Irish 2%
  • Showman / Showwoman <1%
  • No Answer Given 1%
  • Polish 1%
  • Gypsy / Traveller <1%
  • Roma <1%
  • Other white ethnic group 2%

Mixed or multiple ethnic groups 1%

Asian, Scottish Asian or British Asian 2%

  • Pakistani, Scottish Pakistani or British Pakistani 19%
  • Bangladeshi, Scottish Bangladeshi or British Bangladeshi 2%
  • Other 17%
  • Indian, Scottish Indian or British Indian 44%
  • Chinese, Scottish Chinese or British Chinese 11%
  • No Answer Given 6%

African, Scottish African or British African 1%

Caribbean or Black <1%

Other ethnic group <1%

  • Arab, Scottish Arab or British Arab 26%
  • No Answer Given 18%
  • Other 56%

No Answer Given 6%

68% of NHSScotland workforce declared their ethnicity as White, <1% Mixed, 2% Asian, 1% Black and <1% as Other. Ethnicity is unknown or not declared for 28% of staff.



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