iMatter Survey 2022: demographic data exploration

Independent report by Webropol providing detailed information and analysis of staff experience in health and social care across Scotland, broken down by protected characteristics (as stated in Equality Act 2010). This report compiles data from the 2021 and 2022 iMatter survey.



The iMatter Continuous Improvement Model was developed by NHSScotland staff with the aim of engaging all staff in a way that feels right for them. The focus is on team-based understanding of experience, but it also offers information at various levels within organisations to evidence and help improve staff experience. As such, it can provide clarity on where to focus efforts for maximum impact, which in turn leads to better care, better health, and better value.

Demographic questions were first introduced in the Everyone Matters Pulse Survey 2020 and were added to the iMatter survey in 2021. They were again included in iMatter 2022. The questions asked are the same as those asked in the Scottish Census 2022 Scotland's Census 2022 paper questionnaires | Scotland's Census ( It is intended that in the future comparisons can be made to national statistics, but at this time the final 2022 census data is not available.

The full iMatter questionnaire is contained in Appendix 1

iMatter Fieldwork

The iMatter process uses Webropol to distribute electronic and paper questionnaires to NHSScotland employees, as well as those employed by the Local Authority who work in a Health & Social Care Partnership who chose to participate. In 2022, all 22 Health Boards and 29 H & SCPs took part, and all fieldwork was carried out between 16 May to 8 August 2022

Demographic Analysis

This report seeks to draw learning from the iMatter demographic data set that can be of value to Scottish Government and Health and Social Care, both in terms of profiling the workforce and exploring relationships between demographic characteristics and workplace experience.

The analysis looks in detail at how attitudes and experiences compare across various demographic groups. The learning will support activity around diversity and inclusion across Health and Social Care.

This report will act as a benchmark against which we will measure future progress. Currently, the report is presented at a national level, but we will continue investigating how we might present the report at individual Board level safely without compromising anonymity.

Where appropriate comparisons are made to the 2021 iMatter survey, in which the same set of questions were used and to the Everyone Matters Pulse Survey carried out in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, in which similar demographic questions were included.

Response Rate

In total 199,772 questionnaires were issued, 5,330 more than in 2021. A total of 110,250 usable responses were received, up by 2,084 on 2021. This equates to an overall response rate of 55%.

Through the report comparisons are made to iMatter 2021 and to the Everyone Matters Pulse Survey (EMPS) carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The response rate in 2021 was 56% and 43% for EMPS 2020.

Survey Sample Size Response Rate
iMatter 2022 110,250 55%
iMatter 2021 108,166 56%
Everyone Matters Pulse Survey 2020 83,656 43%

Non-Response/'Prefer not to say'

Demographic questions were optional and a 'prefer not to say' option was also included in each question.

Typically, over 90% of those completing the survey opted to provide answers to the demographic questions, so over 40% of the workforce.

Much of the analysis in this report is based on just those staff who responded to the question with information about themselves (i.e. excluding both those who chose not to answer the question at all and those who opted for 'Prefer not to say'). Because we are looking to understand more about the demographic profile of staff and the relationship those profiles have on well-being and workplace experiences, those who did not provide this information cannot be included in this analysis.

The proportion of staff not answering each of the questions is shown below.

Question Staff NOT answering
What was your age at your last birthday? 11%
What is your sex? 7%
Do you consider yourself to be trans, or have a trans history? 7%
What is your legal marital or registered civil partnership status? 9%
Which of the following best describes your sexual orientation? 8%
Do you consider yourself to be disabled within the definition of the Equality Act 2010? 6%
Do you have any of the following, which have lasted, or are expected to last, at least 12 months? 18%
Have you been on maternity/parental or shared parental leave in the past 12 months? 7%
What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to? 7%
What is your ethnic group? 7%
Since last September, have you experienced change either in your job role or the environment you work in? 2%
Which staff group do you belong to? (please select the group that reflects your main role) 3%
Which staff group do you belong to? (NHSScotland staff only) 3%
Which staff group do you belong to? (local authority staff only) 3%

Potential Response Bias

This analysis is based on the staff who chose to take part in iMatter and respond on the demographic questions. In statistical terms the views of 4 in 10 staff would be deemed representative of all staff. However, we note that there may be a demographic bias in the staff that take part in the survey.

Comparisons are made to the NHSScotland published workforce data Data tables | Turas Data Intelligence ( This data has been collected via staff engagement forms when people join, or change boards within NHSScotland, or via the e:you questionnaire exercise undertaken for all NHSScotland staff in post. Demographic details are not known for 19% and 38% of staff, plus an additional 8% to 12% who decline to provide personal information. This data source is thereforebased on up to two-thirds of NHSScotland staff.

Small Base Sizes

There are a number of demographic groups that are very small and therefore cannot be analysed beyond the overall national level. This does not in any way imply a reduced importance of those minority groups, but rather is reflective of the need to protect the anonymity of individuals. In some cases we are able to combine smaller demographic groups in order to provide some analysis e.g. combining two age groups or several ethnicity groups to provide a robust sample size.

Protecting Anonymity

In carrying out this analysis we are sensitive to the risk of identification of individual people, through their demographic characteristics and responses to individual questions. For that reason, analysis is only reported here where the sample size is 10 or more. Where necessary, individual data points are suppressed to protect confidentiality.

The Relevance of Change

The questions relating to changes experienced (personal and work-related) were introduced into the Everyone Matters Pulse Survey in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. At this time lives were subjected to unprecedented change, and it was important to understand the extent to which Health and Social Care staff were experiencing change. The EMPS reporting illustrated the relationship between change and certain demographic groups. The question was retained in iMatter 2021 and it was evident that some staff were continuing to experience Covid-linked change both work-related and personal. iMatter 2022 saw a considerable drop in the proportion of staff experiencing change (41% in 2022 compared to 63% in 2021 and 74% in 2020).

Whilst not possible to fully verify, we believe that the nature of change experienced in 2022 is likely to be more 'normal' than seen in 2020 and 2021. For example:

  • changes in team or in work location are more likely to be chosen job changes rather than those emergency changes made in response to the pandemic
  • those with caring responsibilities are more likely to be ingoing, rather than specific Covid-triggered responsibilities caring for vulnerable people who had been advised to shield

Rounding Errors

Rounding percentages to the nearest whole number occasionally results in total percentages that do not add up to exactly 100%.



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