1. The Gender Pay Gap in Scotland
The UK Office for National Statistics ( ONS) and Scottish Government statistics give prominence to the full-time median pay gap which compares median hourly earnings of full-time workers  . Unless otherwise stated, where sections below refer to 'the pay gap', this refers to the full-time median gender pay gap.
In Scotland, the full-time pay gap has reduced substantially over time from 18.4% in 1997 to 7.3% in 2015. In the UK, it is slightly higher at 9.4% but has reduced by similar amounts. Within the UK, there is considerable difference between the countries/regions, with England at the highest level, and Northern Ireland showing a negative pay gap partly due to a higher proportion of public sector jobs in this region than in the rest of the UK  .
Figure 1: Gender pay gap for median full-time hourly earnings (excluding overtime) by country, April 1997 to 2015
Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings - Office for National Statistics.
Between 2011 and 2015, there has been some fluctuation in the Scottish full-time pay gap, with increases in 2012 and 2014 and decreases in 2013 and 2015, but the overall trend is flat since 2011. Changes from one year to the next may not be statistically significant. The ONS doesn't yet have a methodology for assessing the statistical significance of the gender pay gap over time.
KEY MESSAGE: As a result of current uncertainty around the statistical significance of year on year changes, it is advised not to place too much emphasis on the annual changes in the pay gap, but to focus on changes over the longer term.