Annual Population Survey 2016: regional employment patterns in Scotland

Summary of statistical results from the Annual Population Survey 2016, presenting analysis on the labour market, education and training.


• The employment level (16+) in Scotland increased to the highest level on record at 2,579,700 while the employment rate for 16-64 year olds decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the year to 72.9 per cent.

• The employment level for men of 1,334,300 has increased by 13,900 over the year and is the highest level since 2008.

• The gender employment gap in Scotland, the employment rate for men of 76.9 per cent minus the employment rate for women of 69.2 per cent, was 7.6 percentage points, 2.2 percentage points lower than the UK.

• The employment rate for older workers (65+) has increased from 5.2 per cent in 2004 to 9.1 per cent in 2016. Over half of workers over state pension age (65+) in Scotland said they had not yet retired because they were not ready to stop working.

• The employment rate of Equality Act disabled (42.9%) is 37.3 percentage points lower than non-disabled people (80.1%), this gap increases with age.

• Minority ethnic women had substantially lower employment rates (45.0%) than white ethnic women (70.5%), whereas the employment rate for Minority ethnic males (71.6%) was more similar to white ethnic males (77.1%).

• Full-time employment levels increased to 1,885,800 – the highest level of full-time employment since 2008.

• 2016 had the highest self-employment level and rate on record, with 327,200 people self-employed (12.7% of all employees).

• The decrease in underemployment over the year, from 9.2 per cent in 2015 to 8.4 per cent in 2016, was mainly driven by decreases in underemployment for women aged 16-49 in part-time work. The underemployment rate is still higher in 24 of the 32 local authorities than it was at the start of the 2008 recession.

• Gender segregation remains a persistent issue across several industry sectors and occupational groups in Scotland.

• Private sector employment in 2016 increased by 9,900 over the year to 1,888,000 - the highest level on record since the series began.

• A record high 49.2 per cent of working people (aged 16-64) have Further or Higher education qualifications in Scotland.

• 35.8 per cent of workers in Scotland aged 25-64 were graduates in 2016 – the highest percentage on record.


• The unemployment rate (16+) in Scotland decreased by 1.0 percentage point over the year to 4.8 per cent in 2016, lower than the UK rate (4.9%).

• 40.3 per cent of all unemployed people in Scotland have been unemployed for more than 6 months, the lowest since 2008.

• The youth unemployment rate in Scotland decreased by 2.3 percentage points over the year to 12.0 per cent in 2016.

• 10.7 per cent people aged 16-19 were NEET in 2016, an increase of 1.1 percentage points over the year, although lower than 11.3 per cent in 2013.

Economic Inactivity

• The economic inactivity rate for those aged 16-64 in Scotland increased by 0.9 percentage points over the year to 23.2 per cent in 2016, higher than the UK (22.3%).

• The increase in the economic inactivity rate for Scotland over the year to 23.2 per cent was driven by increased rates for women, increasing from 26.1 per cent in 2015 to 27.5 per cent in 2016.

• The largest increases in the economic inactivity level over the year were for those aged 16-24 and 35-49.

• Over 50 per cent of the 793,700 economically inactive people in Scotland were inactive because they were long-term sick or students.

• The increase in economic inactivity levels since 2008 is driven by increases in the number of students.

• 23.7 per cent (188,400) of economically inactive people aged 16-64 in Scotland wanted to work, but were unavailable for work or not actively seeking work.

• Excluding students aged 16-24 in full-time education, 149,600 people in Scotland in 2016 aged 16+ had never been in employment.


Email: Claire Gordon

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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