Section 1: Employment
In 2018, 2,755,600 people aged 16 years and over were economically active in Scotland. Scotland’s economic activity rate (16-64) in 2018 was 77.4 per cent, lower than the UK rate of 78.3 per cent.
Who is classed as economically active?
Economically active individuals are those who are in employment or have been actively seeking work and are available to start work (an International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition).
Of the population aged 16 years and over in Scotland in 2018 (4,452,800), 59.3 per cent were in employment, 2.6 per cent were ILO unemployed and 38.1 per cent were economically inactive.
Figure 1: Scotland’s population aged 16 years and over by economic status, 2018
In 2018, 2,638,400 people (aged 16 years and over) were in employment in Scotland, slightly lower than in 2017.
The employment rate (16-64) was 74.1 per cent, slightly lower than the year before (74.2 per cent in 2017) and below the UK rate of 75.0 per cent.
Who is classed as being in employment?
If a person is over 16 years old and has done at least one hour of paid work in the week prior to their Labour Force Survey (LFS) interview or have a job that they are temporarily away from.
Chart 1: Employment level (16+) and rate (16-64): Scotland and UK, 2004-2018
1.2 Local authorities
Figure 2: Employment Rate 2018
National Performance Framework Indicator
Gender balance in organisations
The gender employment gap is the difference between the employment rate for men and women. The gap decreased from 10.5 percentage points in 2008 to 6.9 percentage points in 2017 and has increased slightly over the year to 7.6 percentage points in 2018.
From 2011 to 2017, the employment level and rate have increased at a steeper rate for women compared with men in Scotland. However, over the past year, the employment level and rate for women decreased slightly while the level and rate for men increased resulting in the gender employment gap increasing slightly over the year.
Chart 2: Employment rate (16-64) by gender, 2004-2018
1,275,000 women were in employment in 2018, 73,200 more compared with 2008. The employment rate for women has increased by 1.9 percentage points from 68.4 per cent in 2008 to 70.3 per cent in 2018*.
1,363,400 men were in employment in 2018. Although there are 30,600 more men in employment compared with 2008, the employment rate for men (78.0 per cent) is lower than in 2008 (78.9 per cent).
Chart 3: Employment level (16+) by gender, 2008, 2017 and 2018 (000’s)
1.4 Local Authorities
In 2018, men had higher employment rates than women across all local authorities in Scotland, except Highland.
Since 2008, the employment rate for women has increased in 23 of the 32 local authorities whereas for men the employment rate had increased in only 10 of the 32 local authorities.
In 2018, the highest employment rates for women were seen in Highland (82.6 per cent), Orkney Islands (81.6 per cent), Na h-Eileanan Siar (78.2 per cent) and East Lothian (76.7 per cent).
For men, the highest employment rates were seen in Orkney Islands (93.4 per cent), Shetland Islands (87.9 per cent), East Lothian (85.2 per cent) and Aberdeenshire (84.6 per cent).
Local authorities where the employment rate increased between 2008 and 2018 for both men and women were: Clackmannanshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Fife, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire**, Orkney Islands and West Dunbartonshire.
Local authority where the employment rate increased between 2008 and 2018 for men only was Glasgow City.
Local authorities where the employment rate increased between 2008 and 2018 for women only were: Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and
Bute, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Highland*, Midlothian, Na h-Eileanan Siar, North Ayrshire, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire* and Stirling.
Local authorities where the employment rate significantly decreased between 2008 and 2018 were Highland* and South Ayrshire* for men and Moray* for women.
Chart 4: Change in women’s employment rates (16-64) by local authority, 2008 to 2018
Chart 5: Change in men’s employment rates (16-64) by local authority, 2008 to 2018
The employment rate for young people (aged 16-24 years) has decreased over the last year with 57.2 per cent of those aged 16-24 being in employment.
Employment rates for 25-34 and 35-49 year olds have remained around 80 per cent from 2004 to 2018, indicating a fairly high resilience to economic change.
Between 2017 and 2018, the employment rate for 25-34 year olds decreased from 82.0 per cent to 80.6 per cent while the employment rate for 35-49 year olds increased from 82.2 per cent to 83.7 per cent*.
Young workers (16-24) saw the main impact of the recession with their employment rates reducing from 60.7 per cent in 2008 to 57.2 per cent in 2018*.
In contrast, employment rates for those aged 50-64 have increased through the recovery remaining fairly constant over the last year (69.7 per cent in 2018).
Chart 6: Employment rate (16-64) by age, 2004-2018
Chart 7: Employment level (000’s) by age, 2008 and 2018
Since 2008, employment levels for 25-34, 50-64 and 65+ year olds have increased with those in employment aged 65+ almost doubling, rising from 49,100 to 88,600.
Employment levels for those aged 16-24 and 35-49 have decreased between 2008 and 2018.
**Statistically significant for women only
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