Scotland's Devolved Employment Services: statistical summary

This publication presents statistics for Fair Start Scotland (FSS) from April 2018 to June 2022 and experimental statistics on the No One Left Behind strategic approach to employability delivery, reporting on those receiving support from April 2019 to March 2022.


Fair Start Scotland (FSS)

Introduction

Fair Start Scotland is the Scottish Government's devolved employability support service, and aims to help those further from the labour market to move into and sustain fair work. FSS launched on 3 April 2018 with funding to support up to 38,000 people into work over an initial three year referral period to end March 2021. In response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, referral into the service has been extended to March 2023.

FSS provides individualised one-to-one support to unemployed people who face the greatest challenges to obtaining work, including people with a disability or health condition, people with convictions, care-experienced young people, single parents, refugees, ethnic minorities, and people who live in some of the most deprived areas in Scotland. More information about the service can be found on mygov.scot - get help to find a job.

FSS is delivered by a mixed economy of public, private and third sector providers across nine geographical areas throughout Scotland. Potential participants can engage with FSS in a variety of ways. A referral can be made by an individual's Jobcentre Plus (JCP) Work Coach. Alternatively, participants can be signposted to FSS through third party organisations or they can self-refer to their local provider if they meet specific criteria. Third-party referrals relate to referrals from outwith JCP.

After a referral is made, the participant is matched with a provider in their local area. The provider makes contact and offers an introduction in which the service is fully explained. The participant is then given the necessary information to engage with FSS.

How many FSS referrals and starts have there been?

There were 72,260 referrals to FSS between its launch in April 2018 and the end of June 2022. Of the total referrals to FSS, 48,223 went on to start receiving employability support. This includes 3,017 people who have already been supported by FSS[2].

Referrals and starts have decreased from the high point observed in April – June 2021 following the increase after lockdown, but remain high compared to levels seen in recent years, and especially when compared to the lower numbers of referrals and starts seen in the quarters after the first lockdown (April – June 2020, see Background Information section on the impact of COVID-19). Referrals have fallen by 3% to 4,642 this quarter and FSS starts in the quarter have fallen by 0.1% to 3,185. Compared to the equivalent quarter in 2021, referrals have fallen by 11% and starts have decreased by 7%.

Figure 1: Number of referrals into Fair Start Scotland by quarter of referral, from April 2018 to June 2022

Figure 2: Number of Fair Start Scotland starts by quarter, from April 2018 to June 2022

Who are the people that have joined FSS?

From the 48,223 total starts on the service between its launch in April 2018 and the end of June 2022, 45,206 people started on FSS, with the difference reflecting people re-joining the service. The following breakdown of equalities groups are based on people joining the service and those characteristics reported when participants first joined FSS.

Gender

Overall, 38% of people who have joined FSS were female and 62% were male. The proportion of females in FSS increased from years 1 to 4: from 35% in year 1, to 37% in year 2 and 40% in both years 3 and 4. In the most recent quarter of year 5 (April – June 2022), 37% of participants were female.

Age

Overall, the most common age group of people joining FSS is 35-49 years (29% of people), followed by 50 years old & over and 25-34 years (both at 25%), and 16-24 years (20%).

Over the course of years 1 to 3, there was an increase in the proportion of participants from the younger age bands (16-34), with these participants making up 38% of all starts in year 1, 44% in year 2, and 53% in year 3. In year 4 however there was a reversal, with the proportion falling to 42%. This was primarily due to a decrease in 16-24 year old participants, who after increasing from 16% in year 1 to 25% in year 3, fell back to 16% in year 4. In comparison, 25-34 year olds made up 26% in year 4, similar to the 27% observed in year 3.

In the first quarter of year 5 (April - June 2022), the proportion of participants in the 16-34 age band increased to levels similar to year 2 at 45%.

Participants aged 35 and over made up 60% of all starts in year 1, 52% in year 2 and 47% in year 3. This decreasing trend reversed in year 4, with an increase to 57%. In the first quarter of year 5 (April - June 2022), the proportion of participants aged 35 and over decreased to 55%.

Ethnicity

Overall, 6% of people who have joined FSS were from minority ethnic backgrounds and 72% were white, with ethnicity unknown for the remaining 22% of participants.

In the most recent quarter (April - June 2022), 10% of participants were from a minority ethnic group and 83% of participants were white. Monitoring changes to the proportion of minority ethnic participants over time is difficult due to the high proportion of unknowns, and there is ongoing work to improve data quality and collection[3].

Disability[4]

Overall 44% of people joining FSS reported a disability. The proportion of disabled participants decreased from 55% in year 1, to 44% in year 2, and 32% in year 3[5]. In year 4 this increased back to levels similar to year 2 at 47% and has remained similar with 48% of people joining in the first quarter of year 5 (April – June 2022) reporting a disability.

Long-Term Health Conditions[6]

Overall, 63% of people joining FSS reported having a long-term health condition, 31% reported no long-term health condition, with the rest (6%) unknown. In the first quarter of year 5, 63% of people also reported a long-term health condition, 35% did not, and for 3% this was unknown.

Overall, the most common type of long-term health condition reported was mental health (34%). Between year 1 and 2 there was a 5 percentage point increase in percentage of people reporting a mental health condition among those joining FSS, increasing from 31% to 36%. This remained at 36% in year 3, but decreased to 34% in both year 4 and the first quarter of year 5 (April- June 2022).

The second most commonly reported type of health condition was a long-term illness, disease or condition, which affected 17% of people joining FSS and has remained close to this level over time. In the most recent quarter, the proportion was similar at 18%.

A physical disability and other condition[7] were the third most common type of long-term health conditions reported, both at 10%. The percentage of people reporting physical disabilities had been decreasing over time from 14% in year 1, to 10% in year 2, and 6% in year 3. However this increased back to 10% in year 4. In the most recent quarter (April to June 2022), 8% of people reported a physical disability.

For those reporting other condition the proportion has varied over time with 6% of people reporting in year 1, 4% in year 2, 11% in year 3 and 18% in year 4. In the most recent quarter (April to June 2022) 19% of people reported other condition.

Figure 3: Percentage of people starting on FSS reporting long-term health conditions, by type of long-term health condition, from April 2018 to June 2022 [8]

Evaluation Reports

The Scottish Government's evaluation of the third year of the service was published in October 2021[9] - with accompanying statistics tables published at the same time[10]. It showed that compared to the unemployed population of Scotland there were some groups that were under-represented in FSS starts in year 3: women, people from minority ethnic backgrounds, people from the youngest (16-24) and oldest (50-64) age bands, while a higher proportion of disabled people and people aged 25-34 used the service. For gender, ethnic group and disability, this pattern was also true for year 1[11] and year 2[12]. For age there was a change – all younger age groups (16-34, rather than just 16-24) were under represented and older groups were over represented before year 3.

Figure 4: Breakdown of people starting Fair Start Scotland by equality characteristic group, from April 2018 to June 2022 [13] [14]

How many FSS early leavers have there been?

Someone is defined as having left FSS early (an 'early leaver') if they leave FSS before the end of the pre-employment support period and without having sustained employment for at least 3 months. The pre-employment support period usually lasts for up to 1 year. In some cases, it can last up to 18 months, but this has only applied to a small number of people so far.

There have been 22,405 early leavers from the 48,223 FSS starts, including the 3,017 people who have previously received support. As time goes on we get a more complete picture of the proportion of starts on the service that stay on FSS or leave early.

Where we have a complete picture[15] 51% of starts left early. There was a reduction in those leaving early between years 1 and 2, with 53% of participants who joined in year 1 leaving early compared to 46% in year 2. In year 3 there was an increase to 52% of participants leaving FSS early.

Figure 5 shows that the percentage of starts leaving early is similar across each of the equalities groups. However, the percentage was higher for those reporting a disability, particularly for those who have a long-term health condition that limits daily activities a lot (55% left early); compared with those with a long-term health condition that did not limit daily activities at all (46%). Younger participants also had higher rates of leaving early: 54% of those 16-24, compared with 48% of those 50+.

Figure 5: Percentage of Fair Start Scotland starts that leave the service early, broken down by equality characteristic group, from April 2018 to June 2022 [15][16]

How many FSS starts entered and sustained employment?

There has been a total of 16,485 job starts from the 48,223 FSS starts, including the 3,017 people who have previously received support, since the launch of FSS.

COVID-19 has had an impact on the operation of FSS as well as the labour market[17] (See background notes for more information). This has had an impact on job starts within FSS, though there is not likely to be a simple explanation for changes.

Figure 6 shows changes in FSS job starts from October 2019. Since COVID-19 restrictions began in March 2020 this has shown a lot of variation.

There was a reduction in job starts during April 2020 after the first lockdown in Scotland, followed by monthly increases up to 477 job starts in August. Job starts then continously declined from September to December 2020, with fewer job starts recorded each December and decreases likely to have a seasonal component. From February 2021 onwards the levels of job starts continuously rose, reaching a peak of 514 in May 2021. Following the May peak job starts generally displayed a decreasing trend with some fluctuations during the period before dropping to a low of 207 job starts in December 2021. Job starts continually rose across the first quarter of 2022, following the 2021 seasonal dip, before displaying more variation in the latest quarter. Job starts dropped to 365 in April 2022 and then increased to 397 in May before falling to 328 in June. Figures for recent months are likely to increase in future publications as there can be a delay between a participant starting a job and it being recorded by service providers.

Figure 6: Number of Fair Start Scotland starts that enter employment after joining the service, by the month job was started, from October 2019 to June 2022

Of the 16,485 job starts, so far 10,857 had sustained employment for at least 3 months (13 weeks), 8,145 sustained employment for at least 6 months (26 weeks), and 5,203 sustained employment for at least 12 months (52 weeks), as of June 2022.

Job outcome rates can only be reported for start cohorts where enough time has passed in pre-employment support and for outcomes to be achieved. These show:

  • Most FSS starts did not enter work or go on to sustain employment[18]: 38% started a job, 27% sustained employment for 3 months, 21% sustained employment for 6 months, and 15% sustained employment for 12 months[19] however,
  • a high percentage of job starts are sustained: 72% of FSS starts that entered employment went on to sustain employment for 3 months, 80% of those who sustained employment for 3 months went on to reach 6 months, and 77% of those who sustained employment for 6 months went on to reach at least 12 months.

Figures 7, 8, 9 and 10 show how the rates of job starts and outcomes compare between different equality groups.

Whilst the job start rate is slightly higher for males at 38% compared to 37% for females, slightly higher rates of outcomes were achieved by female starts on the service. 29% of female starts and 26% of male starts achieved a 3 month job outcome, 23% of female starts and 20% of male starts achieved a 6 month job outcome and 17% of female starts and 14% of male starts achieved a 12 month job outcome.

The biggest differences in job start and outcomes rates were observed in age and long-term health conditions, which can often be related. Of the FSS starts in the youngest age band (16-24), 42% started work after joining FSS compared to FSS starts in the oldest age band (50+), where 34% started work - a difference of 8 percentage points. Differences were also seen in proportions of starts from these age groups that sustained employment at 3 months (28% for 16-24; versus 25% for 50+), however there were no differences in the proportions sustaining employment at both 6 and 12 months (21% for both at 6 months and 15% at 12 months).

Of the FSS starts with a long-term health condition that limited daily activities a lot, 26% went on to start work, compared to 45% starts that had a health condition that did not limit daily activities. The difference between these two groups was also observed in the proportions sustaining employment at 3 months (18% for those limited a lot, and 32% for those not limited at all), 6 months (15% and 25%) and 12 months (12% and 18%).

Of the FSS starts that were from minority ethnic backgrounds, 38% went on to start work, compared to 37% of white participants. Small differences were also seen for 3 month outcomes (28% for minority ethnic participants; 27% for white participants), 6 month outcomes (22% and 21%), and 12 month outcomes (16% and 15%).

Figure 7: Percentage of Fair Start Scotland starts that started work after joining the service, broken down by equality characteristic group [20][21]

Figure 8: Percentage of Fair Start Scotland starts staying in work for 3 months after joining the service, broken down by equality characteristic group [20][22]

Figure 9: Percentage of Fair Start Scotland starts staying in work for 6 months after joining the service, broken down by equality characteristic group [20][23]

Figure 10: Percentage of Fair Start Scotland starts staying in work for 12 months after joining the service, broken down by equality characteristic group [20] [24]

How many parents have joined FSS?

Yearly data on FSS participants that are parents was first published in May 2021 with the next annual release of parent data, covering year 4 (April 2021 – March 2022) of FSS, published in May 2022. This statistical publication marks the first publication of quarterly data, covering the first quarter (April – June 2022) of year 5 on FSS participants that are parents.

9,030 people that are parents started on FSS, from the 9,692 total parent starts on the service between its launch in April 2018 and the end of June 2022, with the difference reflecting people re-joining the service. As with overall participants, the numbers of parent starts on the service in years 1 to 3 is the same as the number of people who received support. With the extension of FSS beyond the initial three year period, people who have previously received support may re-join the service. Therefore the total number of parent starts on FSS from the start of year 4 onwards and thus parent starts overall is not the same as the number of people that were parents receiving support.

Cumulative totals should be interpreted with caution and comparison of data between years is not possible, due to the way that the collection of data developed over time[25]. In the latest quarter (April – June 2022), of the 801 parent starts on FSS there were 682 parents accessing FSS support for the first time. The 682 parents represented 26% of all 2,618 people starting FSS in that quarter. Of these 682 individuals, the following breakdowns were observed in terms of parents and those from families at highest risk of being affected by child poverty[26]: 45% were disabled, 35% were lone parents, 4% were mothers aged under 25, 22% were parents with three or more children, 35% had a child aged under 12 months and 16% were from a minority ethnic background[27].

How many parent starts on FSS entered and sustained employment?

For the 9,692 FSS starts that were parents, job outcome rates can only be reported for start cohorts where enough time has passed in pre-employment support and for outcomes to be achieved. These show:

  • Most parent FSS starts did not enter work or go on to sustain employment: 38% started a job, 28% sustained employment for 3 months, 23% sustained employment for 6 months, and 16% sustained employment for 12 months[28]

38% of parents started a job after joining the service, the same as for FSS participants overall. 33% of disabled parents started work, compared to 32% of disabled participants who were not reported to be parents, and 42% of FSS starts who were not disabled and not reported to be parents. A job start was achieved by 32% of lone parent starts, 36% of FSS starts that were mothers under 25, 38% of parent starts with three or more children, 41% of parent starts that had a child aged under 12 months and 37% of FSS starts that were minority ethnic parents. These figures should be used with caution as some percentages are based on very small numbers.[29]

28% of parents achieved a 3 month job outcome, similar to the proportion of FSS participants overall at 27%. 24% of disabled parents sustained employment for 3 months, compared to 23% of disabled participants who were not reported to be parents, whilst 30% of FSS starts who were not disabled and not reported to be parents sustained employment for 3 months. Three months sustained employment was achieved by 24% of lone parent starts, 23% of FSS starts that were mothers under 25, 30% of parent starts with three or more children, 30% of parent starts that had a child aged under 12 months and 28% of FSS starts that were minority ethnic parents. These figures should be used with caution as some percentages are based on very small numbers.[30]

23% of parents achieved a 6 month job outcome which was also similar to the proportion of FSS participants overall at 21%. 19% of disabled parents sustained employment for 6 months, compared to 18% of disabled participants who were not reported to be parents and for participants that were not disabled and not reported to be parents the proportion was higher at 24%. Six months sustained employment was achieved by 18% of lone parent starts, 14% of FSS starts that were mothers under 25, 25% of parent starts with three or more children, 24% of parent starts that had a child aged under 12 months and 22% of FSS starts that were minority ethnic parents. These figures should be used with caution as some percentages are based on very small numbers.[31]

16% of parents achieved a 12 month job outcome after starting on the service, similar to the proportion of FSS participants overall at 15%. 15% of disabled parents sustained employment for 12 months, compared to 14% of disabled participants who were not reported to be parents and for participants that were not disabled and not reported to be parents the proportion was higher at 17%. Twelve months sustained employment was achieved by 14% of lone parent starts, 11% of FSS starts that were mothers under 25, 17% of parent starts with three or more children, 18% of parent starts that had a child aged under 12 months and 15% of FSS starts that were minority ethnic parents. These figures should be used with caution as some percentages are based on very small numbers.[32]

Contact

Email: employabilitydata@gov.scot

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