Scotland's Labour Market Insights: April 2024

Insights from a range of labour market data sources for Scotland, including employment, unemployment and economic inactivity estimates by protected characteristics. This release was previously named Scotland's Labour Market Overview.

Key Points

The Scottish Government’s Labour Market Trends mainly reports on headline Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Force Survey estimates for Scotland. This insights report contains more detailed estimates by protected characteristics. A range of official sources are presented.

The Labour Force Survey is not a large and robust enough sample to produce reliable estimates for smaller groups of the population. There has also recently been increased volatility in Labour Force Survey estimates, further information is available in the ONS Labour Force Survey: planned improvements and its reintroduction estimates methodology article.

The ONS Annual Population Survey (APS) provides a larger sample and more robust estimates for smaller groups of the population. The data in this report is drawn from the APS unless otherwise stated. The latest published APS estimates are for January to December 2023. Estimates are obtained from a sample survey and are therefore subject to some sampling variability.

People in work

  • the disability employment rate gap has typically decreased from 37.9 percentage points (pp) in January to December 2014 to 30.2 pp in January to December 2023
  • the minority ethnic employment rate gap was estimated at 13.8 pp in January to December 2023. The employment rate for the minority ethnic groups has been continually lower than the employment rate for white groups across the series
  • over the year to January 2024, payrolled employee growth varied by industry sector. The Energy, production and supply industry sector has shown the largest percentage growth in payrolled employees over the year
  • adjusted for inflation (using the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH)), real earnings have grown by 2.4 per cent over the year to March 2024

People not in work

  • unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 24 in Scotland has been consistently higher than the unemployment rate for any other age group.  Similarly since January to December 2012, the economic inactivity rate for 16 to 24 year olds has been consistently higher than the inactivity rate for any other age group
  • “long-term sick or disabled” was reported as the main reason for economic inactivity in Scotland. In January to December 2023, 31.6 per cent of those people aged 16 to 64 who were inactive gave their reason for being inactive as “long-term sick or disabled”
  • in January to December 2023, an estimated 16.5 per cent of people aged 16 to 64 who were inactive reported that they wanted to work, the lowest percentage in the series
  • Adzuna online job adverts in Scotland in the week to 12 April 2024 decreased by 5% when compared with the previous week
  • No One Left Behind (NOLB) and Fair Start Scotland (FSS) are Scottish Government funded employability support services. Both are distinct approaches to employability support, varying over time in support offered and groups targeted. So far, there have been a combined 111,105 starts between FSS and NOLB, with 63,763 starts for FSS from April 2018 to September 2023 and 47,342 starts for NOLB from April 2019 to September 2023

ONS Annual Population Survey (APS) estimates in this publication have not been reweighted to the latest population estimates.

APS estimates remain accredited official statistics at this time. However, ONS are carrying out analysis to assess the impact of falling sample sizes on the quality of APS estimates.


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