Scotland's Labour Market Strategy

Scotland’s Labour Market Strategy provides a framework for our approach to the labour market.


Vision and purpose

Our vision is for a strong labour market that drives inclusive, sustainable economic growth, characterised by growing, competitive businesses, high employment, a skilled population capable of meeting the needs of employers, and where fair work is central to improving the lives of individuals and their families.

This Strategy sets out a framework for achieving our vision of a strong and fair labour market that drives inclusive growth. It responds to and builds upon the approach set out by the Fair Work Convention earlier this year when they published the Fair Work Framework [3] . It sets out the actions we will take along with our partners to drive growth of employment opportunities whilst also delivering better jobs which embrace the principles of fair work.

It also recognises the findings of the First Minister's Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality, Naomi Eisenstadt, in her report, Shifting the Curve where she recognises that high income inequality damages economic growth, according to a number of experts, including the OECD, and has negative consequences for wellbeing and the cohesiveness of societies. [4]

We understand that businesses and other employers need to be confident in their plans for growth. They need to have the confidence to invest and innovate and to do this they need supportive economic conditions and policies, and an engaged, skilled and productive workforce which meets their ever‑changing needs.

This strategic approach will continue to evolve, responding to broader economic, technological and political developments such as the uncertainty caused following the EU referendum result. Guided by our new Strategic Labour Market Group we will bring forward further actions when appropriate to help us to create and maintain a labour market that works for everyone and which recognises and adapts to the fact that labour market issues play out differently in different sectors and regions across Scotland.

Our vision is consistent with Scotland's Economic Strategy and its complementary goals of boosting competitiveness and tackling inequality. It is an approach supported by a growing body of international evidence which shows that countries with more equal societies typically enjoy stronger and more sustainable growth over the long run.

We believe that promoting growth in employment opportunities and tackling inequality within the labour market are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we believe that tackling inequality is essential to the sustained, long-term prosperity of the Scottish economy.

By publishing this Strategy we are showing how our policies to support inclusion and growth will work together in the context of the labour market and they set out a framework against which we can measure our progress in future.

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Outcome of the EU Referendum

In the referendum on continued membership of the European Union on 23 June, Scotland delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain. The Scottish Government welcomes that outcome, and firmly believes that EU membership delivers many social, economic and cultural benefits for individuals, businesses and communities across Scotland. Given this strong support to remain in the EU, the First Minister has committed to exploring all options to protect Scotland's relationship with the EU, and to secure the benefits of membership.

One such benefit is the free movement of labour - particularly important to Scotland, as a country that needs to grow its population to help address skills gaps and deal with an ageing population. Access to the world's largest single market - and the ability to freely trade goods and services across Europe - supports jobs and business across Scotland. Similarly, the EU guarantees core rights and protections for workers, including the right to paid holidays and maternity leave, limits to working hours, the right not to be discriminated against, and health and safety protections. All of these rights and protections are crucially important to delivering our vision for the labour market.

The Scottish Government will take all steps to protect businesses' ability to access the skills they need, and to safeguard the hard-won rights of workers.



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