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Scottish Employer Perspectives Survey 2021: Technical Report

Technical report for the 2021 Scottish Employer Perspectives Survey.


Questionnaire design

Questionnaire development and changes from the 2019 survey

The vast majority of the questionnaire for 2021 was aligned with the questionnaire used for the 2019 survey to allow for time-series comparisons on key measures. The EPS 2019 questions that were not included in the 2021 survey are shown in Appendix D.

Some longstanding EPS questions had additional codes added or deleted to the read-out and non-read out lists. New codes added or deleted to the existing questionnaire (including those related to Brexit and COVID-19) are summarised in Table 5 below. Table 6 lists the only new question added in 2021.

Table 5: New codes added or deleted to existing survey questions
Question reference Question text Codes added or deleted
C2/3 Have you heard of any of the following services or initiatives? And has your establishment made use of the following to recruit staff over the past 12 months? (Prompted) New codes
  • Jobcentre Plus's Kickstart scheme
  • Fair Start Scotland
  • No One Left Behind
  • Young Person's Guarantee
Deleted codes
  • Youth Contract (work experience or sector-based work academies)
  • Work Able Scotland
  • Employer Recruitment Incentive
C4a Over the last 12 months has your establishment done any of the following to fill vacancies…? (Prompted) New codes
  • Used apprenticeships.scot or My World of Work
C5 I'd now like you to think about the factors your establishment looks for in candidates when looking to recruit new employees. For each factor that I read out, please say if it is critical, if it is a significant factor, if you place a small amount of value on it, or if it has no value for your establishment? (Prompted) New iteration of question:
  • Having meta-skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and leadership
C10nw And still thinking about the role this young person was recruited to, did your establishment use any of the following to fill this role…? (Prompted) New codes
  • Used apprenticeships.scot or My World of Work
C10nwii Which government schemes or services did you use to fill this role? (Prompted) New codes
  • Jobcentre Plus's Kickstart scheme
  • Fair Start Scotland
  • No One Left Behind
  • Young Person's Guarantee
Deleted codes
  • Youth Contract (work experience or sector-based work academies)
  • Work Able Scotland
C20 What are the main reasons you offer work experience placements or internships at this site? (Unprompted) New codes
  • Due to Kickstart scheme
  • Signed up to the Young Person's Guarantee
  • To help with staff shortages caused by Brexit
C23a What are the main reasons why your establishment has engaged in these types of activities? (Unprompted) New codes
  • Because we signed up to the Young Person's Guarantee
C27 You mentioned that your site has not had any work placements or internships in the last 12 months, or engaged with educational institutions to provide other forms of work-related experience to their students. What would you say are the main reasons for not doing so? (Unprompted) New codes
  • COVID-19 pressures / no work available due to COVID-19 / site closed because of COVID (most people working from home)
  • Brexit pressures / no time available due to Brexit pressures
D2 Has anyone at this establishment received advice or help on skills and training related issues in the last 12 months from any of the following? (Prompted) New codes
  • South of Scotland Enterprise
  • The Federation of Small Businesses
D4 Which of the following schemes and initiatives have you heard of…? (Prompted) New codes
  • Flexible Workforce Development Fund
  • Individual Training Accounts
  • National Transition Training Fund
Deleted codes
  • Flexible Training Opportunities
D14 For which of the following reasons has your establishment NOT arranged training for your employees that was designed to lead towards the achievement of a vocational qualification? (Prompted) New codes
  • You were unable to fund training due to COVID-19
  • Training courses were not running due to COVID-19
D27C And why did you start offering apprenticeships? (Unprompted) New codes
  • Due to COVID-related government incentive schemes (e.g. Plans for Jobs incentive payments)
  • To help with staff shortages caused by Brexit
D33 Why does your establishment not currently offer apprenticeships? (Unprompted) New codes
  • Unable to fund due to COVID-19
  • Lack of time to train an apprentice due to COVID-19 pressures
  • COVID-19 has affected the availability of apprentices
  • Lack of time to train apprentices due to pressures caused by Brexit
D34A Is there any particular reason you do not plan to offer apprenticeships in the future? (Unprompted) New codes
  • Lack of time to train apprentices due to COVID-19 pressures
  • COVID-19 has affected the availability of apprenticeships
  • Lack of time to train apprentices due to pressures caused by Brexit
  • Withdrawal of COVID-related government schemes (e.g. incentive payments)
Table 6. New question and respective codes added to the 2021 EPS
Question reference Question text Codes
D27Ai And how did you hear about apprenticeships? (Unprompted)
  • Skills Development Scotland (SDS) website
  • Media campaign (press, radio, adverts etc.)
  • Heard / read about the Young Person's Guarantee
  • Colleagues
  • A training provider
  • From groups representing employers (e.g. industry federations, chambers of commerce)
  • apprenticeships.scot
  • findbusinesssupport.gov.uk
  • Other (Specify)

Piloting the 2021 survey

Prior to the launch of the mainstage of the survey, a pilot was conducted. The main aims of the pilot were to establish the average length of the questionnaire, to ensure it worked well in terms of 'flow', and to assess respondents' comprehension of any questionnaire changes.

A total of 20 pilot interviews were completed on 9th and 10th November 2021 among employers across a range of sizebands and sectors. Sample was drawn from respondents that agreed to be re-contacted during the 2020 Scottish Employer Skills Survey.

The pilot found that the questionnaire was running over length – averaging 25 minutes – which was above the budgeted 22 minutes. As a result, some questions that were added in the development phase had to be removed. Table 16 in Appendix D lists the new questions that were piloted but were not included in the final questionnaire. Mainstage fieldwork was launched on a 'rolling pilot' basis, meaning that the length of interview would be monitored as fieldwork progressed. The average interview length was still running over time so it was agreed that D29 would also be removed part way through fieldwork.[4]

Questionnaire timings

The average overall interview length was around 25 minutes and 30 seconds. This varied between different employers depending on the size of their establishment; smaller employers with 2-4 employees averaged 21 minutes while businesses with 100 or more employees averaged 32 minutes.

As shown in Table 7, interviews with larger establishments took longer on average given that they were more likely to have trained their staff and use more services or initiatives.

Table 7: Average interview length by size of establishment
Sizeband (employees) Average length of interview
2 to 4 21 minutes
5 to 9 24 minutes
10 to 24 27 minutes
25 to 49 28 minutes
50 to 99 30 minutes
100+ 32 minutes
Overall 25.5 minutes

Contact

Email: FHEstatistics@gov.scot

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