UK Employer Skills Survey 2022 – Scotland Report

Publication of Scotland results from the UK Employer Skills Survey 2022.

National Occupational Standards (NOS)

National Occupational Standards (NOS) describe the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to do a particular job to a nationally recognised level of competence.

NOS can be used by awarding bodies which can create qualifications to train individuals for a job, to create job descriptions and by individuals who can research different types of job and match their skills and experience to those needed.

In ESS 2022, Scottish employers were asked about their awareness and use of NOS.

Awareness of NOS

Overall, nearly half of Scottish employers (49%) had some awareness of NOS.

This includes nearly a third (31%) that had at least some knowledge of what they involve, with just over one in ten (11%) deeming themselves to have ‘good knowledge’ of what they are. Overall, 48% had not heard of NOS.

It was more common for larger establishments with 100 or more employees to be aware of NOS (64%) compared with smaller establishments (46% of those with 2 to 4 employees). Around a fifth (21%) of the largest establishments with 100 or more employees perceived themselves to have good knowledge of NOS, double the proportion of those with 2 to 4 employees (10%).

Use of NOS

The majority of employers (79%) had not used NOS, with 19% using them in some way. The most common ways NOS were used were to develop training plans to meet their establishment’s skills needs (14%), to develop job descriptions or guide recruitment criteria (11%) and for staff appraisals or performance (11%).

As shown in Figure 31, by sector, use of NOS was most common among establishments in the Health and Social Work (44%) and Education (30%).

The Health and Social Work sector had the highest proportion of establishments using National Occupational Standards.

Figure 31: Use of National Occupational Standards by sector in 2022
use of National Occupational Standards by sector in 2022

Base: All establishments in Scotland (Module D) (1,213). Figures from Information and Communications, Financial Services and Public Administration sectors not shown due to low base sizes.



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