Ukrainian displaced people - economic impact of migration: discussion paper

Provides an overview of the characteristics and lived experiences of Ukrainian displaced people seeking employment in Scotland, and contains illustrative modelling of the long term contribution that they could make to the Scottish economy.

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Current gaps in Scottish labour market

Current labour market conditions in Scotland remain tight. Data from March 2023 shows 38% of all businesses surveyed were having recruitment difficulties, rising to 55% of businesses in accommodation and food services and 50% in construction (Scottish Government, 2023). Among businesses experiencing recruitment difficulties, 56% pointed to a low number of applicants and 64% reported a lack of qualified applicants when describing the nature of these difficulties. These varied across sectors:

  • businesses citing a low number of applicants included: 58% of affected businesses in accommodation and food services, 55% in manufacturing, and 69% in wholesale, retail and vehicle repair
  • businesses citing a lack of qualified applicants: construction (63% of businesses affected by recruitment issues), professional, scientific and technical activities (81%), and manufacturing (74%)

This shows sufficient capacity across a number of sectors where the Ukrainians could play a role in helping to fill vacancies. The Ukrainian visa survey data shows this has so far been predominately within the hospitality and food production sectors (ONS, 2023).

Analysis of HMRC data shows that of the Ukrainian nationals who applied for a national insurance number between March and September 2022 1,950 were in employment in Scotland as at September 2022.

Separate ONS data suggests Scottish businesses are also looking to fill vacancies in sectors more aligned with skills and previous experience of Ukrainian displaced people - Insurance and finance (5,035 vacancies), health care (11,705 vacancies), education and training (2,960 vacancies), arts, culture and media (1,165 vacancies) (ONS, 2022a).

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