The employment landscape in Scotland

Posted on Friday, November 17, 2017 by The MSS TeamNo comments


Fresh data from the Office of National Statistics reveals a record high in the Scottish employment rate, with the number of people in work currently sitting at 2.66 million, or 75.3%. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is near its lowest rate since 1992, though Scotland experienced a slight increase of 0.1% over the last quarter.

This data shows resilience in the Scottish labour market, despite a difficult backdrop of economic and political uncertainty resulting from Brexit negotiations and a lack of clear result from the snap General Election. 

The continued growth in the employment rate of Scotland can be attributed to key trends in the Scottish employment landscape – for example, in the last year, Scotland has enjoyed a rise in full-time employment by over 55,000, alongside a fall in the number of part-time employment by 15,000. On top of this, self-employment in Scotland has grown by 23,000 across a diverse range of occupations such as construction, finance, hotels and restaurants.

The first 6 months of 2017 saw Scotland’s GDP growth remain broadly in line with the UK as a whole, with the significant growth of the Services sector acting as a catalyst for this growth. As well as this, the Production industry has experienced noticeable growth for the first time since early 2015, supported in part by the low value of Sterling supporting exports.

However, these are not the only factors at play. Since the early 2000s, the number of women in employment has increased significantly. Over the course of the last year, Scotland experienced a rise in female employees by 26,000. Today, the female employment rate in Scotland has grown to reach 69.2%, reflecting, in part, the progress that Scotland has made towards promoting equal economic opportunities for workers of all genders. The ONS figures further revealed a strong performance for Scotland in the female labour market, with the unemployment rate for women falling by 0.7% over the year to 4.2%.

According to the ICAEW UK Business Confidence Monitor report, Brexit remains the key risk to Scotland’s economy, particularly to business and consumer sentiment. The uncertainty that was born from the referendum has lingered around the economy long past the result through to difficult and tedious negotiations. This has caused slight depression in business confidence as firms across Scotland struggle to forecast for the future.  The report states that businesses in Scotland now intend to grow capital investment by just 1.6% over the next 12 months, a figure that demonstrates both optimism and realism during a challenging period of instability.

This sentiment was echoed by the Economy Secretary, Keith Brown, who said:

 "Today's statistics show that Scotland's labour market continues to perform well in the face of significant economic challenges. Unemployment is down, employment is up and Scotland's youth unemployment rate is the fourth lowest in the EU. This is welcome news.

"We will work to support employment and our priority remains developing the correct conditions for economic growth, including through taking forward our multi-billion pound infrastructure plan, and the Scottish Growth Scheme."

Scotland is a key growth area for us too, with MSS People recently expanding with the opening of our first base in Glasgow.

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