Contractually secure work

Latest update: 15 December 2023

This indicator measures the proportion of employees (aged 16 and above) who have a permanent contract. Find out more about this indicator.

The latest update of this indicator includes data for 2021 and 2022. Performance arrows have been approved based on the change between the last two years as normal.

In 2022, the proportion of employees aged 16 and over in Scotland who were in contractually secure work was 94.1 per cent, a decrease of 0.9 percentage points since 2021.

Data breakdowns

This indicator can be broken down by age, gender, disability, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status. These breakdowns  can be viewed in the drop down menus below.

Performance Worsening

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Those who are aged between 16 and 24 or 65 and over are least likely to be in contractually secure work. In 2022, 87.0 per cent of employees aged 16-24 and 88.0 per cent of employees aged 65 and over were in contractually secure work.

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Men are more likely to be in contractually secure work than women. In 2022, the proportion of women (93.4 per cent) is 1.4 percentage points lower than the proportion of men (94.8 per cent) in contractually secure work.

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The proportion of disabled employees aged 16-64 years who were in contractually secure work (93.7 per cent) is lower than the proportion for not disabled employees (94.4 per cent), a gap of 0.7 percentage points.

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A higher proportion of employees within white groups are in contractually secure work compared with employees in minority ethnic groups  (94.7 per cent v 85.4 per cent), a gap of 9.3 percentage points, the largest gap since 2017.

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In 2022, the proportion of employees in contractually secure work was highest for the ‘No religion’ group (94.8 per cent). The ‘Christian’ group was 0.9 percentage points below (93.9 per cent).

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Proportions of employees in contractually secure work is above 90 per cent across all SIMD quintiles. In 2022, the quintiles with the lowest proportions were, the most and least deprived areas, 1 (93.5 per cent) and 5 (92.7 per cent) with these proportions having fallen by 2.8 percentage points and 1.6 percentage points respectively since 2021.

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Economic participation

This indicator measures the gap between Scotland’s employment rate and the rate of the top performing country in the UK. Find out more about this indicator.

Last year, in Q4 2020, Scotland had an employment rate of 73.4%, compared with England, whose employment rate of 75.1% was the highest of the 4 UK countries. The gap between these rates was therefore -1.7 percentage points.

Scotland’s employment rate has increased over the year to 74.1% in the latest quarter (Oct-Dec 2021) and is the second lowest of the 4 UK countries. England (with the highest rate of the 4 UK countries) has an employment rate of 75.9%, giving a gap of -1.7 percentage points.

So over the year, the gap has shifted by 0.1 percentage points to Scotland’s detriment.

Please note that figures for change over the year and gap between Scotland and England are based on unrounded figures.

Data breakdowns

This indicator can be broken down by gender. These breakdowns can be viewed below. 

Performance Maintaining

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In Q4 2020, the gap between Scotland’s male employment rate (75.0%) and England’s (78.5%) was -3.5 percentage points. In Q4 2021, Scotland’s male employment rate had increased over the year to 76.2% while England’s had increased to 79.3%. The gap has narrowed to -3.2 percentage points, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points.

In Q4 2020, the gap between Scotland’s female employment rate (71.9%) and England’s (71.7%) was 0.2 percentage points. In Q4 2021, Scotland’s female employment rate had increased over the year to 72.2% while England’s had increased to 72.4%. This represents a change of 0.4 percentage points to Scotland’s detriment, with Scotland’s female employment rate now lower than England’s by 0.2 percentage points.

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Employee voice

The percentage of employees who agree that they are affected by collective agreement, defined as whether agreement between trade union and employer affect pay and conditions. Find out more about this indicator.

The proportion of employees who have reported that they are part of a collective agreement which affects their pay and conditions has fallen by 6.3 percentage points between 2007 and 2020.

The proportion of employees who have reported that they are part of a collective agreement which affects their pay and conditions has decreased from 38.1 per cent in 2019 to 33.7 per cent in 2020.

Data breakdowns

This indicator can be broken down by age and gender. This breakdowns can be viewed in the charts below or on the Equality Evidence Finder.

Performance Worsening

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Disaggregation by age is compromised by small sample sizes for the 16-24 (in 2020 only) and 65+ age categories. However, the age group which consistently has the highest proportion of employees whose pay is determined by collective agreement is the 50-64 grouping (42.4% in 2020).

Note: Data for 16-24 age group is not available for 2020. 

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A higher proportion of women (36.8%) have a collective agreement compared to men (30.5%).

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Employees on the living wage

Latest update: 15 December 2023

This indicator measures the percentage of workers earning less than the living wage. Find out more about this indicator.

In 2022, the proportion of employees aged 18 and over earning less than the Living Wage was 9.0 per cent, a decrease of 5.5 percentage points on the previous year and continuing the downward trend seen since 2018.

The proportion of employees aged 18 and over earning less than the Real Living Wage has decreased from 18.8 per cent in 2012 to 9.0 per cent in 2022.

The proportion of employees earning less than the Real Living Wage is now lower than at any previous point in the series, which began in 2012.

Data breakdowns

This indicator can be broken down by age and gender. These breakdowns can be viewed on the Equality Evidence Finder or as charts below.

Further breakdowns of the proportion of employees earning less than the real living wage by industry and local authority are available as part of the Scottish Government Annual survey of hours and earnings: 2022 publication data tables.

Performance Improving

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The proportion of employees earning less than the Real Living Wage is highest amongst those aged 18-24 (30.5 per cent in 2022). The proportions have decreased across all age categories and are lower than at any previous point since 2012.

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A lower proportion of men (employees aged 18+) earn less than the real living wage, a trend which has been consistent since the series began in 2012. The gap has narrowed, however, from 8.5 percentage points in 2012 (14.4 per cent for men, 22.8 per cent for women) to 2.7 percentage points in 2022 (7.5 per cent for men, 10.3 per cent for women). 

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Gender balance in organisations

Latest update: 15 December 2023

This indicator measures the gap between male and female employment rate (positive gap represents higher male than female employment rate). Find out more about this indicator.

In 2022, the gender employment rate gap was 3.4 percentage points, a decrease of 1.7 percentage points since 2021. This decrease is due to the employment rate for women increasing at a faster pace than the employment rate for men over the year.

The latest update of this indicator includes data for 2021 and 2022. Performance arrows have been approved based on the change between the last two years as normal.

The gender employment rate gap is currently 3.4 percentage points, a decrease of 1.7 percentage points (pp) over the year. The current gap is at its narrowest since 2007 and has decreased by 7.1 percentage points since then.

Data breakdowns

This indicator can be broken down by age, disability, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status. These breakdowns can be viewed on the Equality Evidence Finder or in the charts below.

Performance Improving

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In 2022, the gender employment rate gap was negative in the youngest age group (16-24) at -5.7 pp. The gender employment rate gap is widest in the 25-34 age group at 6.7 pp. The gender employment gap has decreased since 2021 for the 25-34 and 35- 49 age groups.

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In 2022, the gender employment rate gap was negative for those who are disabled at -4.0 pp i.e. the employment rate for women is higher than the employment rate for men. While the gender employment rate gap for those who are not disabled was 3.7 pp in 2022 (with the employment rate for men exceeding the employment rate for women).

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In 2022, the gender employment rate gap for minority ethnic groups aged 16-64 (8.0 pp) was over double that of the gap for white groups aged 16-64 (3.1 pp). The gap for the minority ethnic groups and white groups has narrowed since 2021.

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In 2022, the gender employment rate gap was highest amongst those in the ‘Muslim’ group (36.7 pp). The gap for those with ‘No religion’ was 3.2 pp and for ‘Christian’ was 2.3 pp.

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In 2022, the employment rate for men exceeded the employment rate for women across all quintiles except quintile 3, which had a gender employment rate gap of -1.5 pp. This is the first year in the series any of the quintiles have had a negative employment rate gap i.e. for quintile 3, the employment rate for women is higher than the employment rate for men.

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High growth businesses

Latest update: 12 December 2023

The percentage of businesses which are high growth businesses as a share of all registered businesses. Find out more about this indicator.

In 2023, 1.1% of all registered businesses were high growth, up from the 2022 rate of 0.9%. Note that there are lags associated with the turnover data used to measure high growth. And therefore the increase in the high growth business rate, between 2022 and 2023, is reflecting the bounce back of business turnover between 2020 and 2021. For many businesses, turnover in 2020 would have been much lower than in previous years due to the COVID-19 national lockdowns and restrictions that impacted trading conditions.

Data breakdowns

This indicator can be broken down by industry sector, local authority and region of ownership. These breakdowns can be viewed on the Equality Evidence Finder.

  • As at March 2023, the high growth business rate was highest in Midlothian at 2.6%. East Renfrewshire had the lowest high growth business rate.
  • As at March 2023, foreign-owned businesses had the highest high growth business rate (6.8%) - this has generally been the case since the start of the time series. The latest data show that for businesses based in the Rest of the UK (RUK) the high growth business rate was 5.3%. For those businesses based in Scotland the high growth business rate was 0.9% as at March 2023, reflecting the smaller size of businesses based in Scotland.
  • The latest data show that, at 4.7%, the high growth business rate was the highest in the ‘Mining and Quarrying’ industry sector.

Performance Improving

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Innovative businesses

This indicator measures the proportion of businesses that were innovation active during the survey period. Find out more about this indicator.

The share of innovation active businesses in Scotland in 2018-2020 was 39.0%

The proportion of businesses that were innovation active increased from 32.2% in 2016-18 (2019 Survey) to 39.0% in 2018-20 (2021 Survey).

In 2018-20, the sectors ‘Computer and related activities/ICT’ and ‘Research and experimental development on social sciences and humanities’ had the highest shares of innovation active businesses, at 68.8% and 79.3% of businesses respectively. Between 2016-18 and 2018-20, the share of innovation active businesses in the ‘Computer and related activities/ICT’ sector increased by 8 percentage points, and the share in ‘Research and experimental development on social sciences and humanities’ increased by 9 percentage points.

Large (+250 employees) and Medium-sized business (50-249 employees) were more likely to be innovators compared to smaller businesses. In 2018-20, 54.8% of large businesses and 57.5% of medium-sized businesses in Scotland were innovation active.

Performance Improving

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The number of businesses

Latest update: 12 December 2023

The total number of private sector businesses (registered for Value Added Tax and/or Pay As You Earn) in Scotland per 10,000 adults. Find out more about this indicator.

The 2023 registered business stock rate, of 380 businesses per 10,000 adults, represents a decrease from the 2022 rate of 383 businesses per 10,000 adults.

The total number of registered businesses reduced between 2022 and 2023 - this was driven by a fall in the number of small businesses. The stock of small registered businesses has fallen every year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note that the 2022 and 2023 business stock rates are provisional and will be updated once new population estimates are published.

Data breakdowns

This indicator can be broken down by employee sizeband, industry sector, local authority and region of ownership. These breakdowns can be viewed on the Equality Evidence Finder.

  • The number of private sector registered businesses (those registered for VAT and/or PAYE) decreased over the latest year - from 175,175 businesses as at March 2022 to 173,370 as at March 2023 – a fall of 1,805 businesses (-1.0%).

    Between March 2022 and March 2023, the registered business stock decreased in the majority of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas.  Over the latest year, the registered business stock declined the most in Aberdeenshire (-465 businesses). Only four local authority areas experienced an increase in the registered business stock between 2022 and 2023 – Midlothian, Shetland Islands, Clackmannanshire and South Ayrshire.

  • As at March 2023, registered private sector businesses with their ultimate base outside Scotland (Rest of the UK (RUK) based or Abroad-owned) represented 3.4% of businesses, accounting for 34.8% of employment and 52.4% of turnover.

    Between March 2022 and March 2023, the number of Abroad-owned businesses in Scotland increased from 3,155 to 3,315. Whereas the number of RUK based businesses and Scotland based businesses decreased.

  • As at March 2023, the largest industry sector was ‘Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities’ (25,150 businesses). Over the latest year the number of registered businesses in the ‘Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities’ industry sector fell by 1,330 businesses (-5.0%).

    Between March 2022 and March 2023, the number of registered businesses in the ‘Arts, Entertainment & Recreation’ industry sector increased by 3.1% (+135 businesses) – the sector with the highest rate of growth over the latest year. 

  • The number of small registered businesses (0 to 49 employees) decreased from 169,000 businesses as at March 2022 to 167,115 as at March 2023 – a fall of 1,885 businesses (-1.1%).

    The number of medium-sized businesses (50 to 249 employees) increased from 3,835 businesses as at March 2022 to 3,880 as at March 2023 – a rise of 45 businesses (+1.2%).

    The number of large businesses (250 or more employees) increased from 2,340 businesses as at March 2022 to 2,375 as at March 2023 – a rise of 35 businesses (+1.5%).

Performance Worsening

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Pay gap

This indicator measure the difference between male and female full-time hourly earnings, expressed as a percentage of male full-time hourly earnings. Find out more about this indicator.

In 2021, the gender pay gap for Scotland was 3.0 per cent, an increase of 0.6 percentage points on the previous year.

Data breakdown

This indicator can be broken down by age. This breakdown can be viewed in the chart below or on the Equality Evidence Finder. 

Performance Maintaining

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The gender pay gap increases with age. For those aged 16-24, the gap is -17.0 per cent, with median full-time hourly earnings for women exceeding those for men in this age group. This is also true for those aged 25-34, where the gap is -4.3 per cent. Men aged 35-49 and 50-64 have higher median hourly earnings than women, with the gender pay gap for these age groups being 3.5 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively.

This shows that the gender pay gap is highest in the ’50-64’ age band. The biggest decrease over the past year was in the ’16-24’ age band where average full-time hourly earnings (excluding overtime) for females are 8.2 per cent higher than for males.

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