Employment in Scotland: get the facts

In government, we’re working to deliver an economy where wealth and opportunity are more fairly shared across society – where everyone can reach their full potential. Supporting people into work is a key part of achieving that.

Despite the challenges we face as a result of Brexit, Scotland’s jobs market remains strong – thanks to the work of the Scottish Government. In fact, when it comes to youth unemployment, we’re amongst the best in Europe. We know there is still more to do.

Here’s everything you need to know about how we’ll keep delivering progress on jobs.

Employment in Scotland is at historic levels.

  • There are now 78,000 more people in work than before the 2008 recession hit.
  • Unemployment in Scotland is close to an historic low.
  • We have met our target of reducing youth unemployment by 40 per cent – four years early. Scotland’s youth unemployment rate is now amongst the lowest in Europe.
  • The proportion of women in work has increased over the last year and Scotland continues to outperform the UK on female employment.

We’re taking action to create jobs and support people into work.

  • A Scottish National Investment Bank to help businesses grow. A £150 million Building Scotland Fund has been established as a precursor to the bank.
  • Back-to-work schemes that support people into work – without the threat of Tory sanctions. The new £96 million Fair Start Scotland aims to help at least 38,000 people find work.
  • Supporting small businesses to expand and create jobs. Through the Small Business Bonus Scheme 100,000 businesses pay no rates at all and a £100 million package of additional support has been delivered this year.
  • Investing in infrastructure. Last year £3 billion of infrastructure projects were completed in Scotland – this year a further £4.1 billion are in construction.
  • Securing manufacturing jobs. A future has been secured for the Dalzell and Clydebridge steel plants; the Ferguson shipyard in Inverclyde; and the UK’s last remaining aluminium smelter in Lochaber. And we’re investing £65 million in a new National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland.
  • Creating more apprenticeships. More than 27,000 apprenticeships were created in Scotland last year and we’re committed to increasing the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 30,000 per year by 2020.
  • Supporting women back to work after career breaks. We are helping experienced women to return to their previous careers by investing £185,000 in six ‘Returners’ projects.
  • A guarantee of work, training or learning for young people. We have an explicit commitment to a place in learning or training for every 16 to 19 year old who is not currently in employment, education or training.
  • Breaking down barriers to work. The £500,000 Workplace Equality Fund will support efforts to reduce employment inequalities, discrimination and barriers for minority ethnic people, women, disabled people and older workers.
  • A new Jobs Grant to support young people into work.We will use new powers to provide people aged 16 to 24, who have been out of work for six months or more, with a Jobs Grant:  a one-off payment of £100 or £250 if they have children.
  • Free travel to help find work. People receiving Jobseekers Allowance benefit from up to two free rail tickets a month for interviews – and a free monthly season ticket when they get a job. We’ll also extend free bus travel to everyone under 21 in a Modern Apprenticeship. And we’ll provide free bus travel for three months to young people eligible for the new Jobs Grant.
  • A new enterprise body for the South of Scotland. An interim South of Scotland enterprise body has been set up and has already allocated £7.7 million to projects in the region.
  • Supporting our cities. In government, we’re injecting over £1.3 billion in four City Region Deals: in the Glasgow region; Edinburgh region; Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire; Inverness and the Highlands; and Stirling and Clackmannanshire. A further City Region deal for Tayside will be announced shortly.