Accessing the Labour Market: Contextual Information


Since the 2008 financial crisis, individuals and communities throughout the country have experienced a range of financial pressures due to:

  • Redundancies
  • Recruitment freezes
  • Below inflation pay increases
  • Rising costs of living
  • Welfare reform
  • Difficulty in accessing the labour market.

Poverty can be considered to manifest through two distinct mediums. Poverty through unemployment and in-work poverty. This work stream will explore these issues in further depth.

However, issues surrounding employment do not operate in isolation and we would therefore recommend viewing this section of the evidence review in conjunction with:

  • Age, Disability, Sex, Sexual Orientation, Race and Religion and Belief.
  • Child Poverty, Financial Services, Poverty, Participation and Engagement, Welfare Reform.


Key Facts and Figures: Glasgow and Scotland

The median wage per week in 2012/2013 was £440. A decrease of £9 on the previous year and the third consecutive year income has fallen.

Source: Scottish Government. 2014. Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland: 2012-2013

Data from the Office of National Statistics provides an insight into economic activity and inactivity within Glasgow:

  Glasgow City (level) Glasgow City % Scotland % Great Britain %
Economically active 293,500 70.7 77.3 77.4
In employment 268,200 64.6 71.5 71.7
Employees 238,400 57.5 63.3 61.4
Self employed 26,700 6.4 7.6 9.8
Nomisweb. 2014. Economically Active and Employment Levels.

Source: Nomisweb. 2014. Local Authority Profile.

  Glasgow City (level) Glasgow City % Scotland % Great Britain %
Total economically Inactive 121,200 29.3 22.7 22.6
Student 36,600 30.2 24.4 26.1
Looking after family/home 20,600 17.0 19.7 25.6
Temporary sick 4,400 3.6 2.7 2.1
Long term sick 39,500 32.6 28.4 21.5
Retired 9,800 8.1 16.3 15.0
Other 8,300 6.8 7.7 9.0
Wants a job 40,300 33.3 26.2 24.6
Does not want a job 80,900 66.7 73.8 75.4
Nomisweb. 2014. Economic Inactivity by Reason 2014.

Source: Nomisweb. 2014. Local Authority Profile.


Broader Discussions: Worklessness and Areas of Deprivation

In 2012:

  • Glasgow had the highest percentage of worklessness households in Scotland, 30.2%.
  • This rate was higher than Dundee, 24%, Edinburgh, 19% and Aberdeen, 12.6%

The annual population survey defines worklessness as households in which no-one aged 16 or over is in employment.

Source: Annual Population Survey.2012. Cited in Understanding Glasgow Indicators Project.

Almost half of Glasgow’s residents, 285,000 people, reside in areas classed as the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland.

4% of the cities population, or 21,000 people, reside in areas defined as the 10% least deprived areas in Scotland.


Source: SIMD 2012 and National Records of Scotland. Cited in Glasgow Indicators Project

In July 2014:

  • 4.1% of Glaswegians were unemployed and claiming jobseekers allowance.
  • This rate is more than three times higher than Aberdeen, 1.2% and significantly higher than the Scottish (2.8%) and British average (2.4%)

Source: Nomisweb. 2014. Local Authority Profile.


Broader Discussions: Skills and Barriers to Employment

Analysis of the labour market by Cambridge University suggests the percentage of jobs requiring low-level skills have fallen from 60%, to 40% throughout the last 15 years. This is predicted to decrease to 32% by 2020.

Source: CBI. 2010. Making it All Add Up.

A cross-section of research presents a range of barriers to improved employment:

  • Lack of vertical and horizontal opportunities
  • Low staff turnover and reduced middle management posts
  • Recruitment freezes
  • Economic recession in 2008
  • Shortage of role models within specific sectors and senior positions
  • Non-recognition of overseas experience and/or qualifications
  • Initial difficulty in entering the labour market

These issues will be explored in further depth in the remainder of the work and worth section.


Broader Discussions: Volunteering

Data from the 2012 Scottish Household Survey provides a demographic profile of volunteering within the country:

  • 29% of adults provided unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months.
  • 31% of women and 27% of men volunteered in the last 12 months.
  • Volunteering levels in 2012 varied by employment status:
    • 40% of self employed people volunteered
    • 38% of those in higher/further education volunteered
    • 19% of unemployed people volunteered
    • 19% of people who reside in Scotland’s 15% most deprived areas volunteered
    • Compared to 31% of the rest of Scotland

However, although those who reside in Scotland’s most deprived areas volunteer less (in terms of numbers), they do volunteer more frequently.

Source: SG.2012. Scottish Household Survey 2012.