Female Employment at Record High
14 March 2015
The First Minister reflects on progress and challenges
at International Women's Day event
The gap between male and female employment rates in Scotland has
fallen to a record low, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced
A new report, 'Maximising Economic Opportunities for Women in
Scotland', found that as well as the falling gap between male
and female employment rates, the female employment rate at the end
of 2014 was 72.4 per cent, above the UK rate of 68.5 per cent, the
highest level and rate since records began.
The report also concluded that women-led businesses also make a
substantial contribution to the Scottish economy, estimated to be a
minimum of £5 billion in Gross Value Added terms.
While progress is being made, the report highlighted that a
number of barriers still constrain the ability of women to realise
their full economic potential.
Speaking at the Scottish Women's Convention's annual celebration
of International Women's Day in the Scottish Parliament, the First
"Women's employment has risen very significantly. It's now at
record levels. In fact, Scotland currently has the second highest
female employment rate in the whole of the European Union. Only
Sweden is ahead of us.
"The gap between male and female employment - four percentage
points - is the lowest it has ever been. To put that into some sort
of perspective, the gap in the UK as a whole is 10 percentage
"So we shouldn't underestimate what has been achieved in recent
years. But all of us know, that it's not nearly enough. Although
the gap between male and female employment is four percentage
points, that includes many part-time workers. In full-time
equivalent terms, the gap is actually 15 percentage points.
"Underemployment is higher in women, and women are
underrepresented in senior positions and in careers such as
engineering. The pay gap between men and women is 9 per cent. And
57 per cent of women in employment in Scotland are in lower skilled
occupations, compared to only 37 per cent of men. The unpaid work
carried out by women is also hugely undervalued.
"There's an increasing recognition - not just in Scotland, but
around the world - that this is a significant economic problem, as
well as a social one. Countries which fail to provide opportunities
for women, are constraining their ability to grow."
Source: Scottish Government