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Minority ethnic communities, women and disabled people still experience worse rates of unemployment in Scotland

EXPERTS and campaigners have raised concerns over persistent inequalities in employment revealed in Scottish Government figures, including white caucasians being almost 20 per cent more likely to be in employment than ethnic minorities, despite the BME community having above average educational attainment levels.

Figures published in the Annual Population Survey for Scotland show that for the whole year of 2018, the rate of members of minority ethnic communities out of work remained 19.7 per cent higher than for white caucasians, 7.6 per cent higher for women than men and 35.5 per cent higher for disabled people than non-disabled people.

Though there were some signs of improvement on previous years, with the gap between women’s employment and men’s down from 10.5 per cent a decade before, campaigners warned that not only was progress slow, but that it related to even smaller changes once the wider picture of exclusion and discrimination was factored in.

“In terms of the employment figures you need to look in more detail at the types of jobs undertaken by men and women, in Scotland in 2017 around 40 per cent of women worked part-time compared to just 12 per cent of men. Across the labour market as a whole over the last 10 years there has there has been an increase in underemployment associated with a growing incidence of precarious and insecure employment such as the use of zero hours contracts and ‘bogus’ self-employment. In 2016, 55 per cent of the underemployed were women and it was particularly prevalent amongst those on part-time contracts affecting 18 per cent of women working part-time.

“One positive result of increasing participation of women in the formal labour market has been a continuing fall in the gender pay gap (using median hourly earnings for all employees including part-time but excluding overtime payments). In 1997 when the figures were first calculated it stood at 27.5 per cent and by 2018 had fallen to its lowest recorded level of 15.0 per cent (Scottish Parliament, 2018). However a crude calculation would suggest that, at the current rate of decline, it would take until around 2050 for the gender pay gap to be eliminated altogether in Scotland. Part of the reason behind the persistence of the gender pay gap is the high level of part-time employment amongst women but is also the result of the continuation of gender based occupational segregation.



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