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30/12/13 16:19

Women in employment at record high in Scotland

2013 best year ever for women in the workplace says First Minister.

2013 has seen the highest level of women in employment in Scotland since 1992, when records began.

The latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of women in employment has increased to 1,233,000. Female unemployment and inactivity has also decreased over the quarter to August-October 2013.

The statistics also show Scotland has outperformed the UK on employment and unemployment rates throughout 2013.

Commenting on the figures, First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“The Scottish Government has taken action to tackle the barriers faced by women seeking employment and while there is still work to be done these figures show that we are heading in the right direction.

“Female employment has increased by no less than 61,000 to a record high over the past year to August-October 2013. Over the year, the increase in female employment has been heavily concentrated on full-time employment rather than part-time.

“The Scottish Government has taken a number of steps to help with women in the workplace. The CareerWISE initiative encourages more young women to pursue a career in science, technology and engineering and to start their own businesses.

“We are also working to improve opportunities for women through Modern Apprenticeships and are working closely with Carers Scotland to develop a kitemark scheme for employers who support unpaid carers in their workforce.

“Increasing the number of women in the labour market is at the heart of our blueprint for independence ‘Scotland’s Future – Your Guide to an Independent Scotland’. Our commitment to a universal childcare system would further significantly help raise women’s participation in the labour market, increasing flexibility and opening the door for more women in the workplace.

“With independence, the economic benefit from an expected increase of 6 per cent in the participation of women in the workplace would flow directly into Scottish revenues as opposed to the London Treasury, where the vast majority of revenues go at present. This estimated £700 million a year gain will help finance the transformation in childcare.

“The increase of more than 3 percentage points in the female employment rate over the last year demonstrates that the target for bringing the number of Scottish women in employment up to Scandinavian levels is entirely achievable over a five year parliamentary term.

“Our current childcare costs are lower than the rest of the UK but every working family with children knows it is a real burden on the family finances. Improving access to quality childcare will not just benefit children - it will help many more women into work.”

Notes to editors

The latest ONS labour market statistics are available here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Labour+Market

The Scottish Government also provides monthly briefing on the overall labour market in Scotland, based on the ONS data, which is available here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Labour-Market

The latest available data demonstrates that Scotland has outperformed the rest of the United Kingdom on both employment and unemployment rates in 2013. Further information is here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Employment-growth-in-2013-outstrips-UK-7e4.aspx