Labour Market

A variety of statistical tables are available on this topic and these can be accessed via the Census Data Explorer.

Information on Labour Market is derived from questions relating to activity last week (Q24), activity during last 4 weeks (Q25), availability for work (Q26), waiting to start a job obtained (Q27), year last worked (Q29), employment status (Q31), job title (Q32) job description (Q33), supervisory status (Q34), hours worked (Q35), activity of employer or business (Q36) and name of organisation (Q37) on the 2011 Census questionnaire (PDF 660KB).

Some interesting points on Labour Market in Scotland from the 2011 Census are provided below.

Economic Activity

Of the 4.0 million people in Scotland aged between 16 and 74, 69% (2.7 million) were economically active (either working or looking for work). The proportions of economically active males and females were 74% and 64% respectively.

Almost one third (32%) of full-time students aged 16 and over were in employment.

Almost 200,000 Scots aged 16-74 had never worked or were long-term unemployed, and (51%) of these had no academic qualifications.

There was a clear gender difference in the proportion of the population aged 16 and over who were economically inactive because they looking after their home or family. 6% for females (including 11% for females aged 35 to 39) compared with less than 1% for males.

Of the 46,000 parents in couple families with dependent children where neither parent was in employment, 25% were unemployed and 75% were economically inactive.

84% of Migrants born in EU Accession Countries were Economically Active, compared to 63% of people born in the UK.

Hours worked

In 2011, just over half (51 per cent) of the 2.5 million employed people aged 16 to 74 in Scotland worked 38 hours or more in a typical week in their main job; 39 per cent (984,000) worked between 38 and 48 hours and 12 per cent (295,000) worked 49 hours or more.

The proportion of people aged 16 to 74 in employment who worked on a part time basis was much higher for females (44% ) than males (13%).


Health and social work’ and ‘Retail activities’ were the largest two industry sectors at the time of the 2011 Census, each accounting for 15% (377,000) of people aged 16 to 74 in employment.

The proportion of people in the ‘White’ ethnic group working in the ‘Manufacturing’ and ‘Construction’ sectors was 16%. The corresponding proportion for minority ethnic groups was only 6%.

15% of the working population were employed in the ‘Health and social work’ sector, but this proportion was 28% for those in the ‘African’ ethnic group, and 22% for those in the ‘Caribbean or Black’ ethnic group. For people aged 50 to 64 in the ‘African’ and ‘Caribbean or Black’ ethnic groups, this proportions were even higher, at 41% and 31% respectively.

Of the 56,000 working people in the ‘Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British’ ethnic group; 21 % worked in ‘Retail activities, and 20% in the ‘Accommodation and food service activities’ sectors, this was higher than the proportions (15% and 6% respectively) for the working population as a whole.


The largest category of occupation was 'Professional occupations', employing 17 per cent of all employed people aged 16 to 74.

The proportion of people in employment in ‘Retail activities’ decreased with age: it was 35% of those aged 16-19, but 12% of those aged 45-64.

82% (201,000) of all people who worked in ‘Caring, leisure and other service occupations’ were female; whilst 90% (284,000) of those who worked in ‘Skilled trades occupations’ were male.