Record low unemployment in Scotland

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported a record low of people unemployed in Scotland in the final months of 2018. 

However, the fact that the job market is now very crowded could lead to issues for people wanting to find employment in the future.

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UK Job centre. Credit J Ellison.

In the last ten years, the Scottish economy has been re-energised by the spirit of entrepreneurship. People across the country are contributing massively to the Scottish job market by creating businesses and brands that excite and capture the imagination of the public. This, in turn, creates a demand for people who have a wide range of skills that appeal to potential employers.

Findings by the ONS reported that employment among people aged 16-24 was around 60% with more than 300,000 young people in either full or part-time work. It also revealed that the youth unemployment rate was down by 1.2% reaching 8.4%. Overall, Scotland had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.6% compared to 4.1% in England and 3.9% in Wales.

Scotland has kept costs for homegrown students to a minimum which means more young people and even older people are pursuing further education.

A college student studying construction shred his thought on how these figures are negative for him:


The ONS reported that between September and November last year, the unemployment figures dropped to below 100,000. This means that over 75% of the working population in Scotland is in employment. This comes as good news as Brexit grows ever closer.

Scottish Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Despite the huge and continued challenges of Brexit, the Scottish economy remains resilient and our jobs market is strengthening.”

It was recently revealed Sir James Dyson was moving his headquarters from the UK to Singapore amid Brexit chaos. This may, however, turn out to be a good move for the UK. Dyson is trying to tap into the massive Asian consumer market. If business profits increase then the company will have to pay more in UK taxes.

Scotland has seen a sharp rise in the number of permanent and temporary staff over the later months of 2018. This growth in the job market outperformed the UK as a whole. Both staff groups also found that they were receiving on average, higher wages. This may be due to the drop in workers’ availability where employers have to employ more people to cover workers who possess the skills required but have other commitments.

Even though the low unemployment figures are a good sign that people are in work and are able to contribute to the economy it does pose problems for people who are coming straight into a heavily saturated job market where there are fewer opportunities than there was before. The hope is that continued investment by people with an idea or a business can generate more wealth for the whole of Scotland.

Thousands rally for pay equality

Glasgow is seeing its biggest equal pay strike in decades as 8,000 march on George Square.

Hundreds of schools, nurseries, and other local government organisations are striking due to a long-running dispute about equal pay for women.

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GMB General Secretary Tim Roache with striking workers at Glasgow City Chambers

Although Glasgow City Council has said the strike is unnecessary, GMB and Unison workers unions note a distinct lack of progress in negotiations over the pay issue.

The problem has arisen from a pay and conditions scheme introduced by Glasgow City Council in 2006. The scheme means that due to differing work conditions, workers in female-dominated industries like teaching, catering and cleaning are receiving up to £3 an hour less than workers in male-dominated industries like refuse collection.

Gary Smith, the Scottish secretary of GMB, spoke to us about the march in Glasgow:

“The Glasgow Women’s strike is the biggest ever strike over sex discrimination and equal pay. 8000 women have downed tools and brought large parts of the city to a halt. This is a magnificent display of solidarity amongst the women of Glasgow.”

Other industries which are unaffected by the pay dispute – or on the other side of it, such as refuse workers – have also been striking to support the female marchers in Glasgow.

GMB European Officer Kathleen Walker Shaw told EN4 News:

“The strike action and demonstration has met with widespread public support in Glasgow, Scotland, the UK and internationally with messages of solidarity pouring in from public service workers across the world.”

These messages included a speech from Rosa Pavanelli, the general Secretary of the 20-million-strong PSI Global union:

Councillors in Glasgow reiterate that there is no need for the strike. Council Leader Susan Aitken spoke to the BBC, stating:

“I’m not entirely sure why this strike is taking place. Negotiations have been continuing. We’ve made considerable progress in a number of areas.”

Over 12,000 claims have been made to the council to alert them of pay issues caused by the 2006 scheme. After pay increases and payouts for backdated claims, the issue could ultimately cost between £500 million and £1 billion.

National Chain Wilko fined £2.2 million after employee crushed

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National chain store Wilko has been fined £2.2m after a worker was crushed by a metal cage and left paralysed.

Corisande Collins, 23, was pinned beneath a metal cage full of paint while she was working at a store in Leicester in 2013.

Ms Collins, who was working part-time while studying for a degree, now uses a wheelchair.

Leicester Crown Court heard the company admitted failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees.

Ms Collins, from Glenfield, had just completed the first year of a degree at Northampton University and had taken work at the Beaumont Shopping Centre branch.

She was pulling a roll cage overloaded with 230kg (507lb) of paint out of a lift when it toppled on her, the court heard.

The court heard the prosecution described it as a “high culpability case” as there was no risk assessment for the lift or the use of the roll cages, as well as “inadequate training and supervision”.

Ms Collins has said the injuries would not stop her achieving what she wanted in life.

Women work over a month more than men according to report

A new report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has uncovered that women, on average, work 39 more days than men in a year.

The data, compiled by the WEF’s Global Gender Gap suggests women work on average 50 minutes more a day than men, with women in the UK working an average of 12 days more than men.

The report claims that unpaid work has such an effect on the economic inequality of women that it could take up to 170 years to close.

The gap in economic opportunity, the WEF says, is now larger than at any point since 2008.

Although men do 34% more paid work than women, women still spend more of their time on unpaid work such as housework, childcare and care for older people.

When this is factored in, the WEF calculates women work more than a month more than men per year.

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In India, Portugal and Estonia, this equates to more than 50 days more work for women than men per year.

Women work more hours than men in all but six countries studied. Of these six, three were Nordic countries where parental leave can be shared relatively evenly between the parents of a child.

Parental leave is a key factor in the amount of hours worked unpaid, with women bearing the brunt of care for their child. Paid leave for mothers greatly outweighs paid leave for father, a hotly contested issue, and on the whole governments are far more likely to accept the cost for maternity leave over paternity.

The report also shows that there is a limit to the positive effects that extra parental leave can have on the economy. In countries where paid leave exceeds two years, there is a notable decline the number of women likely to participate in the work force.

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