Ensuring support is in place to allow everyone to access work and training

A photograph of young people grouped for a photograph at an East Neuk fishing village in Fife

Key points:

  • Helping parents into work
  • Closing the disability employment gap and the gender pay gap
  • Closing the ethnic minority pay gap

We will invest £22 million in a package of intensive parental employment support to help parents on low incomes move into employment and progress their careers when already in work, as part of our focus on child poverty.

A Fairer Scotland for Women: Gender Pay Gap Action Plan was launched in March 2019, which was a first for any UK administration. The aim of the Action Plan is to deliver a cross-government approach, tackling the causes of the inequality women face in the labour market. Equality for women is integral to our vision for inclusive growth. The plan will address labour market inequalities faced by women, particularly those with disabilities, from ethnic minorities, or who are older or from poorer socio economic backgrounds and those with caring responsibilities. The plan has over 60 actions that aim to reduce the gender pay gap in Scotland. A year one update will be published in Spring 2020.

Our Gender Pay Gap Working Group includes expert stakeholders such as Close the Gap, Engender and the STUC. Chaired by the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, the group helped to inform the development of our gender pay gap action plan. The group will continue to meet bi-annually to hear, discuss and challenge progress toward the actions.

The First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls was formed as a catalyst for change to address gender inequality by providing independent strategic advice to the First Minister. Its vision is for a Scotland which is recognised as a world leader, for its commitment and action towards realising an equal society where all women and girls can reach their true potential.

In the year ahead we will take forward the recommendations of the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls.

We will:

  • Create a What Works? Institute to identify, test and promote best practice in changing public attitudes to and challenging stereotypes about women’s and girls’ equality and rights. We will work with partners to develop a framework for the Institute and its work by summer next year
  • establish a Gender Beacon Collaborative to promote gender equality across Scottish public life – membership and ambitions for the collaborative will be announced later this year
  • continue to lobby the UK Government to improve parental leave
  • support work to encourage 50/50 representation at elections

We will invest an additional £5 million over the next 3 years to support around 2,000 women to return to work. We have also committed £250,000 over two years to develop Women in Agriculture Leadership and £300,000 per year from 2020-2024 to establish a Women in Leadership Development Programme, improving training across the country for women involved in farming and crofting, develop an Equality Charter for Agriculture and deliver the recommendations of the Women in Agriculture Taskforce.

We have committed to working with stakeholders, employers and our partners to ensure that the Disability Employment Gap is reduced by at least half, by 2038. We will do this by:

  • Promoting the positive business case of employing a diverse workforce, ensuring employers are aware of the benefits of employing disabled people, and reducing the disability employment gap.

  • Enabling disabled people to better access support provided by Access to Work, when they embark on work experience, or a work trial.

  • Enabling disabled people to access advice about their employment rights, by implementing the recommendations of a 2019/20 review into the gaps in already existing services.

  • Continuing to support Supported Employment, by implementing the recommendations of the Support Employment review.

  • Implementing the recommendations of the Short Life Working Group on Supported Business/Social Enterprise, ensuring that the important contribution that Social Enterprise and Social Business makes to Scotland’s economy continues.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the current Individual Placement and Support Strand contained within Fair Start Scotland.

We will take a joined up approach across our public services to help people with a health issue or disability stay in work by piloting a Health and Work Support service. We also aim to provide 300 professionals in return to work or disability management with National Institute of Disability Management and Research training so that they can support people to remain in or return to work as part of a 5 year programme.

We will also build on the progress of the 1 (DYW) programme, which has delivered its headline target to reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021, four years early. We will continue our work to establish effective partnerships between employers and education and maintain our commitment to the DYW employer-led regional groups.

We are enabling those in our hardest to reach, isolated areas who are suffering with mental health issues to engage with the jobs market and contribute to the economy through our support for the National Rural Mental Health Forum.

We are taking a joined up approach across our public services to help keep people in work by piloting a Health and Work Support service in Dundee and Fife, set to run until June 2020. This tests a single, easy to navigate, entry point for health and work services to reduce length of sickness absences and the risk of job loss.

We will implement the recommendations of the Commission on Widening Access to support delivery of our ambition for 20% of entrants to university to be from the 20% most deprived areas by 2030.

Key resources:

One Scotland

A fairer Scotland for women: gender pay gap action plan

Scottish Government: Fairer Scotland

Scottish Government: Digital Health Care Strategy

We recognise the importance of increasing employment rates for specific groups who are disadvantaged in the labour market, including people from minority ethnic backgrounds. Analysis from the Annual Population Survey shows that the ethnicity pay gap for Scotland was 10.2 per cent in 2018, with ethnic minority groups earning 10.2 per cent less than white employees on average.

We have developed a suite of actions that will start to address the employment gap, which are closely aligned with the Independent Race Adviser’s recommendations.

We will map activities to improve employment and progression for ethnic minority groups who suffer disadvantage in the labour market.

We are targeting support to help ethnic minority people into the labour market.

We are taking forward a range of actions to tackle the causes of the pay gaps this includes implementing the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) recommendations, the attainment challenge, increased flexible early learning and childcare provision, and promotion of the living wage.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) published its Equalities Action Plan in December 2015 which includes actions to increase the number of black and minority ethnic people entering Modern Apprenticeships.