Scotland lagging behind UK in jobs and population

The number of workers in Scotland increased by 4 per cent over the decade. Picture: PA
The number of workers in Scotland increased by 4 per cent over the decade. Picture: PA
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Scotland was one of the worst performers for both job creation and population growth over the last decade when compared to other UK regions and nations, analysis has found.

London has seen one third of all new jobs created across the UK in the past ten years.

However, Scotland, which makes up 8 per cent of the UK population, is one of the worst performers for both job creation and population growth out of the 12 UK regions.

Scotland added 89,700 jobs over the decade from 2007 to 2017, or 3 per cent of the UK total jobs added in that time, research by the BBC Shared Data Unit found.

The number of workers in Scotland increased by 4 per cent over the decade.

Scotland’s population increased 4.7 per cent in the same period, the third lowest rise behind the north-east of England and Wales.

However, average hourly pay for workers in Scotland increased by 26 per cent over the decade, the second highest rise of any nation or region behind Northern Ireland.

Ronald MacQuaid, professor of work and employment at the University of Stirling, said manufacturing industry had suffered over the past three

decades, but London was benefiting from its concentration of financial services.

“Productivity is a big problem,” he said. “We are in a productivity crisis, it has barely changed in the last ten years.

“One of the arguments made in the beginning of the recession was workers took real pay cuts in return for keeping their jobs – so there

wasn’t the incentive to improve productivity.

“If you take on labour that is relatively cheap you don’t invest in infrastructure.

“I personally think London’s productivity is heavily influenced by financial services – staff can make a lot of money and productivity is

often measured by salaries. I do think the UK is far too centralised.

Jobs, departments and decision-making is too centralised.

“A lot of investment decisions had unintended consequences. The development of Heathrow, for example, hands a big advantage to west London. Crossrail is another example.

“Everywhere outside of London and the south-east is facing similar problems.

The collapse of manufacturing employment has been a continuous concern over the last 30 years.

“The problem is we’ve not had manufacturing output maintained at the same level.”