Scotland's economy: wages and employment rate still below crash levels

Scotland has missed out on the UK's jobs boom, with wages and the employment rate still lower than they were before the financial crash ten years ago, new research shows.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits the Computershare's new office to announce new jobs in the city. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

One in six working Scots – about 440,000 – is also paid below the voluntary living wage, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The organisation is hosting a major conference in Glasgow today and says that tackling poverty and inequality should be priorities in developing Scotland’s city deals.

Chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Scotland has enjoyed a strong economic record but too many people have not shared in its success – over a million people live in poverty, which is a cost and waste our economy and society cannot afford.

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“We need the Scottish Government, city leaders and Westminster to work together to pursue this goal, starting with progress on Scotland’s city deals to tackle poverty.

“This agenda has momentum in England following the election of powerful metro mayors and with political and economic uncertainty ahead, Scotland needs inclusive growth now to create a stronger and fairer economy.

“We need growth but everyone needs to the benefit from it.”

The charity has urged the UK and Scottish governments to work with city leaders and businesses to ensure more people benefit from economic growth.

JRF said progress was crucial with just over a million people in Scotland living in poverty and one in five Scottish employees (441,000) paid below the voluntary living wage.

Analysis by the foundation highlights that the employment rate remains lower than it was before the recession, average wages are £32 lower they were ten years ago in real terms and one in six employees has no or very low qualifications. JRF said increased devolution and the development of city region and growth deals provided an opportunity to design a more inclusive economy.

Speaking before the summit on inclusive growth in Glasgow, Jane Wood, from the Business in the Community charity, said: “To achieve inclusive growth, we must ensure that everyone gets a more equal share of the pie whilst we work to make a bigger one.

“We need to improve productivity, career progression, job quality and equality of access to the labour market.”