Accessing the Labour Market: Sex


Women have traditionally been under-represented within the labour market. Although recent improvements have reduced gender inequality in the workplace, data from a range of sources suggests there are still improvements to be made.

A cross-section of social, cultural, structural and institutional factors contribute to the under-representation of females. Therefore, this section should be examined in conjunction with:

Furthermore, issues pertaining to work and worth are also strongly related to the other workstreams covered in this review:


Key Facts and Figures: Glasgow, Scotland and the UK.

The following tables provide the most recent figures (March 2014) on employment, by sex, within Glasgow, Scotland and the UK.

All people Glasgow City (level) Glasgow City % Scotland % Great Britain %
Economically active 293,500 70.7 77.3 77.4
In employment 268,200 64.6 71.5 71.7
Employees 238,400 57.5 63.3 61.4
Self employed 26,700 6.4 7.6 9.8


Males Glasgow City (level) Glasgow City % Scotland % Great Britain %
Economically active 153,400 74.1 81.9 83.3
In employment 138,300 67.0 75.1 76.8
Employees 116,500 56.6 64.0 62.7
Self employed 20,000 9.5 10.5 13.5


Females Glasgow City (level) Glasgow City % Scotland % Great Britain %
Economically active 140,100 67.3 72.8 71.6
In employment 129,900 62.3 68.0 66.7
Employees 121,900 58.5 62.5 60.0
Self employed 6,800 3.3 4.9 6.2

Source: Office for National Statistics. Labour Market. 2014


Modern Apprenticeships

Research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) highlights that 98% of construction based modern apprenticeships are filled by men. Despite the weakening of gender barriers in certain industries, women are still under-represented in a number of sectors.

Furthermore, the EHRC introduce the notion of gendered spend in such apprenticeships, suggesting that 53% more money is spent on young male apprenticeships that females.

From this, employment issues surrounding sex and gender identities are still embedded within the labour market. Further work is needed to ensure sex equality is achieved at all levels of employment.

Source: EHRC. 2013. Modern Apprenticeships. Equality and the Economy: Spreading the Benefits.


The Gender Pay Gap

Interestingly, further research by Close the Gap explores the nature of the 'pay gap' in 182 organisations (of which 140 were from the private sector).

94% of the sample size stated that they had an equal pay policy in place, however, less than one third had ever undertaken a pay gap review, or were intending on undertaking a pay gap review.

Furthermore, only six companies (or three percent) described themselves as having taken action to address pay gaps.

Close the gap also highlight a 17.3% pay gap in weekly pay between male and females. In terms of hourly pay a 13.3% gap exists.

Source: Close the gap. 2013. Missing Out on the Benefits.

Source: Close the gap. 2013. Gender Pay Gap Statistics.


Occupational Segregation

The 2011 census provides further information regarding the impact of sex upon employment. 33% of economically active females work part time, whilst only 9% of economically active males work part time.

  • Females are five times more likely to be in part-time work than males (433,000 vs. 97,000)

Furthermore, distinctions can be drawn in regards to the type of work completed by males and females. As shown in the 2011 census, sex still plays an important role in the job opportunities and work choices of men and women in Scotland.

For example (% is of total workforce):

  • Construction: 14% males, 2% female
  • Manufacturing: 11% males, 4% female
  • Transport & Storage: 8% males, 2% female
  • Health and Social Work: 25% female, 6% male
  • Education: 12% female, 5% male

Continuing this discussion and adopting a broader framework, the 2011 census further highlights the nature of both 'gendered roles’ and difficulties women face in obtaining upper management positions within the country, insofar as:

  • 9 times more males than females worked as skilled trade occupations.
  • 7 times more males than females worked as process, plant and machine operatives.
  • 5 times more females than males worked in caring, leisure and other service occupations.
  • 4 times more females worked in administrative and secretarial positions.
  • Males are nearly twice as likely to work in higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations. 

    Source: Scottish Government. 2013. Labour Market by Gender.