Scotland employment reaches record high

Thursday 14 September 2017

Scotland’s employment rate reached a record high in the three months to July, increasing 1.8 percentage points from the previous three months to 75.8 million.

The official government figures also showed that the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points in the May to July period, dropping to 3.8 per cent. As the overall UK unemployment rate is 4.3 per cent, it’s clear that Scotland’s labour market remains strong.

Scotland's Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “These are the latest encouraging figures for Scotland’s economy and labour market – employment has never been higher and unemployment has never been lower.

“There are now 109,000 more people in employment compared to the pre-recession peak and Scotland now has the highest employment rate in the UK.”

Mr Hepburn added that the figures prove Scotland remains strong even despite the challenges posed by Brexit, with the country remanining uncertain over how the departure from the EU will be handled.

What’s more, self-employed professionals played a key role in improving the Scottish economy, according to Stuart Mackinnon, external affairs manager for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland.

Mr Mackinnon explained that around one in eight of all people working in Scotland are their own boss, adding that more government policies need to be designed with these individuals in mind. 

He specifically called for childcare and welfare initiatives to be tailored to self-employed professionals. 

As well as those programmes, self-employed individuals need to consider a host of other responsibilities in order to thrive away from a traditional nine-to-five job.

Taxation and other HR responsibilities in particular will be new to freelancers in their first few months outside of full-time work. Trying to work through all of the jargon can be particularly tiresome, but there is a better solution - freelancer and contractor accountants

These experts have a comprehensive understanding of the market and can take a significant amount of pressure off the shoulders of freelancers, allowing them to instead focus on growing their business. 

As well as helping with taxation, the specialists can offer general financial advice and help people through the tough first months of self-employment.

There’s certainly an appetite for entrepreneurship, with recent research from Britain Thinks and Investec Click and Invest discovering that 22 per cent of professionals have turned a hobby into a source of income.

By Victoria McDonnell

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