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The health sector employs 244,412 people in Scotland, which accounts for 10.1% of the country’s total employment. The independent sector accounts for 19% of the total health sector workforce in Scotland. Glasgow City, with 18% of the workforce, serves 11% of the resident population and the City of Edinburgh, with 12% of the workforce, serves 9% of the resident population.

There is 1 healthcare employee for every 21 people resident in Scotland.

22% of organisations in the health and social work sector report vacancies. 17% of establishments report skill gaps; of these most cite problem solving skills, oral communication skills and customer handling skills as areas of weakness.

The sector has grown by 40.1% between 1999 and 2008. Between 2007 and 2017, the total requirement for workforce will be approximately 116,000 people. This is the total of the predicted expansion plus replacement demand.

Workforce statistics:

  • 79% of the workforce is female.
  • 30% of the workforce is aged 45-54 years.
  • 95% of the workforce is white.
  • 13% of the workforce reports a disability.
  • 56% of the workforce is qualified to S/NVQ Level 4 or above.
  • 37% of the workforce is in Associate Professional and Technical occupations.

Source: Skills for Health AACS LMI report 2010 and Skills and Labour Market Intelligence Report for Scotland 2010

Changes in the health sector workforce in Scotland, 2007 – 2017


Notes: *Net Requirement is a total of the estimated expansion of jobs plus replacement demand.

All figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.

Source: Skills and Labour Market Intelligence Report for Scotland 2010, Table 24. Data from Working Futures 2007-2017 based on CE/IER estimates.

Health sector employees by local authority in Scotland, 2008


Note: * Figures to small to disclose

Source: Skills and Labour Market Intelligence Report for Scotland 2010, Table 5. Data derived from the Annual Business Inquiry 2008 and the 2008 Mid-Year Population Estimates (from Nomis).