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There are 58,200 employees in the Scottish active leisure, learning and well-being sector, accounting for 2.2% of all Scottish jobs and 9% of all UK employment in the sector. There are approximately 4,200 workplaces in the sector in Scotland. 63% of the workforce are in the sport and recreation industry and 21% are in playwork. An additional 146,000 volunteers also work in the sector.

Workforce statistics:

  • 50% of jobs in the sector are part-time.
  • 11% of the workforce are self-employed.
  • 51% of the workforce are female, compared with 47% in the whole Scottish economy.
  • 86% of the playwork workforce are female.
  • 25% of the workforce are aged 16-24 years, 19% aged 25-34 years, 22% aged 35-44 years, and 34% are aged 45 years and over.
  • 94% of the workforce are white.

Employment levels in the sector are forecast to increase to 63,000 by 2014, which is around 1.2% per annum. All the industries forecast increased employment levels to 2014 with the exception of the caravan industry which is expected to decrease by 20%.

19.1% of the workforce are employed in personal service occupations. Over the next ten years, the number of management, associate professional and administrative roles is predicted to increase. Sports/community development, coaches and professionals’ jobs account for 39% of jobs in the sector, whilst 31% are operations roles. 75% of playwork staff are classified in sports/community development, coaches and professionals.

The distribution of qualification levels held by the sector workforce in Scotland is similar to the average for the whole Scotland economy. 19% of the workforce have below SVQ level 2 or equivalent qualification, 19% SVQ level 2 or equivalent, 20% SVQ level 3 or equivalent, and 42% SVQ level 4 or 5 qualification or equivalent.

Skills gaps are often reported for soft skills, particularly as a high level of importance is given to team- working, communication, IT and initiative skills. A lack of core skills is particularly evident among the under 25 age group. Future skill requirements will be for customer service, basic IT, communication and child protection skills.

55% of organisations report hard-to-fill vacancies. Vacancies are considered to be hard-to-fill because the unattractiveness of the job, a lack of financial incentives, plus the unsocial hours and shift work involved. Roles that are the hardest-to-fill are sector specific and include: coaches, instructors, activity leaders and playworkers; plus operational staff

Key drivers in the Scottish sector include:

  • Government strategies and policies
  • Participation in sport
  • Investment and funding sources
  • Innovation
  • Enterprise
  • Skills
  • Current economic climate

Source: Sector Skills Assessment – Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being: Scotland 2010 and Sector Skills Agreement Scotland 2006