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Scotland

Approximately 54,700 people work in energy and utilities.

Over the period March 2003 to March 2008, numbers of Gas, Power, Waste Management and Water sector workplaces increased by about 4%, but numbers in employment in the sector decreased by about -21%.

In relation to the size of workplaces, the Gas, Power, Waste Management and Water sector has a relatively high proportion of medium and large workplaces, with 20% employing 20 or more employees, compared with 10% of all workplaces in Scotland (Inter-Departmental Business Register, March 2008).

Around 21% of Scotland’s energy and utilities sector workforce is female, which is approximately the same as found across the sector as a whole. In terms of ethnicity 99% of the sector’s workforce are classified as White; this figure is slightly higher in the Highlands and Islands area than in the Scottish Enterprise area.

By comparison with the average across all industries in Scotland, Gas, Power, Waste Management and Water sector workplaces are characterised by a much lower proportion of part-time jobs (7% compared with 32%).

The age profile of the Highlands and Islands workforce is slightly older than that of Scotland as a whole, and there are proportionately fewer managers, professionals, associate professionals and skilled trades employed in Scotland than in the UK as a whole (and even fewer in the Highlands and Islands area).

Although Scotland has a different education system to the rest of the UK, it is still possible to identify the qualification characteristics of the energy and utilities sector workforce. As found elsewhere in the UK, recycling and refuse and sanitation in Scotland are the sub-sectors most likely to have employees with no qualifications. The gas industry is most likely to have employees with Levels 1, 2 or 3 and the water industry is most likely to have Level 4 and above.

The average gross weekly full-time wage for employees in Scotland in 2008 was £440 (Annual survey of Hours and Earnings 2008). Figures for all employees in the Gas, Power, Waste Management and Water sector in Scotland point to a much higher rate of pay, at £606.

Key facts for the power industry:

  • There are around 135 electricity business units in Scotland.
  • Over the past 20 years the power workforce in Scotland has decreased by 9%. The occupations which have been most affected by these reductions are secretarial (Level 2 and 3), skilled technical (Level 3), plant and machine operatives (Level 2) and elementary (Level 1 and below).
  • 24% of the power industry’s workforce is female (1% above the UK average). Females make up 72% of the workforce within the administrative and secretarial occupations, but just 2% of skilled trades, 16% of professionals and one-quarter of managers.
  • The age profile of Scotland’s power workforce is somewhat older than Scotland’s workforce as a whole, with an under-representation of 16-24 year-olds and an over-representation of 35-44 year-olds.

Key facts for the upstream gas industry:

  • The upstream gas workforce has reduced by 74% over the last 20 years period. The most affected occupations have been secretarial (Level 2 and 3), skilled technical (Level 3) and elementary (Level 1 and below).
  • 28% of the upstream gas industry’s workforce is female (1% above the UK average).
  • Once again females dominate in administrative and secretarial (68%) but represent less than 1% of skilled trades, 15% of professionals and 19% of managers.
  • The age profile of Scotland’s upstream gas workforce is slightly younger than Scotland’s workforce as a whole, with a considerable over-representation of employees aged less than 44 years, particularly in the Scottish Enterprise region.

Key facts for the downstream gas industry:

  • There are around 2,800 CORGI registered businesses in the downstream gas industry in Scotland.
  • The age profile of operatives in Scotland shows a much more pronounced peak around 23 year olds. There are far fewer older operatives in Scotland, 79% are 50 years old or under.

Key facts for the waste management industry:

  • There are 530 waste business units.
  • Employment levels in both recycling and waste disposal have increased by 111% over the past two decades.
  • In both these sub-sectors of waste management, the occupations which have been most affected by these increases are corporate managers (Level 5), science professionals (Level 4), science associate professionals (Level 3) and sales and customer service (Level 2).
  • 22% of the waste management industry’s workforce is female (3% above the UK average).
  • As in other industries, there are particular concentrations of females only in administrative and secretarial (76%). Almost one-in-three professionals and associate professionals are female, which is relatively high.
  • The age profile of Scotland’s waste management workforce is considerably older than Scotland’s workforce as a whole.

Key facts for the water industry

  • There are around 385 water businesses in Scotland.
  • The water sector’s workforce has reduced by 18% since 1986. The occupations which have been most affected by these reductions are admin and secretarial (Level 2 and 3), skilled technical (Level 3), plant and machine operatives (Level 2) and elementary (Level 1 and below).
  • 20% of the water industry’s workforce is female (6% below the UK average). There are high concentrations of female staff within administrative and secretarial (71%), but just 1% of the skilled trade workforce.
  • The age profile of Scotland’s water workforce is considerably older than Scotland’s workforce as a whole.

Source: Energy & Utility Skills Sector Skills Agreement Stage 1 2006, Futureskills Scotland 2009 and Energy & Utility Skills Sector Skills Agreement Stages 1-3 Final Report 2007 – Scotland