Summary & Priorities – Employment

The quantitative data and local research present a mixed picture of economic experience among ethnic minorities in Grampian in the last decade. Some have had success working in the oil and gas industry, healthcare and higher education, while many have become ‘stuck’ in lower status and more precarious jobs in fish processing, agriculture and hospitality. On a number of employment indicators, mainly from the 2011 Census, ethnic minorities fare better than the majority population, and several data points suggest that ethnic minorities in Grampian have better employment outcomes than those in Scotland as a whole.

However, the broad patterns in Grampian tend to align with national trends, and the employment rate for ethnic minority people remains lower than for Scottish/British people, despite higher levels of education. In one particularly stark example, Africans in Grampian have the highest proportion of degree-level qualifications, but also face the highest unemployment rate (more than 10%). While no ethnicity data is available for the North East region, it is clear that ‘non-white’ ethnic minorities across Scotland start businesses at higher rates than the rest of the population, but face significant challenges and remain under-represented in business leadership.

In addition to existing patterns of employment inequality, ethnic minorities have suffered worse job losses during Covid-19. Grampian’s non-UK-born ethnic minorities have been hardest hit, potentially due to insecure employment and barriers to accessing information and support. Qualitative data shows that ethnicity continues to be perceived as a barrier for employment. Many of the challenges that ethnic minorities face in this area – such as language barriers, absence of opportunities to match skills and development, and lack of childcare – have been exacerbated by Covid-19 and Brexit.

Special attention should be given to how all these factors impact on women looking after home or family, as in 2011 the rates were higher – both for ethnic minorities and Scottish/British women – than the national average.


  • Ensuring that ethnic minorities have opportunities to improve their English language skills where required; to develop other employability skills; to transfer qualifications from their countries of origin; and to gain awareness of workplace rights.
  • Ensuring increased engagement with (and opportunities for) Africans and other communities with the highest rates of unemployment in Grampian.
  • Developing a better understanding of the unequal impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit on the employment of ethnic minorities and others with protected characteristics, including the intersectional ways that issues manifest.

Data Source:  2021, .
Category:  Summaries
Topics:  Employment