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Publication - Research Publication

The life chances of young people in Scotland: evidence review

Published: 3 Jul 2017
Part of:
Children and families, Equality and rights, Research
ISBN:
9781788510721

Evidence review commissioned by the First Minister's Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality.

80 page PDF

1.2MB

80 page PDF

1.2MB

Contents
The life chances of young people in Scotland: evidence review
How are young people's life chances patterned by disadvantage and protected characteristics?

80 page PDF

1.2MB

How are young people's life chances patterned by disadvantage and protected characteristics?

This section now looks at what we know about young people's life chances in more detail, exploring what the available evidence tells us about how young people's life chances are shaped by deprivation and other forms of disadvantage, and protected characteristics. The evidence on six characteristics that shape young people's outcomes is examined:

9. The impact of gender roles and responsibilities

10. Living in a deprived area

11. Ethnicity

12. Disability

13. Caring responsibilities

14. Being 'looked after' and leaving care

Gender

Labour market

Inequality of caring responsibilities impacts on women's experience of work from early adulthood. Inactivity rates for young women in Scotland are substantially higher than for young men, and higher in some local authorities. A gender pay gap exists from early in working life. Most of the UK's low-paid workers are women. [74] Low quality work is also disproportionately carried out by women, especially those with low attainment, little work experience and earlier childrearing breaks.

Women dominate low-pay sectors such as caring and leisure occupations. Gender segregation in subjects studied at school and beyond is associated with gender segregation in the labour market, with 'feminised' sectors tending to be low paid. The most gendered occupations for young people are 'Skilled Trades' (89% male) and 'Caring, Leisure and Other Services' (82% female) [xv] . Additionally analysis of Census data found that for NEET young people who have previously worked, more young women have worked in 'administrative and secretarial' occupations and 'sales and customer service' occupations, whereas more young men have had experience in 'skilled trade' occupations. [21]

While young men have a higher unemployment rate than young women, young women are more likely to be economically inactive than young men - see Figure 20 and 21. Two risk factors for being NEET are specific to young women's caring responsibilities - teenage pregnancy and being an unpaid carer for more than 20 hours per week. [21] The literature suggests that, while young women are more likely than young men to continue in full-time education, those who leave school early with poor or no qualifications are likely to face worse labour market outcomes than young men with similar characteristics. [75]

Figure 20: Youth (16-24) unemployment (excluding full-time education) by gender, Scotland

Figure 20: Youth (16-24) unemployment (excluding full-time education) by gender, Scotland

Source: APS

Figure 21: Youth (16-24) inactivity (excluding full-time education) by gender, Scotland

Figure 21: Youth (16-24) inactivity (excluding full-time education) by gender, Scotland

Source: APS

Teenage pregnancy and being a young mother is often a cause and a consequence of social exclusion (see Section 4.2 below for a discussion of teenage pregnancy and deprivation), and in particular is linked to a risk of worse labour market outcomes. [75] In general, young mothers face significant socio-economic disadvantage. Young mothers have a particularly high risk of poverty and severe poverty compared to all adults. Analysis of data from the Growing up in Scotland ( GUS) study found that, compared to mothers aged 25 and over, those aged under 20 were less likely to have a qualification at Higher grade or above (17% vs. 80%) or to be employed (21% vs. 83%), and more likely to be in the lowest income quintile (72% vs. 12%) and to live in the most deprived areas. [76] While mothers aged 20-24 were found to be relatively advantaged when compared with their younger counterparts, they are still at a significant disadvantage when compared with older parents (50% had a qualification at Higher grade or above, 55% were employed and 40% had a household income in the lowest quintile). [76] Young mothers are also at a higher risk of mental health issues than average, which is associated with feelings of isolation and low self-esteem. [76]

Educational attainment

Girls continue to outperform boys at SCQF levels 4 to 6, with the gap increasing at higher SCQF levels, as shown in Figure 22. [44]

Figure 22: Percentage of school leavers attaining SCQF level 4-6 or more by gender (2014/15) [44]

Figure 22: Percentage of school leavers attaining SCQF level 4-6 or more by gender (2014/15)

Source: Source: Scottish Government, Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living, No.6: 2016 Edition

This gender attainment gap is visible in the Broad General Education phase: the 2016 SSLN found that girls outperformed boys in most stages for reading and writing. [46] There was no difference in the proportion of boys and girls performing well or very well in numeracy at P4 or P7 in 2015; however, boys outperformed girls at S2. [45] The exclusion rate is also higher for boys: 43 per 1000 pupils compared to 11 per 1000 for girls. [48]

Post-school transitions

From the Participation Measure, young women were slightly more likely to be participating in education, training and employment than young men in 2016 ( Table 6). Young women were more likely to be participating in education, and particularly higher education, while a higher proportion of young men were participating in employment. [49]

Table 6: Participation status by gender, 2016 [49]

Participation Status Female Male Total 16-19 year olds
Total Participating in Education 75.9 66.9 71.3
Participating in Education - school pupil 41.7 39.7 40.7
Participating in Education - HE 22.5 16.2 19.2
Participating in Education - FE 11.8 11.0 11.4
Total Participating in Employment 13.4 20.3 16.9
Participating in Employment - MA 4.0 8.6 6.4
Total Participating in Training & Other Development 1.7 2.5 4.0
Total Not participating 3.9 4.2 4.0
Not Participating - Unemployed Seeking 2.1 3.2 2.7
Not Participating - Economically Inactive 1.5 0.5 1.0
Total Unconfirmed Status 5.1 6.1 5.6
Total Cohort within the participation measure 108,280 114,285 222,580
Percentage spilt of the cohort 48.6 51.3

Source: Skills Development Scotland, Annual Participation Measure for 16 - 19 year olds in Scotland, 2016

In terms of college leaver destinations, overall there was no difference between young men and women qualifiers (aged 16 to 24) in terms of finding positive destinations in 2014/15. However, young women were more likely to be in part-time work than young men after leaving college: 3.8% compared to 2.7% of young men. Young men by contrast were more likely to be unemployed and looking for work: 3.1% compared to 2.4% of young women. [53]

There is a strong gendered aspect for many of the college courses taken by 16-24 year olds - see Figure 23 below. [51]

Figure 23: Male/female distribution across college subject areas for 16-24 year olds, 2014/15 [53]

Figure 23: Male/female distribution across college subject areas for 16-24 year olds, 2014/15

Source: Scottish Funding Council, College Leaver Destinations 2014/15 - analysis of 16-24 cohort

Men are underrepresented in HE: in 2014/15, 59.6% of Scottish domiciled first degree full-time entrants into Year 1 of university were female. [52] There are also higher retention rates from Year 1 to Year 2 for female Scottish-domiciled full-time entrants to first degree courses than male: 92.6% of women compared to 89.7% of men. [52] As with college courses, the gender balance differs substantially when analysed at subject level, with women dominating Social Studies (71%), Education (76%) and European Languages, Literature and related subjects (69%) courses for example, while men are the majority in Engineering (86%), Technologies (78%), Mathematical and Computer Sciences (75%), and Architecture, Building and Planning (71%). [52]

By contrast, fewer young women than young men undertake MAs: 41% of 16-19 year old and 49% of 20-24 year old MA starts were female. [58] Excluding frameworks with a small number of starts, in 2015/16 70% of MA frameworks had a gender balance of 75:25 or worse. For example (for all ages), 98% of Construction and related, 95% of Engineering and Energy related and 97% of Automotive MA starts were male, whilst 72% of Administration and related, 91% of Personal Services and 84% of Sport, Health & Social Care starts were female. [59]

Health and wellbeing status

Young women reported lower levels of life satisfaction and wellbeing than young men - Figure 24 below shows wellbeing scores for age and sex. [60]

Figure 24: WEMWBS mean score, 2015, by age and sex [60]

Figure 24: WEMWBS mean score, 2015, by age and sex

Source: Scottish Government, The Scottish Health Survey 2015: Volume 1: Main Report

As Figure 25 below underlines, young women were also more likely to exhibit signs of a possible psychiatric disorder compared to young men and older age groups of women. [60]

Figure 25: Percentage of adults with GHQ-12 [xvi] score of 4+, 2015, by age & sex [60]

Figure 25: Percentage of adults with GHQ-12 score of 4+, 2015, by age & sex

Source: Scottish Government, The Scottish Health Survey 2015: Volume 1: Main Report

Similarly, levels of self-reported self-harm were higher for young women, with 23% of young women reporting they had ever self-harmed, compared with 13% of young men.

The evidence suggests that this higher level of mental health issues among young women manifests earlier in adolescence. NHS Health Scotland found that girls reported slightly lower life satisfaction and mental wellbeing, and were more likely to have common mental health problems and emotional symptoms (while boys were more likely to have conduct problems or to suffer from drug-related disorders or to complete suicide). [64] Analysis of SALSUS found that while overall SDQ [xvii] scores have remained fairly constant over time among early adolescents in Scotland, 15 year old girls appear to be suffering much poorer mental health and wellbeing than the other groups, particularly in relation to emotional problems. [77] Girls with fewer friends, that disliked school, felt pressured by school work, truanted on multiple occasions or had been excluded had poorer mental health and wellbeing. [77] The Scottish Health Survey and the HBSC study also both find that mental health and wellbeing deteriorate with age, and girls have worse mental health and wellbeing than boys. [60, 63]

'Risky' health behaviours

Men's weekly mean alcohol unit consumption was higher than women's in all age groups. [60] Around a quarter of young men (24%) reported drug use in the last year, compared to 14% of young women. [67] The majority of all individuals with problem drug use were male (70%). [78]

HBSC reports that early adolescent girls had consistently been more likely to smoke regularly than boys but the difference between the genders has narrowed over time, with little difference by 2014. [63] SALSUS found that boys were more likely than girls to have ever used drugs. [68] HBSC also found that cannabis use is greater among boys: 14% of Scottish 15 year old boys have used cannabis within the last 30 days, compared to 7% of girls. [63]

Youth offending and crime victimisation

Young men had the highest risk of being a victim of any crime (24% compared to 20% for all 16-24 year olds). Young men also had the highest risk of being a victim of violent crime (9%), and were over twice as likely to be a victim of violent crime than women of the same age group (3%).

Young people from deprived areas

Poverty and deprivation are complex problems for which there is no single, 'best' measure. A range of measures are commonly used to capture different aspects of poverty, including measures of household income, socio-economic status and area deprivation. The use of these measures varies between different data sources. The most commonly used measure across the various sources of data on young adults is the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD); therefore, SIMD is used in this report to explore how young people's life chances are patterned by deprivation. SIMD is a relative measure of deprivation across small areas in Scotland: it identifies deprived areas, not individuals. SIMD also identifies multiple deprivation: so 'deprived' can mean people have fewer resources and opportunities, for example in health and education, not just low income.

Educational attainment

In 2014-15, pupils from the most deprived areas reached a higher level of achievement in the senior phase than their peers from the most deprived areas. This 'attainment gap' is wider at higher levels of qualifications. Figure 26 highlights the progress that has been made in closing this gap over the past six years: for leaving school with at least one Higher ( SCQF level 6), the difference between those from the 20% most and least deprived areas was 45.6 percentage points for 2009/10 school leavers and it has now reduced to 39.1 percentage points for 2014/15 school leavers. [44]

Figure 26: Percentage of school leavers by attainment at SCQF level 4-6, by SIMD, 2009/10 to 2014/15 [44]

Figure 26: Percentage of school leavers by attainment at SCQF level 4-6, by SIMD, 2009/10 to 2014/15

Source: Scottish Government, Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living, No.6: 2016 Edition

Inequalities in educational attainment are already apparent in the early years. Looking at language skills in particular, analysis (including analysis of Growing Up in Scotland ( GUS) and Millennium Cohort Study data) shows that children from deprived backgrounds have less developed language skills compared to their less deprived peers. Analysis of GUS data showed that three-year-olds from the 20% highest income groups had higher vocabulary and problem-solving scores than those from the 20% lowest income groups. [79] Furthermore, even if a child has proficient language skills at age three, these can be lost again by age five if the child experiences poverty. [79]

These inequalities continue into the school years. An analysis of assessment data [xviii] found that at the start of P1 (approximately age 5) children from the 20% most deprived areas had lower cognitive development scores than children from the least deprived areas, although the most able quarter of the most deprived group were ahead of the least able quarter of the most affluent group. [80] GUS reported similar findings. [79] During P1 children from the least deprived areas made more progress than those in the most deprived areas for early reading and picture vocabulary, where they may have been receiving more enriched support in their homes. [80] For early mathematics, the children in the most deprived areas made more progress and caught up a little with their peers. The report also showed considerable differences between the average progress of pupils in different schools; concluding that schools made a major difference in children's progress. [80]

In the Broad General Education phase, SSLN reported significantly higher performance among pupils from the least deprived areas than pupils from the most deprived areas across all areas of literacy in 2016 and numeracy in 2015. [45, 46]

Figure 27: Percentage of pupils performing well or very well in literacy (2016) and numeracy (2015), by stage and deprivation category [45, 46]

Figure 27: Percentage of pupils performing well or very well in literacy (2016) and numeracy (2015), by stage and deprivation category

Source: Scottish Government, Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy

Pupils living in areas with higher levels of deprivation had lower school attendance rates, with the effect being greater in secondary and special schools. The exclusion rate per 1000 pupils in 2014/15 was 52 for children from the 20% most deprived areas compared to 8 from the 20% least deprived areas. [48]

Post-school transitions

Staying on at school is strongly patterned by deprivation: Figure 28 shows that the higher the level of deprivation, the lower the staying on rate. The proportion of young people staying on in school from the most deprived areas has increased more rapidly than in the least deprived areas for both S4 to S5 and S5 to S6.

Figure 28: Percentage of young people staying on at school, 2015, by SIMD

Figure 28: Percentage of young people staying on at school, 2015, by SIMD

Source: Scottish Government analysis

Figure 30 shows that pupils from the most deprived areas continue to be less likely to enter 'positive destinations' than those from the least deprived areas, although the gap has narrowed between 2011/12 and 2014/15.

Figure 29: Percentage of school leavers reaching positive follow up destinations by SIMD 2012 decile, 2014/15 [44]

Figure 29: Percentage of school leavers reaching positive follow up destinations by SIMD 2012 decile, 2014/15

Source: Scottish Government, Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living, No.6: 2016 Edition

As Figure 30 shows, young people from the most deprived areas are less likely to go onto HE and more likely to go onto FE than those from the least deprived areas. Those from the most deprived areas were also more likely to be unemployed than those from the least deprived areas.

Figure 30: Percentage of school leavers by follow-up destination category and 2012 SIMD Decile, 2014/15 [44]

Figure 30: Percentage of school leavers by follow-up destination category and 2012 SIMD Decile, 2014/15

Source: Scottish Government, Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living, No.6: 2016 Edition

Turning to the Annual Participation Measure, there is a 14.9 percentage point difference in the rate of participation in employment, education or training between those living in the most and least deprived areas. The post-school journey for young people from the most deprived parts of Scotland is also less stable than for those from the least deprived areas: those in more deprived areas are more likely to experience multiple transitions - see Figure 31 below.

Figure 31: Number of transitions by SIMD 2012 decile (%), 2016

Figure 31: Number of transitions by SIMD 2012 decile (%), 2016

Source: Skills Development Scotland, analysis of Annual Participation Measure 2016

SDS's analysis of the 2012/13 school leaver cohort [xix] found that deprivation had less impact amongst the cohort who did not leave school at the earliest opportunity compared to statutory leavers. For statutory leavers, those living in the 20% most deprived areas were less likely to be participating initially than those in the least deprived areas. The analysis also found that statutory leavers were more likely to make a greater number of transitions in the three years after leaving school compared with those who remained at school (see Figure 32 below). The analysis highlights that those living in the most deprived areas who leave school at the earliest opportunity are at particular risk - of not meeting FE/ HE entry requirements or finding any employment in an area where they may be a lack of employment opportunities.

Figure 32: Number of status transitions by stage of leaving, 2012/13 leaver cohort

Figure 32: Number of status transitions by stage of leaving, 2012/13 leaver cohort

Source: Skills Development Scotland, 'Analysis of Outcomes for 2012/13 School Leavers'

Further and Higher education - College

Colleges play a key role in delivering HE in Scotland, with 17% of HE students studying at college in 2014-15, compared with 6% of HE students studying at college in England. Many students from the 20% most deprived areas begin their post-16 education journey in HE or FE at college. In 2014-15 29% of total college students ( HE and FE) were from the 20% most deprived areas, up from 25% in 2009-10.

When looking just at FE courses in colleges, the proportion of full-time equivalent ( FTE) students from the 20% most deprived areas is higher still (33%) and students from the most deprived 10% are the most over-represented group (18% of FTE students on FE courses).

Figure 33 demonstrates the contrast between the number of students from each SIMD decile enrolled at colleges and universities. In colleges, the number of students increases as deprivation levels get higher but for universities, the opposite is true.

Figure 33: Comparison of SIMD distribution of college and university students - 2014/15 (16-24 year olds) [53]

Figure 33: Comparison of SIMD distribution of college and university students – 2014/15 (16-24 year olds)

Source: Scottish Funding Council, College Leaver Destinations

In terms of outcomes, students from the most deprived areas are slightly less likely to complete their programme successfully, and more likely to withdraw from their programmes than those from less deprived areas. [52] College Leaver Destinations survey results show that those in the most deprived areas are also less likely to be working full-time post qualification than those in the least deprived deciles, and are more likely to engage in further study. Unemployment rates after qualifying, however, are fairly similar between SIMD deciles. [53]

Further and Higher education - University

Over the last decade, the percentage of full-time first degree entrants to Scottish universities from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland increased steadily from 11% in 2003-04 to 14% in 2014-15. [52] There are notable differences, however, between institutions. In 2014-15, the percentage of entrants from the 20% most deprived areas ranged from 5% to 29%, with entrants from the 20% most deprived areas under-represented in all but three institutions [xx] . [52] It is also helpful to look at entrants under the age of 19, as this is the cohort of students most likely to be entering university directly from school. The percentage of full-time first degree entrants aged under 19 from Scotland's 20% most deprived areas was 10% in 2014-15. [52]

In terms of retention rates (percentage of students continuing to their second year), there has been an upward trend for university students from the 20% most deprived areas over the last 5 years (from 84% in 2009-10 to 88% in 2014-15); however retention rates remain lower than for all students (91% in 2014-15). [52]

Modern Apprenticeships

Figure 34 shows that (for all ages) a higher proportion of MA starts in 2015/16 lived in the 20% most deprived areas, compared to the 20% least deprived areas. [58]

Figure 34: Proportion of starts in each SIMD (2012) decile - 2015/16 [58]

Figure 34: Proportion of starts in each SIMD (2012) decile - 2015/16

Source: SDS, Modern Apprenticeship Statistics: Full Year Report 2015/16

Individuals in the most deprived areas who start an MA are also more likely to embark on level 2 frameworks than those in the least deprived areas - this could be due to having fewer qualifications. [58] The MA achievement rate is higher for those in the least deprived areas than for those in the most deprived areas. However the gap between the most and least deprived achieving a MA compares favourably against the gap of school leavers entering positive destinations overall and also the attainment gap at certain SCQF levels.

Health and wellbeing

As is the case for all adults, Figure 35 shows that young adults in the least deprived areas were significantly more likely to report good or very good health compared to those in the most deprived areas in 2015.

Figure 35: Percentage with good/very good self-assessed health by SIMD quintiles, age 16-24, 2012-2015

Figure 35: Percentage with good/very good self-assessed health by SIMD quintiles, age 16-24, 2012-2015 

Source: Scottish Government analysis of Scottish Health Survey 2008-11 to 2012-15, age 16-24

As shown in Figure 36, young adults in the most deprived areas were also significantly more likely to report a limiting longstanding illness than those in the least deprived group.

Figure 36: Percentage with a limiting longstanding illness by SIMD quintiles, 16-24 year olds, 2012-2015

Figure 36:  Percentage with a limiting longstanding illness by SIMD quintiles, 16-24 year olds, 2012-2015

Source: Scottish Government analysis of Scottish Health Survey 2008-11 to 2012-15, age 16-24

NHS Health Scotland found that - for all adults - a poorer state of mental health was associated with greater socioeconomic disadvantage for the majority of indicators. [61] Children and young people (under age 17) living in more deprived areas also generally had poorer mental health outcomes than those living in less deprived areas. [64] Similarly, analysis of SALSUS found that higher levels of deprivation were correlated with poorer mental health and wellbeing in early adolescence. [77] However, the impact of deprivation was not as large as some other factors such as attitudes to school. [77] The HBSC study also found that Scotland had high rates of inequality (between the 20% most affluent and 20% most deprived) for several aspects of wellbeing during early adolescence. [63]

For young adults specifically, Scottish Health Survey data shows that those in the most deprived areas reported lower levels of wellbeing than those in the least deprived areas. [xxi] It is not possible to analyse data on depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide for age 16 to 24 by SIMD due to sample size.

'Risky' health behaviours

While levels of smoking and alcohol consumption among young adults have decreased in recent years, rates of regular smoking are significantly higher amongst young adults living in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas. [xxi] There were no consistent differences in alcohol consumption by deprivation level for young adults. xxi Deprivation is a key predictor of all substance use in early adolescence. [68] Smoking initiation in particular is higher among adolescents from disadvantaged backgrounds: in 2015 10% of 15 years olds in the most deprived SIMD quintile smoked regularly, compared to 5% in the least deprived quintile. [68]

Substance use and sexual risk behaviour share some common underlying determinants that protect young people from, or predispose them to, risky behaviour. There is a growing body of evidence (largely based on US-based studies) that suggests many risk behaviours in youth tend to cluster together, particularly in young people from the most deprived backgrounds. [81] There is also evidence that early initiation of a particular behaviour (e.g. smoking or alcohol use) is associated with other risk-taking behaviours in later adolescence and early adulthood (e.g. sexual risk taking, teenage pregnancy, delinquency). [81] However, understanding of the degree and pattern of risk behaviour clustering is limited. SALSUS data indicates that, for the very small proportion of young people reporting use of multiple substances (2% of 15 year olds and less than 1% of 13 year olds), regular users of tobacco are highly likely to also regularly use illicit drugs and drink alcohol. [68] A similar picture is observed for regular users of illicit drugs; however, the same pattern is not observed for alcohol, likely because drinking alcohol is a normative behaviour in this age group. [68]

Youth offending and crime victimisation

While the number of young people in custody has decreased, young people from the most deprived areas have a higher risk of spending time in custody: the incarceration rate for under 21s was 4.5 per 1000 population for those from the 15% most deprived areas and 1.1 for those from all other areas.

Relationships in early adolescence

HBSC found that those from more deprived areas reported poorer communication with parents, and perceive less social support from their families and peers in early adolescence.[63] Scotland shows particularly high levels of inequality for 'ease of talking to father' at age 15 years. Being bullied varies with family affluence, with lower bullying victimization with increasing affluence. [63]

Teenage pregnancy

Figure 37 shows that the age at which young women have children is strongly patterned by deprivation level. The distribution of first births in the most deprived mothers peaks at age 22; in contrast to those in the least deprived category where the most common age for a first birth is 31. [82] There also remains a strong correlation between deprivation and teenage pregnancy. In the under 20 age group, those living in the most deprived areas are 5 times as likely to experience a pregnancy and nearly 12 times more likely to continue the pregnancy as someone living in the least deprived areas of Scotland. [69]

Figure 37: First birth* by maternal age and SIMD quintile, 2016 [82]

Figure 37: First birth* by maternal age and SIMD quintile, 2016

Source: ISD, Births in Scottish Hospitals Year ending 31 March 2016

* Excludes home births and births at non NHS hospitals.

Ethnicity

The proportion of 16-24 year olds in Scotland reporting they were 'White - Scottish/British' in 2015 was 87%; while 2% were 'White - Polish', 6% 'White - Other', 3% 'Asian' and 2% all other ethnic groups. [83]

Labour market

Poverty is higher among minority ethnic adults than within the majority white population. [84] In general, minority ethnic adults in Scotland appear to be under-represented amongst both employees and the self-employed. [85] Unemployment rates for minority ethnic adults (13.2%) were significantly higher than for white adults (6.9%). [85] Similarly, compared with white young adults, minority ethnic young adults have lower rates of employment (38.1% compared to 57.2% in 2015) and higher inactivity levels (52.7% compared to 33.3% in 2015). [xxii] The Scottish Equal Opportunities Committee found that minority ethnic adults were, on average, more likely to be unemployed or in low-paid work than white adults, despite their overall better academic performance. [86] Clustering in low-paid work is a significant factor in explaining greater in-work poverty among some minority ethnic groups. [85] Although lower qualifications for people in some minority ethnic groups is an important factor in lower pay, research in the UK has shown that lower pay can't be fully explained by a lack of qualifications. [85] A higher proportion of minority ethnic adults in the UK were over-qualified for their jobs than the white majority. [85]

People with good qualifications from minority ethnic groups face greater barriers to finding work that matches their qualifications, compared with the majority white population. [85] Research suggests that, for some young people from minority ethnic groups, including those from migrant and Pakistani communities, a lack of wider contacts outside their immediate family and friends can limit career choices. [87] Further, qualitative research has consistently highlighted the role of racism, whether direct or indirect, in limiting access to employment opportunities. [85]

Educational attainment

Pupils recorded as Asian-Chinese continue to have the highest level of achievement compared to other ethnic groups, while white pupils have one of the lowest levels of achievement (see Table 7). [44] Minority ethnic pupils are also less likely to be excluded than white pupils. [48]

Table 7: Percentage of school leavers by attainment at SCQF level 4 to 6, by ethnicity, 2014/15 [44]


Percentage of school leavers attaining
Ethnicity 1 or more at SCQF level 4 or better 1 or more at SCQF level 5 or better 1 or more at SCQF level 6 or better
White - Scottish 96.3 85.0 59.8
White - non-Scottish 94.7 84.2 58.7
Mixed/multiple ethnic groups 96.5 89.5 68.0
Asian - Indian 98.6 92.1 71.6
Asian - Pakistani 97.9 89.7 71.1
Asian - Chinese 99.4 95.4 88.0
Asian - Other 96.6 90.9 77.7
African/ Black/ Caribbean 98.9 93.8 74.6
All other categories 96.3 85.1 62.1
Not Disclosed/Not known 93.0 81.5 53.2
All Leavers 96.2 85.2 60.2

Source: Scottish Government, Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living, No.6: 2016 Edition

In Scotland, the gap in achievement between 'white - Scottish' pupils living in the most deprived areas of Scotland and their 'white - Scottish' peers in other areas was much larger than for all other ethnicities, except 'Gypsy/Travellers'. [44]

Post-school transitions

The Annual Participation Measure shows that overall the rate of participation in education, training and employment of 16-19 year olds from an ethnic minority background is higher than for those from a non-ethnic minority background. Those from an ethnic minority background were more likely to be participating in education and less likely to be participating in employment. [49]

Table 8: Participation statuses broken down by ethnicity, 2016 [49]

Status Grouping Ethnic minority Non ethnic minority Not Known/ Not Disclosed 16-19 year old Total
Total 16-19 Cohort 9,729 (4.4%) 207,029 (93.0%) 5,822 (2.6%) 222,580
Participating 92.9% 90.3% 89.2% 90.4%
% Participating in Education 84.6% 70.5% 76.3% 71.3%
% Participating in Employment 7.1% 17.6% 10.6% 16.9%
% Training & Other Development 1.3% 2.2% 2.4% 2.1%
Not Participating 2.2% 4.1% 3.8% 4.0%
% Unemployed Seeking 1.4% 2.7% 2.5% 2.7%
% Unemployed Not seeking 0.8% 1.4% 1.4% 1.3%
Status Unconfirmed 4.9% 5.6% 6.9% 5.6%

Source: Skills Development Scotland, Annual Participation Measure

In colleges, 6.2% of FTEs (at all levels) were delivered to minority ethnic students. [52] In universities, 6.6% of Scottish domiciled first degree full-time entrants into year 1 were from a minority ethnic group. [52] Further, JRF suggest that, while ethnic minority groups in the UK are more likely to receive degrees than white groups, there are reasons to think that these degrees are more likely to be perceived as unattractive by employers. [85] Ethnic minority graduates are less likely to attend Russell Group institutions - this is partly because they tend to apply for over-subscribed courses, but disparities remain even when oversubscription is taken into account. Also, while at university, ethnic minority students tend to then underperform compared with their white counterparts, although patterns vary according to institution. [85]

One per cent of age 16-19 and 2% of age 20-24 MA starts reported being from a minority ethnic group, lower than in the general population. [58] However, from the Participation Measure we know that 16-19 year olds from a minority ethnic background are more likely to be participating in education and, as a result, have lower representation in employment than those who are not from a minority ethnic background. [49]

Disability

The proportion of 16-24 year olds who are disabled/have a limiting long term physical or mental health condition was estimated to be 11% in 2015. [83]{Tinson, 2014 #1}

Labour market

Disabled adults have higher poverty rates than the rest of the population. [88] Research has found that disabled adults are more likely to be workless (unemployed or economically inactive) than non-disabled adults - even when other factors such as qualification levels are taken into account. [88] When they are in work, disabled adults are more likely to be low paid than non-disabled adults, and this is the case at every level of qualification. [88]

Compared with all young people, those who are disabled have higher unemployment and lower employment rates as Figures 38 and 39 show.

Figure 38: Youth Employment Rate by Disability

Figure 38: Youth Employment Rate by Disability

Source: Scottish Government analysis of APS data for 16-24 year olds by disability

Figure 39: Youth Unemployment Rate by Disability

Figure 39: Youth Unemployment Rate by Disability

Source: Scottish Government analysis of APS data for 16-24 year olds by disability

Inactivity rates for the young disabled population are substantially higher than those for all young people.

Figure 40: Youth Inactivity Rate by Disability

Figure 40: Youth Inactivity Rate by Disability

Source: Scottish Government analysis of APS data for 16-24 year olds by disability

Broader evidence suggests that disabled adults - especially those with more severe disabilities - struggle to access good quality employment opportunities and experience pay gaps compared to those without disabilities. [41]

Five per cent (4.5%) of 16-19 year olds and 4% of 20-24 year old MA starts self-declared as disabled, somewhat lower than those who are disabled in the general population. [58]

Educational attainment

Young people are identified as having an Additional Support Need ( ASN) if they need additional support for their learning for whatever reason. This can include those who are being bullied, are particularly gifted, have behavioural or learning difficulties, mental health problems, or specific disabilities. School leavers with an ASN have lower attainment compared to those with no ASN, and the gap is wider at higher levels of qualification. [44]

Figure 41: School leaver attainment by ASN (%), 2014/15

Figure 41: School leaver attainment by ASN (%), 2014/15

The exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils, for pupils who have an ASN, is more than 4 times higher than those who have no ASN (69 compared to 16). [48]

Post-school transitions

The rate of participation in education, training and employment for 16 to 19 year olds with a disability is 7.6 percentage points lower than the national average. [49] The majority of those with a disability are participating in education. [49] The Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce found that disabled young people are more likely to be offered a more limited range of education and training opportunities than other young people, despite having similar career aspirations as other young people at age 16. They suggested that a lack of practical support for disabled young people underpins their poor transitions. [41]

Access to college for those with a declared disability has improved, from 15.1% of FTEs (all levels) in 2009/10 to 17.5% in 2014/15. A higher proportion of FTEs at FE level were delivered to college students with a declared disability (19.8%) than at HE level (12.3%). [52] Students with a declared disability have a lower rate of successful completion than average (65.9% compared to an overall rate of 71.3%). [52] Disabled qualifiers from colleges are also more likely to enter further full time study (82.0) or to be unemployed (4.0%) than those with no disability (78.9% and 2.9% respectively). [53]

Eleven per cent of Scottish domiciled first degree full-time entrants into year 1 of university had a declared disability in 2014/15, a small increase (from 8.2%) over the last 5 years. [52]

It is important to note that there are complexities in reporting on participation by disability, and figures are likely to be affected by way the information is collected and the willingness of individuals to identify themselves as disabled. [89]

Young carers

Disability and ill health also have an impact on young people's life chances through caring responsibilities. Unpaid carers are people who provide care and support to family members, other relatives, friends and neighbours. There are an estimated 759,000 unpaid carers aged 16+ in Scotland in 2012/2013 - 17% of the adult population - and an estimated 29,000 young carers (aged 4-15) in Scotland - 4% of the child population. [90] Of those aged 16-24, 9% of young men and 12% of young women said they were carers in 2012/2013. The 2011 Census shows that 3.1% of younger people (aged under 25) living in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland are carers compared with 1.7% of younger people in the least deprived areas. Similarly, 28% of younger carers in the most deprived areas care for 35 or more hours each week; this compares with only 17% of carers in the least deprived areas. [90]

Health and wellbeing

Fewer carers report having "very good" or "good" health, compared with non-carers: 75% of carers compared with 83% of non-carers. The more care someone provides, the less likely they are to report good health. Moreover, 32% of carers reported that caring had a negative impact on their health and 41% of carers said that they had a long-term condition or illness and this rose in line with care hours provided. Just over a fifth (22%) of younger carers (aged under 25) said they had a long-term condition or disability - twice the rate for non-carers (11%). Although there appear to be wellbeing benefits for those caring for up to 4 hours per week, unpaid caring is a significant predictor of poor mental wellbeing and the presence of possible psychiatric disorder. Carers who provide more than 35 hours per week are significantly more likely to have lower mental wellbeing scores and exhibit signs of a possible psychiatric disorder than non-carers and those providing fewer hours of care. Nearly 4% of young carers said that they had a mental health condition compared with just over 1% of people in this age group who were not carers. [90]

Care leavers

Local authorities have a responsibility to provide support to certain vulnerable young people, known as 'looked after children'. A young person may become looked after for a number of reasons, including neglect, abuse, complex disabilities which require specialist care, or involvement in the youth justice system. In addition, local authorities have a statutory duty to prepare young people for leaving care and to provide advice, guidance and assistance for young people who left care ("aftercare") on or after their 16th birthday. There is a duty on local authorities to provide this support up to the age of 19, and to assess any eligible needs up to 25.

In 2016, there were 15,317 children being looked after by local authorities - 1.5% of the 0-17 population. In addition, there were 4,602 young adults (age 16 and over) reported to be eligible for aftercare services in 2016. [91]

Despite considerable investment of resources and effort over recent years, data and research continue to provide evidence of particularly poor outcomes for young people who are 'looked after' or 'care leavers'. It is widely recognised that care leavers are in danger of experiencing long term unemployment or fractured employment routes. Young people leaving care are also overrepresented in the homeless population. [92]

Educational attainment

The school attendance rate is lower for looked after children than all children. [93] However, the attendance rate of looked after children has been increasing steadily since 2009/10 and the gap has reduced. [93] Looked after children are much more likely to be excluded from school than the average pupil (218 cases per 1,000 looked after pupils, compared to 27 per 1,000 in the general school population), but the exclusion rate for looked after children is also falling. [93]

Data on educational attainment is available for looked after young people who left school during 2014/15 (427 young people). [93] Looked after young people tend to have lower levels of educational attainment than those who are not looked after. [93] These differences are, in part, linked to the fact that looked after young people tend to leave school at younger ages. In 2014/15 almost three quarters (73%) of looked after school leavers were aged 16 and under (i.e. they left school at the earliest point they could) compared to just over one quarter (27%) of school leavers more generally. [93] The proportion of leavers who were aged 16 and under has decreased since 2009/10, including among looked after leavers, but discrepancies remain. [93] Looked after school leavers obtain lower qualification levels on average than all school leavers, and the gap increases at higher levels of qualifications. Only 8% of looked after leavers obtained 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 6 or better compared to 60% of all school leavers. However, educational attainment among looked after leavers has improved over the last five years, narrowing the gap. [93]

Post-school transitions

Research underlines that the transition period towards independence is when looked after young people and care leavers are at their most vulnerable. [92] Looked after children are less likely to go on to positive destinations than all school leavers (77% compared to 93%), particularly higher education (4% compared to 39%). [93] The positive destination is also less likely to be sustained after nine months for looked after leavers than for all school leavers. Similarly, there is consistently large drop-off in the proportion of looked after young people sustaining a place in FE. [93]

Of the 4,602 young adults reported to be eligible for aftercare services in 2016, 34% were known to not be receiving aftercare. Half (50%) of those receiving aftercare, for whom current activity is known, were in education, training or employment, a three per cent increase on 2015. [91]

Health and wellbeing

Looked after children and care leavers have historically experienced poorer health than their peers and are less likely to engage with health services, partly as a consequence of disruptive early family lives and sometimes due to being moved frequently when in care. [94] Young women who are care leavers are more likely to experience early pregnancy than those who are not care leavers. [70] A third of (predominantly male) young offenders identified as having been in care at some point in their life. Lack of placement stability, poor educational attainment and negative social or family relationships are identified as some of the reasons for this link. [95]


Contact

Email: Catriona Rooke, catriona.rooke@gov.scot

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG