beta

You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Research Publication

Scottish Social Attitudes 2015: attitudes to discrimination and positive action

Published: 30 Sep 2016
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781786524744

This report explores attitudes to discrimination and positive action in Scotland in relation to: age, disability, gender, race, religion, gender reassignment and sexual orientation.

103 page PDF

1.1MB

103 page PDF

1.1MB

Contents
Scottish Social Attitudes 2015: attitudes to discrimination and positive action
4. Equity and participation in the labour market

103 page PDF

1.1MB

4. Equity and participation in the labour market

This chapter is the first of two exploring discriminatory attitudes in the context of employment. Views in 2015 on whether different groups of people are suited to being a primary school teacher are explored alongside a review of whether these views have changed over time. [15] This chapter also explores the role context plays in relation to discriminatory attitudes by comparing views on whether people would be happy with people who share certain protected characteristics marrying someone in their family (discussed in Chapter 3) with views on the suitability of people who share certain protected characteristics as a primary school teacher.

SSA has included a set of questions about how suitable people in different groups are to being a primary school teacher on four occasions. [16] The question asked respondents 'How well do you think people from the following group would be suited to the job of being a primary school teacher?' with a 5-point answer scale ranging from 'very suitable' to 'very unsuitable'. In 2015, respondents were asked this question in relation to the following groups of people who share certain protected characteristics:

  • Gay men and lesbians
  • A black or Asian person
  • Someone aged 70
  • A Muslim person
  • Someone who has had a sex change operation
  • Someone who from time to time experiences depression, and
  • A Gypsy/Traveller

As highlighted in the 2006 and 2010 reports [17] , the example of a primary school teacher was chosen on the grounds that working with young children may be regarded as a relatively 'sensitive' form of employment and, therefore, potentially more likely to elicit discriminatory views than, for example, a post within the retail sector.

Table 4.1 shows that in 2015, Gypsy/Travellers were viewed as the group least suited to the job of being a primary school teacher, with around a third (34%) viewing them as 'very' or 'fairly unsuitable' for the role. Similar proportions felt that someone aged 70 (31%) and someone who experiences depression (29%) was unsuitable as a primary school teacher. Views on the suitability of someone who has undergone gender reassignment were more positive with just 1 in 5 (20%) feeling they would be unsuitable for the role. Views on lesbian and gay people and a Muslim person's suitability for the role were even more favourable, with only 13% feeling either of these groups would be unsuitable as primary school teachers. The least prejudice was shown towards black and Asian people with only 3% saying that they would be unsuitable as primary school teachers.

Table 4.1: Views on the suitability of different people as a primary school teacher (2015)

Very/ fairly suitable Neither suitable nor unsuitable Very/ fairly unsuitable Can't choose/ Don't know/ Not answered
A Gypsy/ Traveller 36% 26% 34% 4%
Someone aged 70 40% 27% 31% 3%
Someone who from time to time experiences depression 40% 28% 29% 3%
Someone who has undergone gender reassignment 46% 28% 20% 5%
Gay men and lesbians 56% 26% 13% 4%
A Muslim person 55% 26% 13% 5%
A black or Asian person 72% 21% 3% 4%

Base: All respondents who completed the self-complete, weighted=1,232, unweighted=1,234

How attitudes have changed over time

The four groups attracting the highest levels of discriminatory attitudes in relation to their suitability to the job of being a primary school teacher has remained unchanged between 2006 and 2015. These groups are: Gypsy/Travellers, someone aged 70, someone who experiences depression from time to time and someone who has undergone gender reassignment. For each of the groups there has, however, been a significant decrease between 2006 and 2015 in the proportion of people in Scotland who think that they are unsuitable as primary school teachers (see Figure 4.1). For three of these groups, those aged 70, those experiencing depression from time to time and lesbian and gay people, there has been a steady decline over time. For example, between 2002 and 2015, the proportion feeling that lesbian and gay people are unsuitable as a primary school teacher has halved from 27% in 2002 to 13% in 2015.

However, attitudes towards Gypsy/Travellers and someone who has undergone gender reassignment remained unchanged between 2006 and 2010 but there has been a decline in discriminatory views towards these groups being primary school teachers between 2010 and 2015. In 2010 nearly half (46%) felt that Gypsy/Travellers were unsuitable as a primary school teacher, but by 2015 the proportion had decreased by 12 percentage points to around a third (34%). Similarly, whilst in 2010 around 3 in 10 (31%) said that someone who has undergone gender reassignment would be unsuitable as a primary school teacher, this had declined to 2 in 10 (20%) in 2015.

Figure 4.1: Views on who is very/fairly suitable to be a primary school teacher (2006, 2010 & 2015)

Figure 4.1: Views on who is very/fairly suitable to be a primary school teacher (2006, 2010 & 2015)

Base: All respondents who completed the self-complete
SSA 2006: Weighted = 1423, Unweighted = 1437
SSA 2010: Weighted =1350, Unweighted = 1366
SSA 2015: Weighted = 1232, Unweighted=1234

There have consistently been very low levels of discriminatory attitudes towards the suitability of Muslims and black or Asian people as primary school teachers. From 2006 to 2015 between 13% and 15% said that a Muslim person is unsuitable as primary school teacher and between 3% and 6% said the same of a black or Asian person. [18] (See Table A4.1 in Annex A for details).

Different contexts, different attitudes?

SSA 2015 included questions on six groups of people who share certain protected characteristics in relation to both views on someone marrying into your family and suitability as a primary school teacher. What does this tell us about whether views change depending on the context? Are people, for example, more likely to express discriminatory views in the context of personal relationships than they are in an employment context?

For four out of the six groups - someone who has undergone gender reassignment, a Muslim person, lesbian and gay people and a black or Asian person - discriminatory attitudes were more prominent in the context of personal relationships (see Figure 4.2). That is, the proportion of people who said they would be unhappy with someone from these groups marrying or forming a long-term relationship with someone in their family was greater than the proportion that felt they would be unsuitable as a primary school teacher. For example, whereas around 3 in 10 (31%) said that they would be unhappy with a relative marrying someone who has undergone gender reassignment, only 2 in 10 (20%) thought they would be unsuitable as a primary school teacher. Similarly, whilst 20% said they would be unhappy with a Muslim marrying someone in their family, a smaller proportion (13%) said they would be unsuitable as a primary school teacher. This suggests that the closeness of the relationship affects people's views. People appear to be more comfortable with people from a group who share protected characteristics being in a position of trust in a work environment than they would be if they became part of their family.

Figure 4.2: Feelings about different groups forming a long-term relationship with a family member and suitability as a primary school teacher (2015, %)

Figure 4.2: Feelings about different groups forming a long-term relationship with a family member and suitability as a primary school teacher (2015, %)

Base: All respondents who completed the self-complete
Weighted bases=1232, Unweighted bases=1234

However, for two groups - Gypsy/Travellers and someone who experiences depression from time to time - the reverse was true, with a higher proportion of people feeling that they were unsuitable for the job of being a primary school teacher than would be unhappy with a relative marrying someone from that group (see Figure 4.2). For example, around 3 in 10 (29%) felt that someone who experiences depression from time to time would be unsuitable as a primary school teacher compared with around 2 in 10 (19%) who would be unhappy if a relative married of formed a long-term relationship with someone in this group.


Contact