Career focus: Scotland

first_img Previous Article Next Article Career focus: ScotlandOn 20 Jan 2004 in Personnel Today A region by region look at working in HR in the UK. This month we look atScotland.  Edited by Ross Wigham e-mail:[email protected] in Scotland may be a breath of fresh airWorking life in Scotland is similar to the rest of the UK, with a diversemix of employers, occupations and industries. The recent economic situation hasfollowed a similar pattern to that in England. Since official devolution in 1999, the country has had its own Parliament,based in Edinburgh, as well as its ruling body, the Scottish Executive (SE). Although economic, trade and industrial policies are still controlled byWhitehall, the SE has a £20bn budget and extensive powers in education,training and local government. The Executive aims to ensure long-term sustainable economic growth and tocreate an innovative business environment. It has also implemented a range ofpolicies to drive up skills and increase productivity levels. The Labour Force Survey, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS),suggests that both employment and unemployment were stable throughout the lastquarter. Data from the end of last year shows that the seasonally adjusted employmentrate was 74.2 per cent or 2.4 million people, up by 0.6 per cent compared tothe previous year. According to the figures, the unemployment rate has droppedto 5.8 per cent, also a 0.6 per cent per fall from the same period in 2002.However, it also reported that employee jobs had fallen by around 12,000,although this figure was partly offset by rises in contract workers inconstruction and other industries. Alan Hogarth, a spokesman for CBI Scotland, said the economy was standingfirm, despite pressure and the continuing downturn in some sectors. He said thefinancial sector played a big part in the economy of Scotland, with the RoyalBank of Scotland and HBOS some of the biggest employers based there. The retail sector is also a major employer and there is a large brewingindustry, with the traditional whisky market and large corporate firms such asScottish & Newcastle. Tourism is also a fundamental part of the economy, and it could be set for afurther boost with experts predicting a growth in domestic travel because offears across global terrorism. However, the once strong manufacturing sector continues to suffer job lossesand tight margins, as it has done across the rest of the UK. “The manufacturing sector is still facing challenges. There have been alot of job losses but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Like other partsof the UK, it’s suffered from cheaper labour overseas,” said Hogarth. A large number of the UK’s call centres are also based in Scotland, butHogarth said the quality and expertise of its operators had shielded theindustry from some of the problems suffered elsewhere across the UK. “Thesector is holding up because it has more high-value call centres that are lessvulnerable to offshoring,” he said. Earlier this month, the SE launched a drive to relocate public sector jobsaround Scotland, with many organisations reviewing the current locations. It is hoped that this will offer more opportunities for people livingoutside of the traditional business areas such as Edinburgh and Glasgow. Living in the regionEducation: The education system up tosecondary level in Scotland is independent of the rest of the UK and hasdistinct differences at all levels. The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)awards its Standard Grade (broadly similar to GCSEs) to pupils in their fourthyear of secondary school. After this scholars advance to Highers and thenAdvanced Highers. In tertiary education, there are 14 universities and 46 furthereducation colleges in the country. Around 54 per cent of Scots go on touniversity (not all in Scotland) and they are joined by a large number ofstudents from the rest of the UK and overseas.Transport: A major consultation on the future of transport inScotland has just been completed, but the picture across the country is mixed.According to the Scottish Parliament the number of motor vehicles licensed in2002 was more than 2.3 million, 3 per cent more than the previous year, and isestimated to be about 27 per cent higher than the number in 1992  There were roughly 259,000 new vehicleregistrations in 2002, the highest number ever recorded. The total number ofrail passenger journeys was 62.2 million in 2002-2003, a 5 per cent drop.Scotland also has good rail links with London, via the east coast of England,as well as having several major airports including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeenand Prestwick. Culture/lifestyle: Scotland is the home of some of the UK’smost outstanding areas of natural beauty. Edinburgh is also recognised as oneof the most historical cities with its famous castle and the Royal Mile. Theannual festival is one of the main dates on the European arts calendar whileGlasgow is a huge metropolitan city and former European capital of culture. Housing: Although the market varies massively across thecountry, nationwide research shows that prices have increased by 14 per cent inthe past 12 months. Currently the Edinburgh housing market is particularlybuoyant, while across Scotland as a whole the average price for a detachedhouse is around £135,767, with a semi-detached home costing around £93,739. Theaverage price for a flat is £65,048. Company profileStandard LifeStaff: 8,000Based: EdinburghThe financial services company has been based in the Scottishcapital for more than 178 years and is one of the city’s largest privateemployers. Stephen McCafferty, the HR development director says it’s the bestplace to work in the UK.”It offers a really good lifestyle and that means peoplewant to stay,” he said. “It’s also a very cosmopolitan city. There’sa lot of history and culture to Edinburgh with the famous castle and the annualfestival. I also think people generally have a bit more time for you up here.”After working in various parts of the UK, McCafferty saysScotland is the ideal location for business and a great place to start a careerin human resources.”I spent four years in the South East and theinfrastructure here in Scotland is just as good. I’d definitely recommend acareer in HR here. Because the city is smaller than others and is activelylived in, unlike the square mile in London, there is more of a community feelingat work.”We have a good atmosphere. People want to work here andthat helps our staff retention,” he explained.During the last few years McCafferty has noticed more peopleopting out of the London rat-race to work in Scotland.”It seems we do have people who are getting sick of thelifestyle in London and other places and are moving up to Scotland,” hesaid.Move here for…LifestyleCompletely different from the rest of the UKHeritage and cultureSome of the UK’s most famous tourist spotsThe fresh airThe rugged countryside is famous the world over But beware of…The food Haggis and deep fried Mars bars may not be your idea ofculinary delightsFrostbiteYou may encounter some problems moving to a colder climateBeing EnglishThe rivalries between the two nations still run deepHR contacts and local informationCIPD South East Scotland branch, [email protected] West of Scotland branch, [email protected] Mid Scotland branch, [email protected] North of Scotland and Islands branch, [email protected] Comments are closed. 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