Rural Exchange


Many people in the workforce across rural and island Scotland own, manage, or are employed in very small, often micro, businesses, in some cases being involved in more than one business. Accessing training and upskilling may be problematic (due to the time and distances involved in undertaking face-to-face delivery) and there may be few opportunities for career advancement.

The labour market in rural areas is characterised by a significant share of the workforce who are self-employed, and working part-time on a seasonal basis. Jobs and pay may therefore be precarious and volatile. The lack of appropriate and affordable childcare is a major challenge for women (in particular) seeking to enter or re-enter the labour market in rural and island Scotland, while a lack of affordable housing may force some people out of their local rural or island labour markets.

However, although there are important challenges, there are new employment opportunities opening up in many parts of rural and island Scotland including relating to renewable energy, tree planting, peatland restoration and nature-based activities. Scotland has ambitious net zero targets will require an expansion of all of these activities, but we do not yet have an accurate picture of the scale and location of these new opportunities.

Further Reading

More within the Workforce project


Scotland's Earnings

How Scotland's workforce is paid both by gender split and regional differences can be seen within the integrated and interactive mapping and charting report below. Please click on a region...[more]

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