In-work poverty

The nature of poverty, social protection and work in Scotland is going through a period of unprecedented change. There are many complex factors interacting within this changing dynamic, which includes the emergence of in-work poverty. 

In 2012/13, in-work poverty accounted for more than half (52%) of all working age poverty in Scotland – an increase of 50,000 working age adults, compared with the previous year, and a continuing, slow upward trend.  During the same period, 6-in-10 children in poverty in Scotland were living in a working household. 

The drivers behind the rise of in-work poverty are complex and are linked to wider global economic changes, the economic recession, a shift towards a service-sector economy and the changing nature of work, which is increasingly characterised as being short-term, part-time and insecure for significant sections of the adult workforce. 

Although not a new phenomenon, there has been limited focus on understanding the impact of the changing nature of work and the rise of in-work poverty on health and wellbeing.  Therefore, against this backdrop, the GCPH has been progressing new areas of work to increase our understanding of the wider workforce challenges and opportunities within this changing environment.

Read our report on the rise of in-work poverty.