Scottish Business Pledge – Statistical Overview September 2019

This statistical overview represents figures prior to the Scottish Business Pledge relaunch on 10 October 2019. Under the refresh there are three core elements – paying the real living wage, action to address gender pay gap and no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts. A new environmental impact element has also been introduced. In addition to the three core elements, businesses have the option of selecting any 5 of the remaining 7 elements which best suit their sector.

The next statistical overview due in March 2020 will show figures for the period after the relaunch and will reflect the new criteria and structure.

Pledge Elements

As at 30 September 2019, 698 businesses had signed up to the Business Pledge – representing 0.4% of the Scotland’s registered business base. The table below shows the number and share of businesses signing up to each of the nine pledge elements.

Pledge Element Businesses % Share
Not using exploitative zero hours contracts 698 100%
Paying the living wage 698 100%
Playing an active role in the community 598 85.7%
Committing to an innovation program 594 85.1%
Committing to prompt payment 590 84.5%
Investing in Youth 563 80.7%
Pursuing international business opportunities 532 76.2%
Supporting progressive workforce engagement 546 78.2%
Making progress on diversity and gender balance 255 36.5%

As shown in the chart below, 113 businesses (16.2%) are already fulfilling all nine elements with the remaining 585 businesses working towards this. Note that overall, 627 business (89.8%) are already fulfilling at least six of the nine elements.

Businesses signing up to the Pledge

To find out more about the signatory businesses, we have matched the 698 signatory businesses to the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). The IDBR is a database of all businesses that are VAT and/or PAYE registered. It was possible to match 619 of the 698 signatory businesses to the IDBR extract from March 2019. An IDBR match could not be found for 79 of the 698 businesses – the main reason for non-match was that the signatory business was relatively new and therefore not on the register yet.

Analysis of the 619 signatory businesses that could be matched to IDBR shows that:

The majority (65.4%) of signatory businesses were small, employing less than 50 people. However, as small firms make up 96.3% of firms within the Scottish economy, proportionately more medium and large firms had signed up to the Pledge than these firms' share of the Scottish business base.1
The signatory businesses collectively provide 125,475 jobs, 5.0% of all jobs in Scotland.
Nearly half (47.5%) of all signatory businesses operated in two broad sectors: 'Professional, scientific and technical activities' (30.0%) and 'Information and communication' (17.4%); whereas in the overall economy, these sectors make up 17.7% and 6.0% of firms respectively.
The pledge businesses have a total of 1,635 business sites (offices, shops, factories, etc.) across Scotland: over one third of these are situated in Glasgow City (19.3%) and City of Edinburgh (17.7%).

1Medium firms account for 18.9% of pledge signatories and large firms account for 15.7%; these firms respectively account for 2.2% and 1.4% of the Scottish business base overall.