Area Information

Shetland - economic profile

The Shetland area profile uses 2011 Census data and other available data sources to present an up-to-date analysis of its population and labour market.

The analysis looks at: 

  • Population.
  • Labour market.
  • Education and qualifications.
  • Health and wellbeing.
  • Ethnicity and migration.

To help contextualise the 2011 findings, the area profile includes corresponding figures
where available for the Highlands and Islands area, Scotland as a whole and the 2001 Census, to show how Shetland has changed over the last 10 years.

Headline findings 

The headline findings for Shetland are:

  • Total population was 23,167 in 2011, an increase of 5.4 per cent from 2001.
  • A strong employment base and a business base that compares closely with the Highlands and Islands average.
  • Compared with the Highlands and Islands and Scotland, a higher share of employment by industry in agriculture, forestry and fishing, construction, transport and storage, education and health.
  • Compared with the Highlands and Islands and Scotland, a higher share of employment by occupation in skilled trades, caring, leisure and other service, and process, plant and machine operative occupations.
  • Unemployment rates lower than across the Highlands and Islands and Scotland. The annualised Jobseekers
  • Allowance claimant count rate in 2013 was 1.1 per cent in Shetland, 2.4 per cent in Highlands and Islands and 3.7 per cent across Scotland.
  • School attainment and school leaver positive destinations rates (i.e. not into unemployment) above the Highlands and Islands and Scotland rates.
  • A smaller proportion of the adult population with no formal qualifications compared to the Highlands and Islands and Scotland; and a similar profile at higher qualification levels.

Further information on the economy of Shetland is available in our area profile report.



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