Unemployment in Dundee must be tackled by breaking down gender stereotypes that stop jobless men taking on roles traditionally associated with females, says a business leader.
The city’s employment rate is the worst in Scotland and has fallen faster over the past decade than in any other part of the country, official figures published on Wednesday showed.
Jobs are increasingly available as carers and in the hospitality industry, but it is feared older men are not going for them because of the perception they are for women.
Alison Henderson, from Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, said there is a “core of men aged 45+ who are long term unemployed” in the city.
“It’s important to encourage long term unemployed people to consider a sector change, to adapt to the changing local jobs market and learn new skills which make them more likely to work in sectors where we know a workforce will be required, such as care, hospitality, retail and service sector,” she said.
“Many of these sectors are weighted towards women workers and we’re getting the message to men to consider these sectors as good career prospects.”
There were 63,400 people living in Dundee with a job in 2017-18, which is 6.9% lower than 10 years earlier, according to Scottish Government figures published on Wednesday.
The City of Discovery’s employment rate of 63.8% is the worst in the country, compared with Angus (75.7%), Fife (74.3%) and Perth and Kinross (75.4%). Across Scotland the rate is 74.3%.
In Dundee, the proportion of women employed is 63.0% and 64.6% for men in 2017-18.
The latest employment dip was fuelled by the number of Dundee women in work falling by 2,100 between 2016-17 and the following year.
Bill Bowman, the North East MSP for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “These statistics are very disheartening, but not surprising because the SNP seem to have given up on Dundee.
“It is particularly concerning that the level of female employment has fallen given the levels of deprivation in Dundee.”
John Alexander, the leader of Dundee City Council, said: “We know that there are real challenges in the city and that there is much more to do.
“We’ve never shied away from that and continue to work to improve lives in the city.
“Our focus is on key priorities like dealing with poverty and inequality, increasing job opportunities, improving the lives of our young people, addressing health problems and creating strong, safer communities will be what leads to success in future years.”
He added there is “much to be positive about”, including Dundee hosting 750 new jobs in the headquarters of the Scottish Government’s Social Security Agency, multi-million pound developments in the waterfront and new highly-skilled jobs at the port.