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Statistics in more details

People working in an officeSummary: Age and Business and Enterprise

  • In 2014, more than 1 in 3 of small to medium-sized enterprise employers in Scotland fell in the 45 to 54 age category (34%). The two next largest categories were the 55 to 64 (22%) and 35 to 44 (19%) age categories.  The proportion in the under 35 and 65 and over age groups were smaller at 11% each.
  • Between 2012 and 2014 the proportion of small to medium-sized enterprise employers in the 55 to 64 age group decreased markedly, and there were also small decreases in the under 35 and 35 to 44 cohorts.  Increases were seen however in the 45 to 54 and 65 and over cohorts.


Source: Small Business Survey 2012, Small Business Survey 2014 (More recent data is currently unavailable. Last updated: March 2015)


  • In 2017, those aged 65 and over made up a small share of all those self-employed (10%). However, those aged 65 and over had the highest self-employment rate compared to other age groups: in 2017, 39.7% of those aged 65 and over in employment were self-employed compared to an overall self-employment rate of 12.3% for Scotland as a whole.

Source: Annual Population Survey results for year to December 2017 (Last updated: May 2018)


  • In 2016, Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) was highest among 18-24 year olds (9.2%) and declined with each increase in age category, so TEA was lowest in the 55-64 category (3.6%).
  • TEA increased between 2015 and 2016 for all age categories except 35-44, where there was a 1.9 percentage point decrease. For 18-24 year olds, TEA increased by 3.7 percentage points between 2015 and 2016.


TEA age

  • TEA was 6.7% for 18-29 year olds in 2014-2016, the highest in the series since 2002-2004, and increased by 0.5 percentage points since 2013-2015 (6.2%).
TEA 18-29

Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, United Kingdom 2016 Monitoring Report (Last updated: May 2018)


Useful Links

Age page

Business and Enterprise Page

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

Regional Employment Patterns in Scotland: Statistics from the Annual Population Survey 2016 (May 2017) Summary publication of results from the Annual Population Survey, presenting analysis on the labour market, education and training. The main publication contains data on age, disability, ethnicity and gender, with further equalities analysis found in the Supplementary Local Authority Tables.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Age Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to age equality.



Scottish Government Survey Data

Annual Population Survey - Annual Population Survey microdata is available (through a ‘special licence’ scheme) from the UK Data Archive

Official Statistics

statistics.gov.scot - Explore, visualise and download over 200 datasets from a range of producers. Start browsing by theme, organisation, or geography. Or access programmatically using our APIs. A range of datasets are available that can be broken down by age group


External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site. The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

External Publications and Outputs

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (University of Strathclyde) An annual report published by the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, on entrepreneurship within Scotland and the UK.

Small Business Survey reports (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) A collection of UK small business survey reports. This includes ethnicity and gender, whilst the surveys for 2012 and 2014 also contain a breakdown for Scotland by age and disability.



Business and Enterprise