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Scotland can offer access to academic institutions, a talented workforce, and a culture of innovation


Successful businesses thrive upon access to talented people, and businesses based in Scotland are closely connected to a skilled, well educated workforce.

Scotland has a strong commitment to education, with over 50 per cent of the working population possessing further achievement attainment. As well as this, Scotland has a rich culture of research and innovation, ranking third in the world for the number of research publications published per head of the population.

Additionally, the Scottish government is fully behind the country’s educational establishments. It recognises that an educated workforce is essential to future economic prosperity. As a result, students from Scotland or the rest of the EU (excluding the rest of the UK) are entitled to have their tuition fees paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.

It's no wonder that companies come here to connect with our talented and skilled workforce, such as Encompass, who were impressed with Glasgow's graduates, and Sensee who embraced Scotland's capabilities for homeworking.

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Scotland's connected to academia

Scotland has 17 universities, with four routinely featuring highly in global league tables, and produces thousands of highly qualified graduates every year.

  • Scottish law schools producing almost 4,000 graduates per year.
  • There are approximately 5,000 graduates in disciplines with a specific ICT focus
  • Approximately 12,570 individuals in Scotland are studying for degree level or above qualifications in languages in any given year, in either full or part time study

As well as producing talented graduates, our universities are also helping businesses to get off the ground. The University of Edinburgh's commercialisation department – Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) has helped more than 180 new start up companies in the area in the last five years, with 44 new companies supported in the last year.

Head of company formation at ERI, Grant Wheeler, said: 

“Edinburgh is now emerging as the largest technology hub outside London, and at the heart of that phenomenon is the University and its enterprise scene. Whether it’s from the world class research base or from student entrepreneurs, we're seeing new companies being formed here and in record numbers.”

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Scotland's connected to financial services

Financial services businesses can access Scotland's skilled workforce and our strong connections to the financial services industry, with over 86,000 people currently employed in the sector and a further 140,000 employed in business services.

Scotland also boasts a healthy fintech sector, with companies such as JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Wealth, HSBC, RBS calling Scotland home.

  • Scotland has a highly relevant, globally significant base in Computing Science including 790 academic and researchers and over 750 PhD students
  • Scotland, after London, turns out the most fintech related graduates in the UK
  • Of Scotland’s annual pool of 97,000 graduates, 12 per cent graduate from financial technology related courses

Chris Zwicker, Managing Director of Avaloq Innovation said:

“When we originally set out our plans to build an R&D centre to complement our development teams in Zurich, we knew we needed a location that was at the heart of the financial industry while also being a hub for current and upcoming talent in the technology field. Edinburgh was the ideal choice and our success has completely validated this decision, which is why we are continuing to invest in the Scottish capital.”

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Scotland's connected to technology

Scotland has a well educated and trained digital workforce. Of the 97,000 plus graduates Scotland produces each year, approximately 5,000 have studied disciplines with a specific software focus, ensuring a regular new influx of fresh ideas to drive innovation and challenge existing methods. 

In addition, the technology hub in Edinburgh has supported a boom in new innovative start up businesses to create a collaborative, connected environment.

Craig Findlay, CFO of Money Dashboard said:

“There’s a hub effect in Edinburgh, with lots of technology companies all working alongside each other. There have been some real successes – and the city draws some of the top people from around the world.”

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