Insight
Invest in Scotland

Foreign investors continue to choose Scotland

The latest EY Attractiveness Survey confirms Scotland's position as the UK's leading destination for foreign direct investment outside London.

A record-breaking year for FDI projects in Scotland

EY Attractiveness Survey 2017 shows Scotland remains a prime location for international companies considering overseas expansion.

A record-breaking year for inward investment projects has established Scotland as the UK's second-placed destination for FDI projects.

The EY Attractiveness Survey 2017 found that Scotland attracted 122 foreign direct investment projects in 2016, up from 119 in 2015.

For the fifth year in a row, Scotland was the second most attractive destination behind London for inward investment projects.

Marking Scotland's impressive performance, the report states:

"Scotland’s attractions are still shining out brightly in an uncertain world.

"Having ranked as the UK’s second most successful FDI destination in terms of projects secured for each of the past five years, Scotland can justifiably claim to be established as second only to London in terms UK FDI. Again, this bodes well for the future flow of FDI into Scotland."

FDI in Scotland

Investment across Scotland

With more than one in every 50 projects investing in Europe choosing Scotland, three of our cities - Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen - are in the UK's top ten.

Scotland's long tradition of innovation continues with 21 R&D projects secured in 2016.

With a 42% increase in FDI projects, global business services was the top sector for attracting investment and now accounts for 14% of all FDI projects in Scotland.

Investment in major energy projects helped construction become the second-placed sector, with the software sector rounding out the top three.

In 2016 global business services company Genpact decided to expand its European operations in Scotland, with plans to create more than 300 jobs in Glasgow over the next five years.

Glasgow was also the location of choice for Irish software company Farmflo which opened a dedicated R&D centre to explore emerging opportunities around the Internet of Things (IoT).

Dan O'Donoghue, Farmflo's CEO, said:

"The establishment of our dedicated software development centre in Scotland is an exciting venture that allows Farmflo to tap into an excellent resource of locally-based talent."

Farmflo invest in Scotland

FDI in Scotland

Global reach

And Scotland's global connections continue to impress, with investment coming from all over the world.

The top five countries for FDI projects were:

  • United States - 35%
  • France - 14%
  • Germany - 6%
  • Ireland - 5%
  • China - 4%

Scotland secured 16% of all French projects in the UK while 80% of Chinese projects were first time investments in the country.

Read the EY Attractiveness Survey 2017 (PDF, 1.6MB)

A record year - in 2016 Scotland attracted 122 FDI projects up from the previous best of 119 in 2015.

Investing in Scotland

From California to Edinburgh

New investment in their Scottish R&D capability will help Xilinx stay at the forefront of 5G technology.

Xilinx invest in Scotland

Inward investment in Scotland

From Sydney to Glasgow

Investing in Scotland's fintech sector was a natural progression when Australia's Encompass was ready for expansion.

Encompass invest in Scotland

Farmflo invest in Scotland

From Ireland to Glasgow

Why software company Farmflo chose to invest in Scotland to help it make the most of opportunities in the Internet of Things.

Farmflo invest in Scotland

Supporting your investment Scotland

If you're considering Scotland for your next investment, we're here to help.

Companies investing in Scotland are seizing the opportunity to make the most of everything we can offer.

From our excellent quality of life to relatively lower operating costs and access to a highly educated, stable workforce it makes sense to grow your business in Scotland.

And we're here to help.

A range of support

We offer a range of support for your FDI project in Scotland.

That could mean helping you find the right financial assistance package or helping you to build new connections and find the right staff.

It could mean that your project benefits from discounted business rates or enhanced capital allowances in one of our designated Enterprise Areas, or providing R&D funding to make sure your company retains its competitive age.

And, working with Scotland's enterprise agencies, we can offer long term support to ensure your business continues to grow and makes the most of everything Scotland has to offer.

Join the companies making it big in Scotland

But don't just take our word for it.

Wayne Johnson, co-founder of Australian fintech firm Encompass, says:

"The overwhelming support by Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Investment Bank has enabled Encompass to speed up its expansion and support the company’s growth in Glasgow."

And Scott Stewart, head of Scotland for Barclays, adds:

"In Scotland, we have access to high quality real estate, world-class airport links and a renowned educational system, which is vital to us. Also fundamental to our strategy is support from and accessibility to the Scottish Government and key business support agencies."

It makes sense to join companies like Encompass and Barclays in Scotland - and we can help.

Support for your investment in Scotland

The EY Survey results mirror the Corero experience in Scotland: our Edinburgh centre has better access to and retention of skilled recruits at 30% lower cost per head than in Boston.

Andrew Lloyd Corero president and GlobalScot

"Scotland is firmly established as a location of choice for global investors"

"Frequently this investment is built around the skills of Scotland’s workforce and the quality of our research and innovation, and 2016 was another strong year for Scotland in attracting R&D inward investment, with 21 individual projects, the second highest number to date. This type of investment plays an important role in supporting greater innovation and higher productivity in Scotland’s economy and builds on the strengths of Scotland’s universities."

Our managing director, Paul Lewis, welcomes the results of the EY Attractiveness Survey.

Read more from Paul on The Scotsman website



Scotland has secured the UK’s second-highest number of projects in every one of the past five years. This is a clear indication that Scotland is now firmly established as the second-placed destination behind London for FDI projects coming into the UK.

EY Attractiveness Survey 2017

Brilliantly connected for business and life

We know that there's a lot to consider when choosing the right place to grow your company.

Companies investing in Scotland are attracted by our skilled workforce, our universities, our well connected transport infrastructure, affordable staffing costs and the chance to work with experienced supply chains across a wide range of sectors.

But we know that there's more to life in Scotland than work.

In fact, in 2016, an EU index comparing all Europe's regions found that Scotland has the best quality of life in the UK.

That index measured factors such as health, safety, tolerance, access to education and personal rights across 37 regions.

A great place to live and work

Even then, it doesn't tell the whole story about what Scotland has to offer.

From hauntingly beautiful scenery to a rich and fascinating history, from modern, cosmopolitan cities to outdoor adventures within easy reach, Scotland has it all.

As Mike Polson of international law firm Ashurst, says:

"Within half an hour you can be away from the demands of the office and feel very, very away."

It's little wonder that Scotland has inspired so many artists and writers over the years, from Robert Burns to JK Rowling.

Culture continues to be important today and every year we welcome the world to the Edinburgh Festivals, a unique celebration of the arts.

But there's fun to be had throughout the year. Nigel Chadwick of Stream Technologies says:

"I'll go out with the crew for a few beers. Glasgow has some very good places for a night out."

The right choice for your investment

Competitive salaries, affordable living costs and iconic cultural events and sporting opportunities on your doorstep.

It's little wonder Scotland continues to perform so well in the EY Attractiveness Survey, attracting record numbers of FDI projects in 2016.

Your staff will love life in Scotland. And that can only be good news for your business.

There is tremendous potential in Scotland because of the level of skills available. Its education system produces a remarkable number of skilled people, and currently those skills are relatively affordable to the US market.

Allan Rooney Rooney Nimmo

Investment opportunities in Scotland – they’re here for the taking

So why is it worth your business investing in Scotland?

For a smaller country, Scotland thinks big on FDI. In 2016, Scotland secured 122 FDI projects - up from 119 in 2015. That means Scotland has been the highest ranked destination outside London for foreign direct investment for the last five years.

The sheer number and diversity of overseas industries in Scotland is generating a hotbed of commercial prospects for businesses.

And companies investing in Scotland can be confident that we'll be here to support your project every step of the way.

Ready to join the companies calling Scotland home?

Get in touch