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Combining competitive costs with high quality means that Scotland can be a profitable location for tech companies.

Man with a laptop on a mountain

Scotland is a European hub for technology, with over 1,000 companies choosing to set up here.

The benefits of doing business in Scotland have attracted global companies here. Big companies with operations across Scotland include:

  • Amazon
  • Morgan Stanley
  • JP Morgan
  • Intel
  • Oracle
  • CGI    
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Adobe
  • Coherent
  • Uber
  • Microsoft
  • Xilinx
  • Thales

They recognise that Scotland offers skilled staff, excellent infrastructure, a collaborative environment and the ideal location to service global markets – all at a competitive cost.

Competitive salary costs

Scotland's workforce is well educated, stable and more affordable than many other locations in the UK, US and Europe.

We have the highest concentration of universities in Europe, with five of our 19 universities in the top 200 in the world. In addition, five of our universities were ranked in the top 20 UK universities for computer science. (Source: Guardian League Table)

That means Scotland produces thousands of highly educated graduates each year across a range of subjects – the ideal workforce for your organisation.

Our established hubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and our growing hubs in cities like Dundee, offer significantly lower salary costs than other tech hubs like California and London, but with little difference in quality.

It’s easy to see the benefits of locating in Scotland when you compare the difference in annual salary costs for tech roles in Scotland versus San Francisco and London. Scottish salaries can be around 26% lower than London salaries and 62% lower than San Francisco salaries. For example:

Software development engineer

  • Average salary in Glasgow: £34,878 (45,000USD)
  • Average salary in Edinburgh: £40,303 (52,000USD)
  • Average salary in London: £47,279 (61,000USD)
  • Average salary in San Francisco: £93,008 (120,000USD)

Devops engineer

  • Average salary in Glasgow: £31,778 (41,000USD)
  • Average salary in Edinburgh: £36,428 (47,000USD)
  • Average salary in London: £43,404 (56,000USD)
  • Average salary in San Francisco: £85,258 (110,000USD)

Data analyst

  • Average salary in Glasgow: £29,452 (38,000USD)
  • Average salary in Edinburgh: £29,452(38,000USD)
  • Average salary in London: £31,778 (41,000USD)
  • Average salary in San Francisco: £57,355 (74,000USD)

Labour costs are also significantly lower in Scotland than in other parts of Europe. For example, labour costs in Glasgow are:

  • 20% lower than Dublin
  • 37% lower than Oslo
  • 43% lower than Paris
  • 44% lower than Frankfurt

(Source: fDi Benchmark Tool 2017)

Scotland's indirect social wage costs, such as employer social security, are among the lowest in Europe. For example, the employer social security rate is 13.8% in the UK, compared to 45% in France, 29.9% in Spain and 19.43% in Germany.

At 19% (moving to 17% by 2020), the corporate tax rate is also significantly lower in the UK than in locations like the US (40%), France (33.33%), Germany (29.79%) and Spain (25%). (Source: KPMG Tax Rates Online tool)

In addition to competitive tax rates, Scotland benefits from having some of the most flexible labour market regulations in Europe.

A range of property options

Setting up in Scotland is quick and efficient. Indeed, you can register your company today and start operating almost immediately. We'll be on hand to help you find the right premises, and you'll also benefit from some of the most competitive property costs in Europe.

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow boast lower property costs than cities like London and Dublin. In Glasgow, for example, office rental costs can be up to 75% cheaper than in London and 38% cheaper than in Dublin.

Dundee, home to two of our 19 universities, offers property costs that are up to 90% lower than other major cities. (Source: Financial Times, fDi Benchmark Tool 2017)

Cost of living

Not only does Scotland have competitive staff and property costs, but we also offer a lower cost of living than many other regions in the UK and Europe.

Find out about cost of living in Scotland

Funding for investors

We can help you find a range of funding options to help you make your investment as cost effective as possible.

For example, we helped Coherent Scotland, whose parent company is based in Silicon Valley, access research and development grants, training support, and finance to help to extend their purpose-built research and manufacturing plant at Glasgow’s West of Scotland Science Park.

We also helped Irish company Asystec establish a big data centre of excellence in Scotland with a £150,000 Regional Selective Assistant (RSA) grant. RSA grants are awarded to companies operating in assisted areas in Scotland when they create or safeguard jobs.

And London-based software developer Motortrak was able to develop a new software platform for buying cars in Edinburgh, thanks to our R&D grant support.

Find out about your funding options