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Inward investment drives job creation and economic growth across Scotland

10 May 2022 • 7 minute read

New figures show that thousands of jobs in Scotland have been secured through inward investment over the past financial year.

Scotland’s inclusive, values-driven approach to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) is paying off. At the 2022 World Forum for FDI, Ivan McKee, Scottish Government Business Minister, announced findings which show that inward investment is driving economic growth, as well as creating and protecting jobs across the country.

New figures show that thousands of jobs in Scotland have been secured through inward investment over the past financial year – suggesting a significant boost for the Scottish economy.

Statistics from Scottish Development International (SDI) reveal that more than 7,500 planned real-living-wage jobs have been created by inward investment projects in the 2021/2022 financial year, with almost 40 investors choosing to target Scotland for the first time.

The figures – which combine inward investment projects supported by SDI, Scottish Enterprise and its sister agencies Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise – were announced by Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee at the 2022 World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) this morning.

The World Forum for FDI, held in Edinburgh, will highlight Scotland as a world-leading destination for investment and business location.

Attendees include international site-selectors, industry leaders and policy makers. They will hear about Scotland’s commitment to a values-led, targeted approach to securing inward investment, centring around a fair, sustainable and inclusive low-carbon future.

Learn more about the 2022 World Forum for FDI 

Mr McKee said: “Inward investors constitute 3% of Scotland’s businesses, but they are responsible for over a third of employment and around half of turnover. They also bring wider spillover benefits to the Scottish economy including strengthening local supply chains, increasing productivity, and building expertise. Given the challenges of the past two years, it is encouraging that Scotland has continued its strong performance in attracting Foreign Direct Investment.

“Over 90% of the projects sit within the nine opportunity areas identified in our Inward Investment Plan – which include energy transition, software and IT, the space sector, healthtech and digital business services.

“This reaffirms our evidence-based focus to attracting inward investment, and demonstrates the value of our strategic Team Scotland approach, which mobilises our international network and our Scottish Government overseas hubs.”

Benefits of inward investment in Scotland

SDI’s findings show that Scotland’s approach to attracting inward investment approach is paying off in a significant way. Key figures for the 2021/2022 financial year include:

  • 7,780 jobs created or protected through inward investment
  • 98% of these jobs paying a real living wage (an annual salary of at least £19,305, based on a 37.5-hour week)
  • 113 inward investment projects across the year
  • 39 new investors choosing to locate in Scotland
  • Key sectors for inward investment were software and IT and energy transition
  • More than 90% of these results falling within nine opportunity areas identified in the Scottish Government’s Inward Investment Plan opens in a new window  

Inward investment projects in Scotland

The commitment by Scotland’s enterprise agencies to a values-driven approach has helped attract and support a significant number of inward investment projects over the past year.

For one example, Scotland has shown leadership in tackling climate change and a clear commitment to net zero. As a result, many international companies are choosing to develop their innovative, low-carbon projects here with enterprise agency support. These include:

Scotland’s targeted approach to attracting inward investment opens in a new window (focusing on areas of opportunity where Scotland is a genuine world leader) has also delivered positive results in the past year, including:

  • US clinical research company Q2 Solutions announcing the development of a global centre of excellence in West Lothian, creating 156 skilled jobs over the next three years

Why Scotland's inward investment strategy works

Adrian Gillespie, CEO of Scottish Enterprise, said: “These are exceptional results and show Scotland continues to be an extremely attractive place for firms to invest, locate and grow.

“To secure more than 7,500 planned real living wage jobs is a fantastic achievement. It also underlines the attractiveness of our commitment to a values-led approach to inward investment, focused on our areas of strength.

“Scotland’s incredible workforce, competitive cost base, world-class universities, supportive business environment, natural resources and unparalleled quality of life is what makes global companies want to locate here.

“This is supported by a unique ‘Team Scotland’ partnership, which sees the public sector, including Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise, working together with academia and industry to promote the very best Scotland has to offer.

“Our global reputation as a top location for inward investment is further enhanced by this strong performance. Scottish Enterprise and our partners will continue to bang the drum for Scotland, promoting the very best our country has to offer in priority markets across the world.”

Inward investment success across Scotland

German based APCOA Parking established a new processing centre in Dingwall, its first office in Scotland. creating more than 30 new jobs in customer service, as well as supervisory and managerial positions.

New contracts for Capgemini, meanwhile, have continued to create new jobs in its Highland delivery centres, which now employ more than 800 people providing first line call handling to secure operations centres, and cyber security services.

Martin Johnson, HIE’s director of strategy and regional economy, said: “Investment over the years in communication, infrastructure and connectivity has enhanced the status of the Highlands and Islands as a globally competitive region, attractive to inward investors from around the world.

“Some of the most recent projects we have been involved in clearly demonstrate the region’s increasing appeal as a place to live, work, study and invest, which in turn helps Scotland to attract more foreign direct investment.”

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, added: “These are hugely positive results which are indicative of the fact that Scotland is the ideal environment for foreign businesses not only to set up, but to thrive.

“In the South, we believe that our roots in agriculture, fishing and farming are the perfect foundations to make us the ideal location for international businesses to invest, and our emerging innovative industries like advanced manufacturing and recycling, and natural capital add to this. Going forward, we are sure investors will continue to find our region’s offers appealing.

“Together with our Team Scotland partners, we are committed to ensuring we build on these positive results - using our strengths to continue to promote our country in a way that allows us to create more jobs, contribute to the wellbeing of our local economies and communities, and, ultimately, attract even more appropriate investment.”

Find support and advice on investing in Scotland

With a world-leading workforce, strong performance in sectors with global demand, and access to a robust network of support and collaboration, Scotland is an outstanding choice for investment and business location.

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