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Investors defy Brexit fears to create more jobs in Scotland

Derek Mackay visiting the Barclays development in Glasgow (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland remains poised to benefit from further inward investment despite Britain’s exit from the EU as it holds on to its status as the most popular UK destination outside London.

More than 10,000 planned jobs were generated by inward investors in 2018/19 – an increase of 18% over the previous year, according to figures from Scottish Development International.

The Scottish Government said the performance backs up the EY Attractiveness Survey published in June that showed Scotland second to London on investors’ list of preferred locations.

Ministers say early indicators show Scotland continues to punch above its weight when it comes to attracting international companies, with firms from North America, Europe and other UK nations setting up in Scotland over the past few months.

Charlie Smith, Derek Mackay and Scott Stewart with a model of the Barclays development (pic: Terry Murden)

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced the SDI figures as he visited Barclays campus now under construction on the south bank of the Clyde in Tradeston, Glasgow.

Barclays is investing more than £400 million in the site in an area which has suffered from a lack of investment for many years.  It will create up to 2,500 additional jobs and become home to twice that figure.

Employees will work in a variety of retail and corporate banking roles with at least 42% of the new jobs in high value positions and at least 341 for disadvantaged workers or those who have a disability. Scottish Enterprise has backed the project with a £12.75m grant.

Mr Mackay said: “Scotland continues to be an attractive destination for inward investment.

“The figures for the last year demonstrate that more investments are being made across Scotland and are testament to our approach to promoting inclusive growth.  The Barclays campus is an excellent example of the high-quality jobs being created through inward investment.

“We will build on this year’s success through our new FDI Growth Plan which we will publish by this summer.”

Key findings from SDI’s results for 2018/19 were:

  • A total of 10,074 jobs were created or safeguarded through FDI
  • Of these jobs, 3,161 are high value jobs, with salaries around 20% higher than the Scottish average
  • 9,489 are jobs paying the real living wage (salaries above £17,061.00 per annum).
  • There were 108 inward investment projects for the year
  • 47 new investors chose to locate in Scotland

The three most predominant sectors for inward investment were: financial and Business Services Energy; Oil and Gas Technology; and advanced engineering.

Alongside Barclays proposals, other notable inward investment successes over the 2018/19 included:

  • Silicon Valley technology and data consultancy Transiris Corporation selected Glasgow for the next stage of its international expansion, creating 26 jobs
  • Funding support for Baker Hughes GE global oil and gas manufacturing campus
  • 150 jobs created by Hunduja Global Solutions in Selkirk 

Attracting FDI to Scotland remains a key commitment for Scottish Enterprise.  As part of its Strategic Framework, Building Scotland’s Future Today,  Scottish Enterprise aims to broaden the pipeline of long-term inward investment jobs (new and existing investors) across regions in Scotland.

So far in 2019/20, SDI has supported significant FDI into Scotland, including:

  • Spire Global, an American company that builds, tests and operates nanosatellites tracking aviation, maritime and weather patterns will significantly expand its Glasgow site after receiving £14.7m in investment, creating 261 jobs over the next five years.
  • VeriCall opened a contact centre in Kirkcaldy following a £1m RSA award, creating 209 living wage jobs over the next two years
  • EedenBull, a Norwegian fintech company, established a technology hub in Edinburgh following a £225,000 RSA award, creating 20 jobs

Charlie Smith, managing director of SDI, said: “Despite growing competition from other countries and the uncertain geo-political climate we find ourselves in, Scotland continues to punch above its weight when it comes to attracting FDI.”

Scott Stewart, Head of Barclays Scotland, said the new Tradeston centre is a big investment and vote of confidence in Glasgow, and builds on Barclays’ long history in Scotland. 

“Once finished, it will create a unique community space in the heart of the city and provide world-class facilities to attract the best talent,” he said.

Scottish Enterprise also has big plans for its GlobalScots – a worldwide network of entrepreneurial and inspirational business leaders, dedicated to supporting Scotland’s most ambitious companies.  Specifically, Scottish Enterprise is looking to increase the current number of GlobalScots from 700 to 2,500.

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