Scotland outperforms the UK and Europe in attracting investment

New research reveals that Scotland strongly outperforms the UK as a whole in attracting foreign direct investment.

Foreign direct investment means a company or institution that’s headquartered outside of Scotland establishing a base of operations in Scotland – creating jobs, economic opportunities, and investment in communities.

According to Ernst & Young’s latest Annual Attractiveness Survey, Scotland has recorded a 14% increase in Foreign Direct Investment projects in 2021 – compared to a 1.8% increase across the UK, and 5.4% across Europe.

Here’s how Scotland punches above its weight as a destination to invest.

Scotland is more attractive to investors than ever before

The latest survey results show that 15.8% of investors now rate Scotland as the UK’s most attractive Foreign Direct Investment location, up 15% from last year.

Scotland has also more than doubled its rating since the pre-pandemic period. Back in 2019, 7% of investors rated Scotland the top destination.

Scottish cities are performing very well

Three Scottish cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – remain in the Top 10 locations outside of London for attracting inward investment projects.

Five cities in Scotland appear in the Top 20 UK cities for investment.

Together with Manchester, Edinburgh is ranked at number one.

Scotland leads the way in high-growth, high-value industries like digital

The leading sector in Scotland, with the most foreign investment projects, is digital technology – ahead of utilities and manufacturing, which has seen a sharp rebound from previous years.

Scotland is experiencing a digital revolution, with digital projects in Scotland rising by a staggering 73.4% – in contrast to a 7% growth in the UK overall, and a 7% decline in Europe.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s space sector continues rocketing ahead – Scotland already manufactures more satellites than any other European country, Scotland is home to the first spaceport in Europe, and the Scottish Government in further infrastructure for satellite launches.

Inward investment is creating jobs and opportunities

In 2021/22, foreign direct investment in Scotland has created or protected over 7,750 jobs – with 98% of these jobs paying a Real Living Wage.

Across the year, 39 new investors chose to locate in Scotland, and more than 90% of the projects fell within the nine opportunity areas prioritised by our Inward Investment Plan.

And while inward investors make for just 3% of Scotland’s businesses, they contribute 63% of business spending on research and development – further powering the innovation that will help to attract even more investment.

Scotland is a dynamic and outward-looking nation – and we have what it takes to thrive with independence

Our ambition is for Scotland to be a leading destination for inward investment that aligns with our values as a nation – and we’re already punching above our weight.

Science and research in Scotland remains cutting-edge. Scotland produces more research papers in the world’s top 1 percent than any other part of the UK.

We have the best-educated population in Europe – with Scotland having a higher proportion of 25-64 year olds with degree-level education than any EU country.

And Scotland has up to 25 per cent of Europe’s tidal power potential, and 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind potential – positioning us to be a world leader in renewables, with the latest huge investment in Scotland’s offshore wind.

Watch this video, narrated by Brian Cox, outlining Scotland’s enormous potential to thrive as an independent country.