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Thousands of jobs created by foreign investment in Scotland’s digital industries
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Business & Economy

Thousands of jobs created by foreign investment in Scotland’s digital industries 

Thousands of jobs have been generated in Scotland through foreign direct investment in key sectors including software and IT in the past year, according to new figures.

Statistics from Scottish Development International (SDI) – the international arm of the Scottish Government and Scotland’s enterprise agencies – reveal that more than 7,500 planned real living wage jobs have been created by 113 investment projects in the financial year 2021-22.

Over 90 per cent of the projects are in the nine opportunity areas identified in the Scottish Government’s Inward Investment Plan – which includes energy transition, software and IT, the space sector, health technology and digital business services.

The dominant sectors for inward investment were software and IT and energy transition, which accounted for more than a third of the total number of projects supported in the past financial year.

The news was shared today by business minister Ivan McKee at a global three-day conference for foreign direct investment (FDI), which is being held in Edinburgh for the first time this week.

Mr McKee said: “Inward investors constitute three per cent 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 per cent 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, health-tech 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.”

SDI’s results for 2021-22, which combine inward investment projects supported by SDI, Scottish Enterprise and its sister agencies Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise, found that 39 of the investment projects supported in Scotland were investors locating in the country for the first time.

And of the 7,780 jobs that were created or safeguarded through inward investment, 98 per cent are of the real living wage – an annual salary of at least £19,305 based on a 37.5 hr week.

Adrian Gillespie, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said that the results show that Scotland is an “extremely attractive” place for firms to invest, locate and grow.

He said: “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.”

He said this was in part due to the ‘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”.

He added: “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.”

The Highland region has also benefited from the increase in inward investment.

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, 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, Highlands and Islands Enterprise’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, 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.”

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