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Sector profile

  • Scotland accounts for 9% of all engineering employment and 6% of all engineering establishments in Great Britain.
  • The engineering sector in Scotland employs 94,600 people (about 4% of all Scottish jobs) in 6,090 establishments.
  • 91% of engineering establishments in Scotland employ less than 50 people.
  • The largest sectors in terms of employment are electronics, metal products and mechanical equipment.
  • The SEMTA sector has higher proportions of skilled tradespeople than the rest of the economy, accounting for one third of all SEMTA employees.
  • The weekly-full time wage is £492, 14% higher than the average across Scotland.
  • There are particular concentrations of employment in the marine and electronics sectors when compared to Great Britain.
  • Engineering employment is geographically concentrated around the City of Glasgow, Fife, South Lanarkshire, the City of Aberdeen, North Lanarkshire and West Lothian.

Workforce demographics

  • 95% of the engineering workforce in Scotland is employed on a full-time basis.
  • 81% of the engineering workforce in Scotland is male.
  • 1% of the engineering workforce in Scotland could be classed as non-white (6% for UK engineering).

Recruitment and Skills

  • Over 8,000 people were recruited into the engineering sector in Scotland during March 2006/07, representing 8.7% of total employment.
  • 20% of engineering establishments in Scotland had hard-to-fill vacancies over that period (17% for UK engineering).
  • The main reasons cited for hard-to-fill vacancies were a lack of applicants with required qualifications and skills (60% of engineering establishments in Scotland with hard-to-fill vacancies), a lack of applicants with required working experience (31%), and a general lack of applicants (19%).
  • 22% of engineering establishments in Scotland reported skill gaps, similar to the proportion within the UK (21%).
  • Most skills gaps refer to weaknesses in technical and practical skills (71%), planning and organising skills (53%) and team working skills (48%).
  • 29% of all engineering establishments within Scotland employed apprentices or recognised trainees, more compared to UK engineering (22%) and to other Scottish sectors. This varies quite considerably by size of establishment, ranging from 60% of those establishments employing 250 or more employees to only 11% of those employing less than 10 employees.

The sciences

Scotland has strengths in most aspects of Bioscience, strong research and development groups and a coordinated policy focus through the Scottish Life Sciences Strategy. Cancer research, Cardiovascular research, Neuroscience, Genomics, Proteomics and bioinformatics, Signal transduction biology, Stem cell research and regenerative technology, Virology, and Immunology are key areas of focus in Scotland.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010 and Scotland Engineering Skills Balance Sheet Executive Summary 2008, SEMTA 2006 and Future Skills Scotland SEMTA Scottish Sector Profile 2007