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There are 4,700 process and manufacturing companies in Scotland employing around 62,000 people. The process and manufacturing sector accounts for around 19% of all manufacturing employment and 1.5% of total employment in Scotland.

79% of employers in the sector employ between 1 and 10 people, 17% employ 11-49 people, 6% have 50-199 employees and 1% of companies employ more than 200 people.

Workforce statistics:

  • 83% of the workforce is male.
  • 97% of the workforce is white.
  • 90% of the workforce is employed full-time.
  • The sector workforce is older, on average, than Scotland’s national workforce, with a particular shortfall of employees in the 16-24 age group.

Around 28% of employees fall into the process, plant and machine operatives occupational category, with skilled trades (20%) and managers (20%) being the next largest occupational groups. Forecasts for the sector suggest higher level roles will increase, and this is covered in more detail later in this document. Between 2007 and 2017, an extra 4,000 people will be required by the sector.

The sector in Scotland appears to have weathered the recession better than the sector in the rest of the UK. One third of all businesses have contracted and a similar number have seen the size of their workforce reduced. However, over a third has experienced expansion in the previous 12 months.

Major issues facing companies include a lack of demand for products, a lack of credit and changing customer demands. 16% of companies say that there is a need to increase workforce skills.

The proportion of companies reporting vacancies has fallen to 5%. Two thirds of the workforce is in larger companies, 59% of which report skill gaps. They report that skill gaps have an adverse impact on their businesses. Skill gaps are most prevalent in production and technical jobs.

Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment – Scotland 2010 and The 2009 Employer Survey – Scotland

Sector profile in Scotland, 2007/08


Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment – Scotland 2010, Table 1. Data derived from the Annual Business Inquiry 2007 and the Labour Force Survey 2008.