Expanding Scotland’s talent pool

Attracting skilled workers from the rest of the UK.

Industries such as life sciences, renewables, and the space sector will be the focus of a new programme to attract a more skilled workforce to Scotland.

As part of a priority action in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation to meet skills gaps so employers can take advantage of business opportunities, Business Minister Ivan McKee has chaired the first meeting of the Industry Advisory Group for rUK Talent Attraction.

The Group will help inform a programme to recruit and retain workers from the rest of the UK. This also supports a Programme for Government commitment to develop a Talent Attraction and Migration Service to bring in skilled workers and help them to make Scotland their home.

Mr McKee said:

“Scotland needs to attract more working age people to meet the needs of key sectors, to raise competitiveness and to ensure the workforce continues to be a positive factor in inward investment.

“This Industry Advisory Group will explore how best to shape a talent attraction programme which can expand Scotland’s talent pool at all levels, to give employers the skills pipeline needed to take advantage of opportunities, and ultimately benefit our economy.

“To become a competitive career destination, Scotland must match the efforts of other countries with similar challenges and ensure that we offer a high quality service of co-ordinated support to attract and retain workers and their families.”

Director of Industry and Enterprise at Skills Development Scotland Gordon McGuinness said:

“An inclusive, resilient and skilled talent pool is central to Scotland meeting its economic ambitions, and SDS is committed to working with businesses so they can develop the workforce required to drive innovation, entrepreneurial thinking and productivity.

“The needs of business must lie at the heart of this approach. This new group will make an important contribution to enhancing partnership working and creating a talent attraction programme that strengthens and complements the existing skills support available through SDS and its partners.”

Head of Global Networks at Scottish Enterprise Julie Morrison said:

“As global competition for talent continues to intensify, it is more important than ever that Scotland continues to attract and retain a highly skilled talent pool that augments our country’s existing world-class workforce and ensures our ambitious businesses continue to innovate and grow.

“Building on our TalentScotland platform, Scottish Enterprise will mobilise our international networks to encourage more talent to become part of Scotland’s thriving entrepreneurial community.”


The Industry Advisory Group will initially focus on ‘high value’ sectors, and occupations within those sectors, as a sub-set of the wider Population Strategy, to increase inward investment, stimulating economic growth and making Scotland a more attractive proposition for anyone to move here.

Priority growth sectors which will create jobs and bring overall benefits to Scotland’s regions and wider economy include life sciences, technology/fintech, advanced manufacturing – mechanical and electronics, financial services, space, and renewables.

Other sectors of the economy which are proactively seeking to attract talent are already supported by a range of activity across Scottish Government and the wider public sector, including actions within the Population Strategy and the NHS talent attraction campaign.


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