Inward investment success

Pace of growth outstrips UK and European performance.

A record number of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects were secured in Scotland last year, according to the latest EY Annual Attractiveness Survey.

The country outpaced both the UK and Europe for the second year in a row, maintaining its position as the top performing area of the UK outside of London for the eighth year.

Inward investment projects grew by 3.3% in 2022, compared to 1.4% growth across Europe and a 6.4% fall across the UK.

Scotland’s share of UK FDI projects reached a record high of 13.6% - up from 12.3% the previous year - while a record 19.2% of investors responding to the EY survey said they were planning to establish or expand operations in Scotland, indicating strong investor sentiment.  

Trade Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“These results show Scotland once again outpacing the UK and Europe when it comes to the pace of growth in securing Foreign Direct Investment. This is in spite of the significant challenges in the economy caused by Brexit, Covid and the geopolitical instability which triggered the current the cost of living crisis.

“Attracting inward investment is critical to shaping and growing our economy and ensuring we thrive in the global marketplace. These findings clearly demonstrate Scotland’s attractiveness as an investment destination and highlight the phenomenal progress being made to grow our international reputation as a dynamic, open nation with an outward facing economy. From being at the forefront of the energy transition to the rapidly emerging cutting-edge technology such as in the space sector, there is a tremendous opportunity for us to capitalise even further.

“The results are also a strong endorsement of the “Team Scotland” approach taken by government and our economic development agencies to attracting foreign direct investment. We will continue to deliver the priorities set out in our Inward Investment Plan, aligning with the ambitions of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, to build our global reputation further and help deliver even more high quality, well-paid jobs as part of a fair, green and growing economy.”


The Survey also highlighted:

  • Scotland has three of the top 10 cities for FDI projects outside London (Edinburgh 2nd, Glasgow 4th Aberdeen joint-5th), with the majority of projects involving digital technology alongside utility supply, including renewables.
  • The US (responsible for 40 projects) remains the biggest contributor of Scottish inward investment projects, with continued strong performance across Europe including Germany with 10 projects, the highest contribution in a decade.
  • Scottish manufacturing continued its recent success, with a joint decade-high 35 projects in 2022 matching last year’s project total.

Scottish Development International 22/23 Inward Investment results

Inward Investment Plan

National Strategy for Economic Transformation


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