Industry Advisory Group for rUK Talent Attraction minutes: December 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group held on 5 December 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • (Chair) Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise
  • Justin Black, Hays Recruitment
  • Craig Clark, Space Scotland
  • Steven Grier, Microsoft
  • Emma Harcus, Scottish Enterprise (guest)
  • Gordon McGuiness, SDS
  • Karen Meechan, ScotlandIS
  • Greig Rooney, Valneva
  • Linda Spence, TalentScotland
  • Ross Tuffee, Iceberg Tech
  • Colin Halpin, Barclays Group
  • Lloyd Vaughan, Nile

SG officials

  •  Lisa Buchan, Lisa Young, Gillian McPhie Skills Talent Attraction and Retention Team
  • Colin Carroll, Team Leader, PAM Citizens Rights
  • Sarah Ormerod, Population Programme Strategic Communications Lead
  • Sam Crawford, Senior Marketing Manager
  • Scott Mcclelland, Policy Manager, Space and Aerospace, Defence and Marine
  • Katrina Wilson-Gowans, First Minister's Office


  • Shona Artale, Q2 Solutions
  • Shona Darroch, Diodes
  • Mark Cowan, Scottish Leather Group
  • Morag Watson, Scottish Renewables

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Welcome extended and apologies noted.

Round table introductions and welcome to new members.

Progress on actions and summary for discussion from previous meetings

Mr McKee invited comment and approval of previous meeting minutes.

Minutes were approved.

Run through of action tracker and progress.

Amendment to tracker to include Internship work and link with Ketty Lawrence, SDS.

Agenda items

Presentation by Sarah Ormerod/Sam Crawford on Population Communications strategy- overview of population strategy, communication aims, awareness building and the four work streams of the population strategy. Statistics on media channel reach provided. It was highlighted that the team work closely with UK Government on the Great Talent campaign.

Discussion around case study work and how members of the group could provide examples of innovation, rural areas being of particular interest. An example was provided around the tidal energy work in Orkney, which was shown on the BBC TV documentary Who Lives in Scotland?’. Sarah and Sam advised they would be happy to co‑deliver at sector specific events. An overview of the GP campaign was provided to give the group an idea of marketing activity, costs and lessons learned so far from that campaign in terms of evaluation of reach. The GP campaign concludes in March 2023 and an update will be provided to the group once full data evaluation has been completed.

Example given of Oonie Pizza Oven company who have scaled up significantly and could be used as an example of scale ups in Scotland.

The importance of clusters in the Tech sector was highlighted and an example of Travel Tech was provided.

Visit Scotland VR 3D immersive experience was highlighted to the group and the fact it addresses the target audience through language, very much a family focus. It showcases Scotland’s attractions.

Discussion around recruitment toolkit and how SMEs could use the toolkit to act as advocates for what we are trying to achieve.

Consideration given to soft migration and how we can target those who live in rUK but work for Scottish based companies.

Breakdown provided on demographics of social media channels- initially an older audience, however this has changed following targeted marketing to attract younger people. Consideration being given to TikTok as this specifically targets a younger age bracket.

Discussion around making use of agency links such as Visit Scotland and utilising the QR codes for marketing. The need to use the platform to target specific age groups and sectors, taking into account the entrepreneurial community.

How do the communication team measure success? Traffic to website, engagement rates and demographics to check we are reaching the correct audience. External evaluation using SMART objectives.

How does Scotland compare, in terms of social media activity/reach, to other countries of a similar size? This is tricky to compare as budgets are often very different- analysis of this will be provided to the group.

Presentation by Justin Black, Hays

Justin provided an update on the statistics he provided at the last meeting. In the last 8 weeks 15% of the application to work in Scotland came from rUK which amounts to approximately 350 applications. The volume of job adverts has dropped significantly due to the current macro-economic position in the UK. Due to the current instability, people are less likely to move jobs. Tech and construction remain buoyant within the sectors. Remote working continues to be prevalent. Justin will advise how many jobs within the rUK 15% were for remote working. It was decided that Justin would provide an update at each meeting to identify and highlight trends in the jobs market.

Discussion around proof points and what is being done in other countries, how can we position ourselves as a country people want to live in and the FOMO element? The group liked the idea of the Unite work stream and what sectors would have the biggest impact linking together- tech, space, manufacturing biggest areas of growth at the moment. Target favourable specific outcomes in. Sam gave an overview of specific campaigns and will share videos as well as the Innovation Strategy.

Net migration remains quite high after Brexit with circa 400-500,000 UK-wide and circa 7-8,000 in Scotland. Discussion around an event in London and there was definitely an appetite for moving elsewhere in rUK from the attendees. Justin advised he would aim to provide nationality statistics at the next meeting.

Discussion around sector contributions to marketing and how the campaigns would benefit them. Budget needs to be used wisely and effectively.

Close of meeting and final remarks - any other business and date of next meeting

Mr McKee thanked our host Craig Clark and members for their contributions. The next meeting will be on 25 January 2023.

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