2. Business Demographics
In 2018, 10 per cent of SME employers in Scotland first started trading 0 to 5 years previously (i.e. between 2013 and 2018), 18 per cent started trading 6 to 10 years previously, 29 per cent 11 to 20 years previously, and 43 per cent more than 20 years previously.
Of SME employers surveyed, 61 per cent were private limited companies, 17 per cent were sole proprietors, eight per cent were partnerships and six per cent were private companies limited by guarantee (CLGs). Three per cent were charitable incorporated organisations, two per cent were industrial and provident societies and around one per cent each were limited liability partnerships, community benefit societies and unincorporated associations.
Eight per cent of SME employers in Scotland stated that they were registered as charities, higher than the figure in the UK as a whole (five per cent).
In 2018, 63 per cent of SME employers were located within an urban area, while 37 per cent were based within a rural area.
In 2018, 28 per cent of SME employers in Scotland did not have a separate business premises to their home address, down seven percentage points compared to 2017 (35 per cent) and broadly similar to the proportion in the UK as a whole (25 per cent).
Small (15 per cent) and medium-sized (three per cent) firms were less likely than average to be home-based.
Home-based businesses were more common in the Information/Communication (51 per cent) and Primary sectors (51 per cent) and less common in the Transport/Retail/Distribution (21 per cent) and Manufacturing sectors (11 per cent).
In 2018, 73 per cent of SME employers surveyed in Scotland were family-owned, an increase of five percentage points from 2017 (68 per cent) and broadly similar to the figure in the UK as a whole (75 per cent).
Small (65 per cent) and medium-sized businesses (56 per cent) were less likely than average to be family-owned.
Family-owned businesses were more prevalent in the Primary (89 per cent) and Transport/Retail/Distribution sectors (80 per cent), and less prevalent in the Other Services sector (35 per cent).
Women-led businesses are defined as controlled by a single woman or having a management team of which a majority were women.
In 2018, 15 per cent of SME employers in Scotland were women-led, down six percentage points from 2017 (21 per cent) and broadly in line with the proportion in the UK as a whole (17 per cent). Medium-sized businesses (six per cent) were less likely than average to be women-led.
A further 21 per cent of SME employers in Scotland were ‘equally-led’ (24 per cent in the UK as a whole), with an equal number of men and women in the management team. This proportion was broadly in line with the previous year. A further 11 per cent had a minority of women in the management team and 45 per cent were entirely male-led (both broadly in line with the UK as a whole at 10 per cent and 43 per cent respectively).
Minority Ethnic Group (MEG)-led businesses
Minority Ethnic Group (MEG)-led businesses are defined as having a person from an ethnic minority in sole control of the business or having a management team with at least half of its members from an ethnic minority.
Two per cent of SME employers in Scotland were MEG-led in 2018, broadly in line with the prior year (three per cent). The proportion in Scotland in 2018 was lower than that in the UK as a whole, at five per cent.