Jobs boost for a third of medium and large Scottish firms despite uncertainty

Iain Young, Partner and Head of the Corporate Growth team at Morton Fraser
Iain Young, Partner and Head of the Corporate Growth team at Morton Fraser

Scotland’s larger businesses could help to stave off the impact of Brexit on employment, according to new research commissioned by Morton Fraser. More than one in three (38%) medium-sized and large businesses in Scotland say they have earmarked investment funds secured in the last 12 months to take on new staff.

The independent Scottish law firm says larger businesses in Scotland secured an average of £1.4 million in financial investment in the last twelve months, with technological innovation, new equipment and skills development the most popular uses for the money.

However, Morton Fraser’s research also shows a clear push to use investment funds to hire new people. Medium-sized companies are most likely to seek out new staff, with 39% intending to do so. Large companies with a headcount of 250 or more are most likely to invest in skills development, with 56% committing to doing so.

Iain Young, Partner and Head of the Corporate Growth team at Morton Fraser, said: “While business confidence is laced with uncertainty at the moment, there is still a clear appetite in Scotland’s mid-market to plan for the future.

“New hires could well be linked to fresh technological developments, new product lines or the introduction of new services. Despite short term confidence naturally ebbing away, businesses are sending a signal that they have a longer-term plan.”

Morton Fraser’s research reveals that Scotland’s largest firms are most likely to invest in new technology, with two in three (66%) having earmarked funds to do so. While large companies account for just 0.7% of the total number in Scotland, they employ 45% of the Scottish workforce.**

Large firms are more likely to invest in new equipment (62%), while medium sized businesses are looking to skills development (50%) to drive growth. A notable 44% of large businesses are looking to invest in product research and development, while a quarter (24%) aim to enter new markets by using some of their investment funds in the year ahead.

Iain Young said: “Scotland’s larger, more established businesses have put their money on modernisation. From technological innovations to skills development and new equipment, they are sending a clear signal that investing in the future is the best route to securing growth in uncertain times.”

Medium and large businesses together account for 58% of all employment in Scotland despite only representing two per cent of the total volume of businesses in the country**. According to Morton Fraser, larger firms could well dictate how the Scottish economy performs in the next 12 months.

Iain Young added: “Skilled workers are a necessary requirement for companies across a range of sectors in Scotland from cloud computing to coding, technology to engineering, finance and food, so providing skilled work opportunities and quality employment to such a significant proportion of Scotland’s workforce can only be seen as a good thing.”

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