BT adds £1.2 billion to Scottish economy and supports more than 12,400 Scottish jobs, according to independent report

BT employee, Edinburgh (by Jeff Holmes)

Vital contribution made to economy continues during Covid-19 pandemic 

  • BT Group employs 1 in every 10 employees in IT and communications sector in Scotland
  • Around 12,400 total jobs supported through direct and indirect effects 
  • £167 million annual supply chain spend in Scotland

BT Group, its spend with contractors and suppliers, and the spending power of its employees are responsible for supporting more than 12,400 jobs in Scotland, according to an independent report published today.  

The Economic Impact of BT Group in the UK report, by consultancy firm Hatch, calculates that the communications and technology company generated more than £24 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy during the last financial year, including £1.2 billion in Scotland alone*.

The report estimates that around 12,400 full-time jobs in Scotland are supported by BT Group through direct and indirect effects. The firm also spent £167 million with suppliers based in Scotland, including those in the retail, construction and telecommunications industries.

BT Group has broadband and mobile networks spanning from the Scilly Isles to Shetland, built and maintained by some of the 82,800 direct employees it has in the UK. In the Scotland, the firm directly employs 7,240 people, with a further 205 employed as contractors.

The company is currently modernising its business, including investing in the UK’s largest workplace consolidation and modernisation programme, as it moves from 300 locations to around 30 as part of its Better Workplace programme. The firm has announced plans to refurbish and expand its office in Glasgow as well as confirming plans for offices in Edinburgh and Dundee. More announcements are expected later this year, providing future-fit workplaces of the future for thousands of colleagues.

Last week BT unveiled plans to recruit dozens more apprentices and graduates in Scotland for its September 2021 intake. Meanwhile, Openreach, the digital network business, part of BT Group, announced in December that it would create 275 new full time engineering roles across Scotland this year.

Mark Dames, BT Group head of external affairs Scotland, said: “I’m immensely proud of the contribution our colleagues make in supporting the Scottish economy. At an important time for our country, our spending on people, networks and suppliers provides a vital economic boost. The wider impact of that spending helps to sustain communities and small businesses right across Scotland.  

“In the past year, having good connectivity has become more important than ever as we’ve all had to work, learn and spend more leisure time online. Despite these challenges, our dedicated and determined colleagues have ensured EE’s 5G network has been extended to cover 125 UK towns and cities, including Stirling, Aberdeen and North Lanarkshire, built out Openreach’s full-fibre network to reach 4.1 million UK premises and EE’s 4G network now reaches 85 per cent of the UK. I know these significant investments will help to underpin the country’s economic recovery post-Covid.” 

Employees from across BT Group, which includes Openreach, EE and Plusnet, have played a key role in keeping the country connected during the pandemic. The company has provided critical support to the NHS, SMEs via its Small Business Support Scheme and school children by providing unlimited broadband and mobile data, free and mobile data, free BT Wi-Fi vouchers and zero rating access to two of the most popular online education sites.

BT’s Consumer contact centres now handle 100% of customer calls in the UK, at centres from Dundee to Greenock. Since customer service for BT, EE and Plusnet customers was brought back to the UK and Ireland last year, more than 34 million calls have been handled.

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said: “With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to have an unparalleled impact on our economy, and society, it’s great to see companies like BT continue to invest so significantly in Scotland and its communities. The value and impact of that investment is felt in high quality local jobs, economic growth and cross supply chains the length and breadth of the country.   

“As we look to build a high tech, high skilled and more sustainable economy for the future, companies like BT will be at the heart of delivering the technology and connectivity needed to transform that vision into reality. The last twelve months, perhaps more than any other time, have shown us the value of true connectivity, not just for business and the economy, but for maintaining social connections and aiding mental health.”

Tim Fanning, Director at Hatch, said: “Our analysis underlines how vast BT Group’s contribution is to the UK economy as a whole as well as to individual communities in the nations and regions. Its presence across the country generates significant further activity and investment, supporting many thousands of jobs.”

Summary of results for year 2019/20 – Scotland:

  • 7,240 employees directly working for BT Group, and 205 contractors (Full Time Equivalent – FTE) in Scotland
  • 12,400 total FTE jobs supported (including indirect and induced effects) in Scotland
  • £254 million total income of BT Group employees (including contractors)  
  • £167 million spend with suppliers based in Scotland
  • £1.2 billion total GVA impact associated with BT Group activities (including indirect and induced effects) in Scotland
  • BT Group employed 1 in every 10 in the IT and Communications sector and directly employed 1 in every 220 employees in the private sector across Scotland
  • BT Group directly created £1 in every £170 of GVA in Scotland
  • As a result of the full economic impact of BT Group, the firm supported £1 in every £115 of GVA in the Scottish economy and 1 in every 130 employees working in the Scottish economy 

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