Scotland offers a wealth of opportunities for graduates. Not only do universities like Queen Margaret’s record some of the highest graduate employment rates in the UK, graduates in Scotland enjoy the highest median graduate salary outside London.
The number of graduate hires and vacancies in Scotland has also increased in recent years. Scotland’s Economic Strategy identified key sectors where Scotland has a comparative advantage:
- Creative industries (including digital)
- Energy (including renewables)
- Financial and business services
- Food and drink
- Life sciences
- Sustainable tourism
Scotland boasts vibrant creative industries from the world’s largest arts festival to gaming phenomena with the Grand Theft Auto series. There are opportunities for graduates across the scale – from architecture to TV and film production, theatre and digital arts.
Energy and renewables
For engineering and energy specialists, Scotland is the heart of the UK’s oil, gas and renewables industry. The oil and gas sector employs over 225,000, with Aberdeen the unofficial capital of oil in Europe.
Low carbon energy is becoming an increasingly important part of the sector. The Scottish government has targeted meeting 100% of the country’s energy demand using renewables by 2020. The country is also home to two of Europe’s largest windfarms, Whitelee and Clyde.
Financial and business services
The financial sector contributes over £8 billion to Scotland’s GDP, utilises a highly skilled workforce and is a major graduate employer. Scotland is Europe’s fourth largest financial hub with a number of leading players present in Edinburgh and Glasgow including RBS, Standard Life, Blackrock and JP Morgan.
Food and drink
Exports of food and drink from Scotland were a record £5.5bn last year. The industry is one of the country’s fastest growing sectors with a variety of graduate opportunities.
Europe is a particularly important market for exported fish, but whisky is a worldwide export with high demand outside the EU, particularly from China and the US. Irn-Bru is the third top selling drink in the UK and probably the world’s favourite hangover cure.
Scotland’s life sciences cluster is the largest centre outside London and Cambridge, and one of the largest in Europe. Supported by both government and private investment, the sector employs over 37,000 people.
Multinational and national companies with a presence include Johnson & Johnson, GSK and Roslin Cells.
The cluster not only employs researchers, scientists, lab specialists and technologists, but also offers opportunities for marketing, business, finance and sales professionals.
The tourism industry is one of the economy’s underpinning sectors attracting millions of visitors from around the world.
Tourism Scotland 2020 sets out the strategy to increase sustainable tourism, conserving the country’s natural landscape and heritage for future generations. Graduate opportunities in this area dovetail with industries such as construction, food and drink, retail, and manufacturing.