Manufacturing Industries

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If you have good practical skills, an eye for detail, or enjoy working with tools or machinery, then you may well consider a career in manufacturing.

Scotland’s manufacturing industry is diverse and specialises in the areas of food, computer, electronic and optical products, chemicals and chemical products.

The manufacturing industry in Scotland employs some 179,000 people, about 6.6% of the Scottish workforce.

What areas can I work in?

Manufacturing involves many products from chemicals to computers, with many jobs on production lines and packing work. Clothing and textile jobs range from machine operation to production management and includes design-related and technical posts. In food and drink, you could be working in confectionary and bakery, meat processing or food science technology.

There is also work within engineering, chemicals and furniture manufacture, not to mention the printing industry.

What kind of companies can I work for?

There are a wide variety of employers including:

What’s the job market like?

Technological advances in manufacturing means that there is always a demand for highly skilled staff. Manufacturing accounts for 52% of Scottish exports and 54% of expenditure on research and development.

Scottish Food and drink manufacturing, still the biggest exporter in the Scottish economy, is a large contributor to the Scottish workforce, currently employing 114,700 people. However, it predicts that 19,000 new recruits are needed in the sector by 2024 to meet its requirements.

A high number of food and drink manufacturers are based in Glasgow, Aberdeenshire, Moray, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire.

Many Scottish firms produce some high quality products, particularly for export, like whisky, seafood, Scotch beef, cashmere and other luxury textiles, still providing a significant number of jobs in Scotland.

The printing industry continues to do well, despite the continued growth of electronic media. Most companies are small businesses, usually specialising in a particular type of printing.

Facts and figures

Want to find out more?

You can find out more about careers in textile manufacturing by visiting the Creative Skillset website.

Tasty Careers, hosted by the National Skills Academy, is a great resource for careers in the food and drink manufacturing industry


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