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 177,000 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 confectionery and bakery, meat processing or food science technology.

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

To see the routes to getting into each of these sectors, take a look at our Career Pathway.

What kind of companies can I work for?

There are a wide variety of employers including:

What’s the job market like?

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

Scottish food and drink manufacturing, still the largest exporter in the Scottish economy, employs around 47,000 people, 26% of the Scottish manufacturing workforce. To keep up with industry demands, it predicts that 41,900 new recruits are needed in its workforce by 2029. 

38 Scottish businesses are among the first cohort to sign up to The Academy, a new and unique training initiative to help food and drink businesses targeting growth.

Open to food and drink businesses of all sizes and ambition, The Academy, is a series of programmes being delivered by Scotland Food & Drink Partnership and training experts Levercliff Associates to support businesses sell themselves, build their brands, thrive and compete in highly competitive retail and food service markets.

Manufacturing for the space sector is a growing area in Scotland. More small satellites are built in Glasgow than anywhere else in Europe and a fifth of all space jobs are in Scotland. It is thought that the industry could be worth £4 billion by 2030. Scotland's Space sector is thriving with a 31% increase in companies up from 132 to 173.

Two Scottish Space firms, Orbex and Skyrora have secured £8.5 million in funding to boost the production of space technologies.

Facts and figures

Want to find out more?

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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