Manufacturing Industries

Manufacturing Industries Image

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.

Manufacturing is vital to Scotland’s economy, employing more than 169,000 jobs, over half Scotland’s international exports, and 47% businesses expenditure on research and development.

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 6,700 new recruits will be required between 2021-2031.

Data shows that while the manufacturing industry was affected by the pandemic, it has recovered well. In 2021 food and drink exports in Scotland increased by 12% to £5.9 billion.

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. The Scottish space sector has an industry turnover of £254 million. 18% of all space roles in the UK are filled by Scotland’s 8,440 person talent pool and there are currently over 130 space companies operating in Scotland. 

Scotland’s space sector is rising faster than anywhere else in the UK, aiming to grow in value to £4 billion by 2030.


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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Career Pathway

Manufacturing Industries Career Pathway
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