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Scotland's engineering facts

KCP Environmental Services. Image shows Company Founder Wendy Pring at KCP's Cumnock HQ.

Engineering sector in Scotland

Latest stats and facts on Scotland's engineering industry. Published February 2020.

Industry profile

Key application markets for Scotland's engineering sector include oil and gas, transportation, aerospace, defence and marine.

Leading firms include

  • engineering companies, such as The Weir Group, SPX Clyde Union and Doosan Babcock
  • aerospace manufacturing and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) companies, such as Rolls-Royce, Spirit AeroSystems, GE Aviation, UTC, Woodward, Teledyne and Vector Aerospace
  • defence companies such as Leonardo MW, Thales, Raytheon and BAE
  • major players in automotive and rail, such as Alexander Dennis, Allied Vehicles and Progress Rail
  • a growing range of world-leading niche players in the space industry, such as Clyde Space and, Spire and Star-Dundee 


Ken Scott looking at a computer screen with a colleague at Alexander Dennis Buses

Scottish engineering stats

15,670 companies

8.8% of Scotland's total companies (2019)

126,000 employment

4.8% of Scotland's total employment (2018)

£8.1bn GVA

5.8% of Scotland's GVA (2017)

£6.4bn exports

19.8% of Scotland's total international exports (2017)

£509m R&D

40.8% of Scotland's BERD (2017)

Engineer from Alexander Dennis Buses at work

Manufacturing excellence

The sector benefits from the local presence of the Advanced Forming Research Centre, which is part of the UK High Value Manufacturing Catapult. It also benefits from links to the various research centres across the country, including the Spirit AeroSystems Aerospace Innovation Centre focusing on large scale composite manufacturing R&D.

Plans are also underway to establish the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland, which is expected to open in 2021, and the now open for
business Lightweight Manufacturing Centre is seen as a first step towards realising this ambition.

The institute is expected to act as a catalyst for the development of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District in the area, which aims to attract ambitious companies both locally and internationally.

The development of the sector is championed through an industry leadership group and trade bodies such as Scottish Engineering, ADS Scotland and the Scottish Maritime Cluster.

Company insight

Engineering* companies surveyed between July and December 2019
Performance last 6 months
  • 67% reported increased turnover
  • 23% reported improved profitability
Expectations next 6 months
  • 60% expect to grow exports
  • 64% expect to add staff

*using technology and engineering as closest available reported proxy

KCP Environmental Services. Image shows Company Founder Wendy Pring at KCP's Cumnock HQ.

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