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TalentScotland research findings


TalentScotland is a joint project involving the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise (SE), Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Development International. It aims to promote Scotland as an outstanding place to live and work for talented professionals, and as a great choice for academic study. This report outlines the results of a survey of employers, focusing on their current and future skill needs in the areas of enabling technologies, advanced ICT and digital media. A key aim of the survey is to populate the recently updated TalentScotland website with more up-to-date information to more accurately reflect changes in job opportunities and skill needs associated with the progress of electronic technologies and digital media. The results will also enable TalentScotland to focus delivery of its services more closely on the needs of Scottish employers and help them to compete more effectively for the specific skills they have difficulty recruiting.


The research consisted of three stages: desk research, a quantitative survey of employers in the relevant sectors and qualitative interviews.


In terms of business activity, there is a large degree of overlap between the sectors of interest to TalentScotland. The terms used by respondents to describe their business sector vary widely; some respondents identify with the sector they sell to rather than their business activity. It can, therefore, be difficult to position businesses in specific business sectors, which provides TalentScotland with a challenge in targeting specific communications at specific sectors. Companies use a range of approaches to recruitment, key among these is the use of recruitment agencies, the use of which increases with company size. The skill areas identified as priorities by respondents are: mechanical engineering; software development; web development and support; and general business or commercial areas – sales. These are also the top areas in which respondents felt they would need new or additional skills in the next 2/3 years. The data shows that many respondents in the electronics or advanced engineering and advanced ICT sectors have difficulties recruiting specific skills of relevance to their business, with many of these respondents expecting to have these same difficulties in the next 2/3 years. Key barriers to recruitment are a small talent pool, a lack of people with experience or a lack of people with the relevant skills. Key reasons for hard to fill vacancies, across sector areas, were identified as applicants not being of sufficient quality; and having few/no applicants for specific posts. A degree of correlation of recognition and use of the TalentScotland website with experience of hard to fill vacancies is indicated. However, companies with locations outwith the UK were more likely to have used the website than companies solely located within Scotland and the UK.


The findings suggest that a focus on skill need rather than need within sectors may be more helpful and creating greater awareness of the benefits presented in relation to hard to fill vacancies could increase use of the TalentScotland resource. The findings also indicate a need for TalentScotland to promote the website and associated benefits more to companies who do not have an international presence.

Author George Street Research; Frontline Consultants
Published Year 2011
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies
  • Internationalisation
    People/talent attraction
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Skills Development