Talented Workforce

Edinburgh is home to one of the UK's most productive and qualified workforces and is internationally renowned for the quality of its talent base. This talent base, the area's quality of life and its environment are key attractions for employers and their employees.

Edinburgh is an extremely desirable city to live and work in, and as a result a high number of students from the city’s four universities stay after graduation. 

Companies also find that when they speak to their staff about setting up a new operation in Europe the prospect of relocating to Edinburgh is a highly attractive option. This is driven by the city’s unrivalled quality of life and globally recognised cultural offering as well as the excellent education system and family friendly environment.

Edinburgh's workforce is one of the most highly qualified in the UK with 55% of the population holding a degree level qualification or equivalent

Discover more about Edinburgh's inspiring workforce. View the World Class talent section of Edinburgh's Investor Support Pack.

There are around 58,000 students enrolled in higher education in Edinburgh. Scotland is reputed internationally for its education system and high quality university graduates. 

The Inspiring Capital's workforce is also more productive than any other city in the UK, with Gross Value Added per head of £34,500. This is well ahead of the UK average and outstripping that of similar sized cities such as Leeds (£25,000), Birmingham (£19,900) and Sheffield (£19,100).

This talent base, the area's quality of life and its environment are key attractions for employers and their employees. Students also provide a vital rich supply of skilled labour, boosting the area's working age population and knowledge economy.

Labour Supply

Edinburgh benefits from a large metropolitan travel to work area which provides a pool of workers from across Central Scotland. A relatively dense population and sophisticated transport network mean short commuter times and a wide recruitment pool for employers. Within one and a half hours' travel of Edinburgh, the population rises to over 1.6 million.

West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian are key sources of labour, followed by Fife and the Scottish Borders. Other key employment centres include Falkirk and Stirling. Around 25,000 people a day also commute daily from Glasgow. 

Typical travel times from Edinburgh Waverley station include Edinburgh Park (8 mins); Livingston (18 mins); Falkirk (23 mins); Dunbar (25 mins); Dunfermline (31 mins); Stirling (41 mins); Glasgow (49 mins); Kirkcaldy (55 mins) and North Berwick (59 mins).

Edinburgh is probably one of the best places in the UK to be located in terms of talent. That’s in regards to the people already working in Edinburgh, and also the access to some of the best universities in the UK.

Jonathan Meddes, director, Deloitte

Emerging talent

There are more than 270,000 students in higher education institutions and further education colleges across the Central Belt, one of the UK's highest student concentrations. Scotland is famous for its first-class education system and highly qualified graduates and school leavers.

There are around 58,000 full and part-time students enrolled at Edinburgh's four universities: The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University and Queen Margaret University. All four are recognised for their research excellence and ranked among Scotland's top universities alongside the University of St Andrews and the University of Stirling.

In Edinburgh, an impressive 55% of workinge age residents are educated to degree level or equivalent, eclipsing London (50%), Bristol (47%) and Manchester (41%).

China, the United States, France, Ireland and India are the top five countries of origin for international students in Edinburgh.

If you are from a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you will need a visa to live and work in Scotland. There are a wide variety of visas that allow you to live and work or carry out business related activities in Scotland and the rest of the UK. 


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Investor Support Team

City of Edinburgh Council

E: invest@edinburgh.gov.uk

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