Edinburgh has one of the UK's most productive and highly qualified workforces, which, when coupled with the city’s exceptional quality of life and globally renowned cultural offer, make Scotland’s capital appealing to employers and employees alike.

A Talented Workforce Jan 2019

International workforce

In 2018, Edinburgh had one of the most economically active populations of any UK city, with 75.6% of residents (aged 16 to 64 years) in employment. Nearly half of those who were not (42%) were registered as students.

Edinburgh’s diverse talent pool reflects its international appeal as an inspiring city in which to live, as well as its thriving student population of nearly 80,000 people enrolled in further and higher education. 

Edinburgh attracts talent from all over the world, drawn to the city by a critical mass of rewarding career opportunities generated by a thriving, diverse regional economy, a renowned quality of life and a cultural offer that is second to none. 

According to a 2018 study, Edinburgh was named the best city to live in the world thanks to its low crime rate, high levels of education and the overall health of its workforce. The report, published by global consultancy Arcadis, measured the social, environmental and economic health of 100 cities around the globe in its 2018 Sustainability Cities Index.

The combination of a wonderful lifestyle with world class research environment and a rich entrepreneurial culture provides an attractive package for talented people looking to move or be in Europe.

Sethu Vijayakumar, professor of robotics, at the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics

Talent pipeline

With a student population of more than 80,000 people in further and higher education, 60,500 of whom are at university, Edinburgh also benefits from a rich and diverse talent pipeline.

There can be few better endorsements of the opportunities Edinburgh offers to young people than the fact that nearly half (42%) of all graduates from the city’s four universities – The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University and Queen Margaret University – chose to stay and build their careers in the city after graduation. 

Regional commute

Edinburgh benefits from a large metropolitan travel to work area. More than 1.6 million people live within a 90-minute travel to work area.

Excellent rail connections across the city region mean people commute into Edinburgh from the Lothians, the Borders, Fife, Dundee and Perth, while around 25,000 people a day also commute daily from Glasgow. Typical travel times to Edinburgh city centre include Livingston (18 mins); Falkirk (23 mins); Dunbar (25 mins); Dunfermline (31 mins); North Berwick (33 mins); Stirling (41 mins); Berwick upon Tweed (42 mins) Glasgow (49 mins) and Kirkcaldy (55 mins).

Despite is growing population, Edinburgh remains a compact city. Named the UK’s most walkable city in 2017, 55% of city residents use the bus, cycle or walk as their main mode of travel. Edinburgh was the first UK city to sign up to the Charter of Brussels, which sets out to have 15% of journeys by bike by 2020 and the city now spends 10% of its transport budget on active travel infrastructure.


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