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Quarter of Scottish firms face recruitment difficulties

Nearly one in four Scottish businesses faced challenges in recruitment throughout November – the highest rate in the UK.

A study of more than 1,000 firms in Scotland revealed 24.5 per cent said they found it difficult to hire the right staff.

The UK average was just 20.7 per cent, and Scotland’s figure was higher than all other parts of the UK, including every region of England.

The figures were reported in the Office for National Statistics’ Business Insights and Conditions Survey, which spoke to a total of 9,555 firms across the UK.

Scotland in Union, the largest pro-UK campaign group, said the Scottish Government had to shoulder some of the blame for the situation north of the border.


Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:

“It’s bad news for Scotland that almost a quarter of businesses reported challenges in recruitment.

“That suggests that the opportunities on offer aren’t matching up to the skills available in our workforce, letting down both jobseekers and businesses.

“The SNP has been in charge for more than 16 years, over which time it has had control over education, skills, training and the economy.

“It has created an anti-businesses environment, driven down standards in education and completely neglected our vital colleges sector.

“This has been reflected in international league tables and the cuts being imposed in next year’s Scottish Government budget - the direct result of failing to grow our economy.

“The nationalists cannot simply shrug their shoulders and blame either Brexit or the UK Government – on this front the SNP has underperformed every single other part of the UK.

“The fact is we have a government that has been so distracted by independence that it has neglected the areas vital to jobs, opportunities and economic growth.”


The full survey can be found here. To access the statistics open the Excel file “Wave 97” and open tab 55 – recruitment difficulties.


It shows the following rate of respondents who answered YES to the question: Did your business experience any difficulties recruiting employees in November 2023?

·         Scotland – 24.5 per cent

·         Northern Ireland – 24.4 per cent

·         Wales – 22.8 per cent

·         England – 20.2 per cent

·         South West – 20.7 per cent

·         South East – 22.5 per cent

·         London – 17 per cent

·         East of England – 21.9 per cent

·         West Midlands – 23.3 per cent

·         East Midlands – 21.1 per cent

·         Yorkshire and the Humber – 20.6 per cent

·         North West – 21.6 per cent

·         North East – 23.1 per cent

·         UK total – 20.7 per cent



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