Markets in focus: Edinburgh

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Edinburgh: the Athens of the North, home to an extinct volcano, Harry Potter and too many whisky distilleries to count, is experiencing something of a renaissance.

The Scottish capital boasts one of the strongest economies of all UK cities outside of London, with finance and technology among the fastest-growing sectors. Both are serious contributors to Edinburgh’s economic growth, presenting a strong case for professionals looking for new opportunities and providing the perfect conditions for start-ups. However, it’s not just the thriving economy which attracts professionals and businesses; Edinburgh plays host to some of the UK’s most attractive landscapes, a thriving restaurant scene and more culture than you can shake a deep fried Mars bar at.

The key to maintaining Edinburgh’s economic prowess in spite of the uncertainties presented by Brexit lies in the ability to attract both start-ups and industry giants. With a start-up scene including Skyscanner among its most notable alumni and PWC announcing their biggest ever Scottish recruitment drive, it’s an excellent time to take a look at Edinburgh’s most promising sectors for growth in 2019.


Finance and accounting

Financial services have long played a central role in the growth of Edinburgh and Scotland. Banking, accountancy and financial services account for around 9% of the Scottish economy and show no signs of slowing down – in 2017-18, the number of financial services professionals increased by 6.6% to 33,000. This makes the sector Edinburgh’s third highest employer. As a major European centre for asset management and development, Edinburgh’s financial district is an attractive environment for finance professionals and businesses.

The history of accounting in Scotland is rich; the Institute of Accountants in Edinburgh formed in 1853. This developed into the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), still prominent today. With international firms such as PwC establishing major offices in the city, vacancies increasing by 4.8% every year and salaries 7.6% higher than the national average for accounting jobs, Edinburgh is an enviable climate for a flourishing career in accounting.



Edinburgh is a key contributor to the UK’s status as a leading figure for tech investment in Europe, and continues to attract more investors than Bristol, Oxford and Manchester.

The financial district, established in 1695 as a support for growing businesses, now finds itself at the centre of a new era of fintech. Edinburgh’s tech industry has a gross value added of £1bn and is estimated to grow 22% by 2022, making it the fastest-growing sector in the city. It’s the strength of the technology corporations, combined with the backbone that is Edinburgh’s financial sector, that musters its global fintech reputation.

This prosperous climate makes Edinburgh attractive for professionals; Tech Nation’s 2018 report shows jobs in the city increased three times over the UK average from 2014-2017 and job availability is forecasted to grow upwards of 7% by 2022. With a shortage of digital experts and strong rates of growth in hi-tech research and development, Edinburgh offers exciting opportunities for technology professionals.



(Andrew Welsh, co-founder of Meraki Talent. One of our first investments, Meraki delivers top talent in the financial and professional markets.)


Andrew Welsh and Laura Drysdale launched Meraki Talent in January 2015 with backing from Recruitment Entrepreneur. In the past four years Meraki has grown to a team of 27, across their Edinburgh, Glasgow and London offices. We caught up with Andrew Welsh as to why Edinburgh was the ideal location to launch their business:

“Edinburgh is a very attractive place to start a business with a collaborative ecosystem across government agencies, universities, schools and various innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives. Within the financial services sector we also have a number of highly successful Scottish firms across asset management, fintech, banking and insurance.

For global firms, Edinburgh is viewed as a favourable location to base highly technical and professional level functions whereby they can access a talented and well qualified workforce, in an environment which is highly cost effective from both a people and property perspective. I’ve built my career and business on the strength of Scotland’s finance market; it’s an exciting time to be in financial services in Edinburgh.”

Meraki Talent are a leading selection business within the UK’s financial and professional services market; acting as the preferred supplier to over 50 financial institutions ranging from global banks to boutique firms. Get in touch with Meraki for your next opportunity within Edinburgh’s expanding financial services market.