In numbers: Scotland’s financial services sector

Edinburgh's finance sector employs 52,800 people. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Edinburgh's finance sector employs 52,800 people. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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The number of people employed across Scotland’s finance sector has reached almost 157,000, according to a study published today.

Trade body TheCityUK, which represents Britain’s financial services industry, said the sector’s headcount north of the Border grew by 6,300 during 2014 – in sharp contrast to steep falls in employment seen in Wales and the West Midlands.

Scotland’s finance sector employs 156,700 people

TheCityUK

Overall, some 156,700 people in Scotland were working in the financial and related professional services at the end of 2014, today’s report revealed.

In Edinburgh, the sector’s workforce grew by 1,400 to hit 52,800, while Glasgow saw the creation of 2,600 roles to bring the city’s financial services headcount to 37,800.

Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK, said: “This is a national industry, the importance of which goes well beyond London and the south east.

“The financial services sector employs over one million people in the UK, with another one million in the related professional services industry – two-thirds of whom are based outside the M25.”

He added: “The sector has helped to raise living standards by spreading high productivity and high-value added employment around the country in a sustainable way. The value added to the economy per financial and related professional services worker is £87,000, compared to the £52,000 annual average for workers in other sectors.”

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Of the almost 2.2 million people working in the sector across the UK, 417,000 are employed in banking, while insurance roles account for a further 309,000. Across the professional services arena, management consultancy accounts for some 483,000 roles, with accounting and legal services employing 319,000 and 314,000 respectively.

Today’s report also highlights data from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) showing that Scotland had an 8 per cent share of the UK’s bank lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), totalling £7.7 billion. Small firms in Glasgow accounted for £1.2bn of that lending figure.

Scotland also enjoyed a “sizeable increase” in private equity investment during 2014, with the amount of money ploughed into firms by private equity and venture capital houses doubling year-on-year to reach £206m.

TheCityUK said that, overall, financial and related professional services employ more than 7 per cent of the UK workforce, produce nearly 12 per cent of total economic output and contribute £66bn in taxes.

Cummings added: “We must not lose sight of the importance of an industry that connects us all. Keeping the UK economy strong and globally competitive will be a key policy challenge for the foreseeable future.”

Its report also shows there are about 9,000 bank branches in the UK and almost 70,000 cash machines, which delivered about 2.8 billion cash withdrawals in 2014. The UK has the most cash machines in the European Union, with more per person than France, Germany or Italy.

BBA figures also reveal how the retail banking landscape is changing as more customers go online rather than visit their local branch. The banking trade organisation predicts that customers will use their mobile phones more than 2.3 billion times to check their current accounts in 2020 – up from just 86 million times in 2010. Over the same period, the number of account interactions in branches is predicted to drop from 502 million to just 268 million.

Some 22.9 million banking apps were downloaded in 2014, a rise of 8.2 million in one year. Banking app log-ins now amount to more than 10 million a day.

Although cash remains a popular choice – accounting for 90 per cent of transactions worth less than £20 – TheCityUK predicts that cash payments are likely to decline over the coming decade “due to growth in mobile phone payment services, a continuing migration towards plastic cards and migration of spending from the high street to the internet”.