In 2019, Scotland was the UK's top destination outside of London for foreign direct investment (FDI) for a seventh consecutive year, according to a report by professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY).
The advisory firm's Scotland Attractiveness Survey of 800 international investments showed there had been a 7.4% increase in the number of projects secured, from 94 in 2018 to 101 in 2019.
Growth in Scottish investment was also at a faster pace than the rest of the UK, with a 5.2% increase to 1,109 projects.
Ally Scott, managing partner for EY Scotland, said:
"Scotland has yet again achieved an impressive performance on FDI in 2019. The pace and scale of growth achieved is evidence of Scotland being well-placed to tackle the challenges presented by Covid-19 and an uncertain economic environment.
"Importantly, Scotland continues to increase the quality of projects it attracts as demonstrated by the high average number of jobs created, a figure far ahead of the UK in 2019.
"While Scotland has a strong foundation to navigate beyond COVID-19, there is no scope for complacency. Now, more than ever, there must be a strong partnership between government, business and society to formulate a careful, considered and compelling route back to economic growth.
"Scotland has a real strength in the diversity of projects it attracts, with a healthy blend between manufacturing and services. The boost in manufacturing places Scotland as the UK leader for this sector.
"This, along with the growth in machinery and equipment and agri-food, plays directly into Scotland's international reputation and capabilities within the food and drink market."
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“It is heartening to see that in a time of economic uncertainty due to the UK’s departure from the European Union – against Scotland’s will – the Scottish business climate still managed to increase its attraction of foreign investment.
“Much of this will be because of the vast spectrum of high quality resources we have, and SNP Government efforts – particularly in the Food & Beverage sector. Additionally, Scotland has the potential to move back into the EU over the next few years, whereas for England, that ship has sailed.
“Scotland has a lot to offer the world and I am pleased that jobs continue to be created despite the current economic climate.”
Scotland has performed better in terms of job creation in 2019 than in recent years, rising to second place from fifth in the UK in 2018.
The average size of FDI projects in Scotland created 83.6 jobs last year, which is the highest since 2011, when the figure was 116.2, and ahead of the UK average for 2019 of 51.4.
The shift in investment sectors has seen machinery and equipment investment grow by 58% and agri-food by 78%.
This is the first time in a decade that the service sector has not ranked in the top two.