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Study shows Scotland's universities support tens of thousands of jobs and generate billions for the country

31 July 2020

Scotland's universities support over 72,900 jobs and add £4.6 billion to the Scottish economy, says a new analysis released today.

The analysis - by Hatch Regeneris for UCU - found that between them Scotland's universities* directly employ 36,850 people and support another 36,050 jobs across the country through their supply chains and the expenditure of staff and students.

Scotland is one of a number of areas analysed as part of the work looking at the economic contribution of universities. Between them, Scotland's institutions bolstered their local economies to the tune of £4.6 billion last year through gross value added (GVA).

GVA is the key measure of economic contribution, capturing the total value of goods and services produced locally by the universities through their supply chains and the money spent by employees and students. The figures show how the universities are among the single largest contributors to local economies.

Recent YouGov polling for UCU highlighted how people recognised the importance of their local university on jobs and the economy. Two-thirds (66%) said they feared that there would be a negative impact on the local economy if student numbers dropped as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. While three-quarters (75%) feared a negative impact should a local university go bust.

A third of those in work (33%) said the local university was important to their own job. While over two-fifths (42%) said they knew someone who studied or worked at a local university, or whose employment depended at least in part on the university.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'This review shows how significant Scotland's universities are to local economies. Universities are vitally important to our society, but their important role in the economy is often overlooked. This study shows that they have a huge impact in creating local jobs, supporting local businesses, and attracting people and organisations to the area.

'The Westminster government needs to come up with a comprehensive financial support package to support universities as anchor institutions in their local economies, so as universities are driving the recovery and not shedding jobs.  Equally the Scottish Government - and the current Scottish Funding Council Review, needs to be empowering universities to continue to provide the education, research and knowledge exchange that supports our social, environmental and economic renewal.'  

A report from UCU in April warned of a UK wide £2.5bn loss in income for universities from a drop in student numbers, which would result in a £6bn hit for the economy. While a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies earlier this month predicted that the pandemic would leave some universities struggling to survive

Last month UCU launched its Fund The Future campaign, which calls for emergency support for universities to cover income lost due to the pandemic.


 

 

Direct jobs within the Uni (FTE)

 All jobs (including supply chain, induced, student and visitor spend)

Indirect, induced, student and visitor related jobs

 Multiplier (=ratio between direct jobs and all jobs)

Total local GVA, £m (including multipliers)

Glasgow Caledonian University

1,400

5,920

4,520

4.23

480

Glasgow School of Art

450

700

250

1.56

40

Heriot-Watt University

1,800

3,830

2,030

2.13

180

Edinburgh Napier University

1,430

2,900

1,470

2.03

350

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

420

840

420

2.00

50

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

290

430

140

1.48

30

SRUC

1,020

1,180

160

1.16

60

The Robert Gordon University

1,190

2,120

930

1.78

110

The University of Aberdeen

2,590

8,360

5,770

3.23

380

The University of Dundee*

     

The University of Edinburgh

10,480

21,310

10,830

2.03

1,420

The University of Glasgow

6,340

9,000

2,660

1.42

500

The University of St Andrews

2,570

4,830

2,260

1.88

300

The University of Stirling

1,580

2,590

1,010

1.64

140

The University of Strathclyde

3,580

5,530

1,950

1.54

350

The University of the West of Scotland

1,260

2,530

1,270

2.01

160

University of Abertay Dundee

450

830

380

1.84

50

University of the Highlands and Islands*

  

 

  

All Scotland

36,850

72,900

          36,050            

        1.98

      4,600

* The analysis omits the OU in Scotland and sufficient figures were unavailable to allow the researchers to include UHI and Dundee university.  The all Scotland totals, if those universities were included, will therefore be even higher. Likewise this analysis is based on local multipliers. Actual figures for Scotland as a whole are likely to be higher.

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