The Central Belt of Scotland, particularly the major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, enjoys a proportionally higher employment rate than most regions in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh and Glasgow have respectively the second and third highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in the UK, after London. This is good news for residents as well as students seeking part-time work in the area.
Following a grim time for Scotland’s industries in the post war years right up until the 1980s, the nation’s fortunes have recently taken a massive turn for the better. New industries, such as new media, marketing and technology are creating a revitalised jobs market in Scotland, while the financial, retail and customer services sectors continue to flourish.
Glasgow jobs have traditionally centred on heavy engineering, particularly in shipping and marine engineering. The decline in the shipbuilding industry hit Glasgow and the Clydeside towns badly, but in recent years Glasgow’s fortunes have taken an upturn.
During the 1970s and 1980s many of the shipbuilders on the Clyde shut down. Steelworks, coal mines and many heavy engineering factories went out of business, unable to compete with cheap foreign labour.
Since the mid eighties, however, Glasgow has undergone a major economic and cultural renaissance. Today Glasgow is one of Europe’s top ten financial centres and is home to many of Scotland’s biggest companies. Glasgow also boasts the second largest retail industry in the UK, after London.
Glasgow has also become the premier site for call centres. 21st Century Glasgow jobs are more likely to be found in the service industries or in retail.
Edinburgh is known as the financial centre of Scotland. The Bank of Scotland was established by the original Scottish Parliament in 1695. Now part of the Lloyds Banking Group, its headquarters building stands prominently in the heart of Edinburgh’s financial district.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, which now owns Natwest, built its global headquarters in the west of the city in 2005. Home also to Scottish Widows and Standard Life, Edinburgh is the UK’s second most important financial centre after London.
The financial sector is still responsible for the creation of many Edinburgh jobs. Tourism, fuelled by Edinburgh’s rich diverse history and culture, also provides much of the seasonal employment. Edinburgh also boasts a strong retail and services industry.
The numerous festivals that abound on the streets of Edinburgh between June and November provide many part time and full time jobs in the hospitality industry.
Both Glasgow and Edinburgh have a large student population. Glasgow boasts four universities within ten miles of the city centre, hosting a total of 168,000 students, the second highest student population in the UK. Edinburgh has over 100,000 students.
With the number of financial organisations and major companies putting down their roots in the two major cities, there are plenty of part time opportunities in contact centres which appeal to students who wish to supplement their income.
The student population also helps the job market increase due to the demand for night life, including pubs, clubs, restaurants and takeaways.
The burgeoning financial centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh offer graduates a number of opportunities to enter into careers in banking, technology and customer service.
During a time of economic decline elsewhere, Glasgow and Edinburgh continue to buck the trend. They offer growth in the financial sector; opportunities of full time employment and casual labour in the financial, new technology, marketing hospitality, retail and customer services sectors.
Students trying to decide which university or college to attend would do well to consider the lifestyle, job market and culture that Edinburgh, the Scottish capital and Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city offer between them.