Glasgow City Council's Invest Glasgow team has helped to attract almost 12,000 new jobs to the city over the last four recorded years (2016/17 - 2019/20), according to a new report presented to the council today (26 January). 2019/20 was the most successful of these years, with 3,619 jobs coming to the city through foreign direct investment (FDI).
In addition to describing the city's recent performance in attracting FDI and capital investment, the report also details the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has had on normal working methods and the new measures now introduced to help the delivery of the team's work.
Attracting FDI to Glasgow is crucial economically as its boosts the city's productivity, creates new jobs, and encourages innovation and international trade. Glasgow ranks third in the UK for FDI, the success of which has been recognised by the city being the Best Large European City of the Future for FDI Strategy 2020/21 and global Runner-up IPA (Investment Promotion Agency) of the Year 2020/21 in the annual rankings of fDi Intelligence (a division of the Financial Times Ltd).
Invest Glasgow was established in 2012 with the aim of raising the city's investment and business profile; targeting specific audiences and markets; and move Glasgow as high as possible in recognised FDI rankings, all in order to secure as much investment as could be attracted to the city. Examples of the recent success of the team's FDI strategy in contributing to the city's economic growth include the investments of JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, who have brought around 4,000 new jobs to the city.
Almost £1.2billion of FDI has been attracted to Glasgow since Invest Glasgow was established in 2012. The countries who have invested most in Glasgow in recent years include Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and the USA.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, global flows of FDI are down around 40%, with a forecast decrease of 5-10% over the course of 2021 before an expected recovery in 2022.
In response, the Scottish Government has launched a new Inward Investment plan which identifies nine key sectors that align well with Glasgow's own priority sectors. The UK Government has created a new Office for Investment that will act as a shopfront to promote high-value and high-impact investment opportunities. SDI (Scottish Development International) is to focus resources on supporting the expansion of the top 50 existing investors and targeting the 50 leading global investors they aim to attract.
The Invest Glasgow response sees the team collaborating with SDI on lead-generation strategies to create as many new investment opportunities as possible, given the decline in / disappearance of corporate site location visits and the cancellation of large real estate trade shows such as MIPIM as a result of the pandemic, leading to fewer enquiries and lower levels of investment.
Other methods and measures being introduced by Invest Glasgow at this time include a new CRM (customer relationship marketing) system; digital collateral for marketing and promotion; and the redevelopment of the Invest Glasgow website (www.investglasgow.com) to fully integrate new digital tools that will attract more investment to the city.
In the short-term at least, it is expected that webinars, online events and virtual tours will replace overseas travelling for Invest Glasgow, and a new series of webinars throughout this year is planned. Included in this programme is an event in partnership with the Department for International Trade and SDI that will showcase Glasgow's pre-eminence in precision medicine.
Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth, said: "Our Invest Glasgow team continue - as these figures and rankings show - to do a fantastic job in attracting the type of investment that is a key part of our future economic growth. By adopting appropriate measures at this time, they can ensure that the city remains a leading destination for FDI from all over the world, with all the benefits this brings to Glasgow."