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The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Highland


The Highland region exhibits a diverse economic landscape with a significant workforce and various active sectors. The total employee count stands at 62,273, with a notable rise in employee numbers across various sectors. The construction sector leads in terms of company numbers, followed by professional, scientific, and technical activities. There’s a growing trend in sectors like food and drink processing and agriculture, indicating a shift towards primary industries.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: Highland has 62,273 employees, with 275 companies reporting an increase in their workforce. This indicates a healthy employment market.
  • Employee Growth Rate: The employee growth rate of 9.25% is a positive indicator of economic expansion and business confidence in the region.
  • Scaleups: There are 72 scaleup companies, suggesting a robust environment for business growth and development.

Sector Dynamics

  • Top Sectors by Number of Companies: The leading sectors are construction (1,638 companies), professional/scientific/technical activities (1,469), and accommodation/food services (1,243). This diversity suggests a balanced economic structure.
  • Top Sectors by Growth: Notable growth is seen in food and drink processing, agriculture, and fishing, reflecting a focus on primary industries.
  • Total Companies: There are 11,321 registered companies in Highland.
  • New Companies (2 Years): 2,316 new companies were established in the last two years, indicating a dynamic and entrepreneurial business climate.
  • SMEs: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) total 8,052, forming the backbone of the local economy.
  • Exporters: With 187 exporters, Highland shows a presence in international markets.
  • Companies with Foreign Parent: 172 companies have foreign parentage, suggesting international investment interest.

Innovation and Growth

  • Fundraisings: 12 companies have raised funds, indicating investor confidence.
  • Patent Owners and Grantees: There are 123 patent owners and 11 grantees, showcasing the region’s innovation potential.

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Founders’ Gender: 24.19% female founders and 74.19% male founders, with a small percentage unknown.
  • Directors’ Gender: 29.86% female directors and 66.24% male directors, indicating a gender gap in leadership roles.
  • Age Distribution of Directors: A diverse age range, with the largest group being over 60 years old (33.63%).

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: 934 companies have ceased operations, a figure that needs attention for economic sustainability.
  • Attendances: There were 15 attendances (likely referring to business events or meetings), showing engagement in the business community.


Highland’s economic and business landscape is characterised by a diverse and growing workforce, a dynamic mix of established and emerging sectors, and a substantial number of SMEs. While the region demonstrates strengths in traditional sectors like construction and professional services, there is noticeable growth in primary industries. Challenges include addressing the gender gap in leadership and ensuring business continuity. Overall, Highland presents a robust, albeit evolving, economic environment.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.