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

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Orkney Islands


The Orkney Islands exhibit a diverse economic landscape with strengths in professional, scientific, technical activities, and agriculture. A total of 3236 employees are working across various sectors, indicating a modest but stable economic environment. The rise in employment and the presence of scaleups suggest a dynamic business ecosystem with potential for growth, especially in clean energy generation.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: 3236. A growth of 8.47% in employment signifies a positive trend in the job market. This growth could be attributed to the expansion of local businesses or the attraction of new companies to the area.
  • Employment Raisers: 3 sectors. This indicates that a small number of sectors are driving employment growth, which may suggest a need for economic diversification.
  • Top Sectors for Employment Growth: Professional and technical activities, agriculture, wholesale/retail trade, construction, and accommodation/food services are leading in terms of company numbers, reflecting the islands’ diverse economic base.
  • Scaleups: 9. The presence of scaleup companies is a healthy sign of business maturity and potential for future job creation.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: 560. This figure represents businesses that have ceased operations over a certain period. While some level of cessation is normal, a high number could indicate challenges in the business environment.
  • New Companies (Last 2 Years): 154. This demonstrates a reasonable rate of new business formation, suggesting a supportive environment for entrepreneurship.
  • SMEs: 677. Small and medium-sized enterprises form the backbone of the local economy, vital for job creation and economic resilience.
  • Exporters: 16. Although a small number, these businesses contribute to the economic diversification and external trade relationships of the Orkney Islands.

Leadership and Innovation

  • Gender Representation in Founders and Directors: Founders: 11.11% female, 88.89% male. Directors: 37.35% female, 60.65% male. The data indicates a gender gap, particularly among founders, highlighting an area for potential improvement in diversity.
  • Young Companies with Young Directors: 22. This suggests a level of entrepreneurial activity among younger demographics.
  • Patent Owners and Fundraisings: 3 patent owners and 4 fundraisings signify a modest level of innovation and investment activity, which could be further developed.


The Orkney Islands’ economic profile is marked by a varied and growing employment landscape, with a notable presence in professional and agricultural sectors. While there are signs of healthy business activity and innovation, areas such as gender diversity in leadership and support for more sectoral growth could be areas of focus. The presence of scaleups and new companies indicates potential for future economic expansion, particularly in sectors like clean energy.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

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