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A Guide to Working Abroad in Scotland

No matter how the will-o-the-wisps may try to lead you astray, working abroad in Scotland is the way to go! A country equipped with majestic forests, green rolling hills, iconic mountain ranges, and thousands of miles of coastal extravagance, Scotland falls nothing short of spectacular. You just cannot disagree with poet and famed Scotsman Robert Burns, "The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth; Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love." With a rave review like that, you’d be an eejit not to begin searching for jobs in Scotland!


Whether you’re looking for bright lights, big city, or the more quaint and quiet countryside, Scotland has you covered. While most job opportunities in Scotland exist in the big cities, a nice trip to the countryside is always an option on weekends when you’re not jet-setting around Europe.

Edinburgh (Edin-burrah) is the largest urban area and capital city of Scotland, but don’t mistake it as a modern metropolis. With a sense of history apparent along every street, Scotland has a medieval, yet elegant, vibe. Overlooking the city is the famous Edinburgh Castle, one of the most important historical sites in the country, and home to the Stone of Destiny; who knows, maybe it can help you find your destiny as an expat in Edinburgh?

Perth is a city located in the rural state of Perthshire. Located on the River Tay, the longest river in Scotland, Perth holds nearly 50,000 inhabitants, but is one of the smallest cities in the country. Once home to several important monasteries, which have unfortunately been destroyed, Perth holds a special historical importance for Scots. Known as “The Fair City,” Perth is a fair place for expats to live and work abroad in Scotland.

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and considered the nation’s second capital. Glasgow houses some of the oldest parks in the United Kingdom and has a great history of wealth, because of its production of steel and iron. Though the wealth of the country fell after the depression, it is now considered the most important city in terms of modern technologies. Glasgow is also known for its festivals and lively performances held year round. 

Jobs in Scotland

Scotland was, and still is, famous for its shipbuilding industry. However, the economy in Scotland has diversified; with a wide spectrum of job opportunities and the highest employment rate in the UK, expats from all over the world are setting sail for Scotland.

Tourism. Scotland provides great tourism job opportunities, especially for those who want to get their feet wet in travel writing. With tasks ranging from travel research to writing online travel reviews, you can gain a wide array of skills (beyond writing) through a tourism job in Scotland. Additionally, those who decide to work in Scotland will have the perfect home base for travel throughout Europe, since it is perfectly situated for exploring any corner of Europe. You can experience a new culture every week, while continuing your career, by working in Scotland; what could be better?

Computer Science. Scotland is one of the leading nations for work abroad in fields related to technology. From startups to established national and international companies, business in Scotland is booming. International work experience will look great on your resume, but jobs in Scotland will also give you a more global perspective of modern developments in computer science and technology.

Engineering. Whether you are interested in mechanical or electrical engineering, Scotland is full of job opportunities for aspiring engineers. One of the reasons why is because Scotland leads the European Union in sustainable energy development. As an engineer in Scotland, you will work with passionate people in top notch facilities who are working on renewable energy alternatives. It may even be possible, after a job in Scotland, for you to return to your home country and help them get off the grid too!

The number of hours you will work in a week during your job in Scotland will depend on whether you are a full-time or part-time staff member. Similar to the United States, the work week is held from Monday to Friday, and 40 hours a week is considered full time. Business etiquette in Scotland is also similar to the United States; for example, it is equally important to be punctual and professional and unprofessional to talk very loud in the workplace. 

Salary & Affordability

In comparison to the United States, day to day life in Scotland is quite a bit more expensive. Although smaller towns and villages are more affordable than bigger cities, like Edinburgh or Glasgow, accommodations and other essentials will be more expensive than you may be used to in Scotland. Your salary will be dependent on your job title and function, so bear in mind what your expected salary is before judging the cost of living in any location.

A casual dinner in a major city in Scotland will typically cost about $15, and your morning cappuccino will cost about $3.50. As far as rent goes, getting a place outside of the city centre will cost upward of $800, while in the city centre is often over $1,000. Before accepting a job in Scotland, come up with a projected budget and make sure your salary will cover living expenses adequately. 

Accommodation & Visas

Expats in Scotland usually choose to live in apartments or condos within the nation’s major cities. It is possible to rent a small house or apartment in smaller towns, and for more affordable prices, but the morning commute will be significant, since most jobs in Scotland are found in the cities. However, for the most part, commuting is fairly easy in Scotland.

Getting a visa to work in Scotland requires foreign workers to apply for a work permit, which will require proof of employment. A visa is also necessary to legally work in Scotland, as visitors are prohibited from taking on employment without one. You should work closely with your employer and local UK consulate to ensure the visa process goes smoothly.

Benefits & Challenges

Stunning Scotland. It is no secret from the above descriptions that Scotland has some impressive scenery across the country. From the endless coasts to the mountains to the jaw-dropping castles, falling in love with Scotland isn’t very hard.

Weel-kent Words. Otherwise known as well-known words, the lingo in Scotland can be very different from that in the United States, despite English being the official language. Not to worry though, once you have made a few mukkers (friends) you will start catching onto the Scottish vocabulary that is used in the office in no time.

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