Diversity and innovation key to Scotland's economy

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Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Fairburn and Ruth Hunt at the CBI Annual Scottish Dinner: diversity and innovation key to Scotland's economy


Last night, representatives from leading business across Scotland, the UK and Europe along with key Scottish politicians descended upon Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel for the CBI’s Annual Scottish Dinner.

Keynote addresses were given by First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon; Chief Executive officer of Stonewall, Ruth Hunt; and CBI Director General, Caroline Fairburn.

All speeches addressed what they saw as the biggest challenges facing industry today – chiefly Brexit, the need to invest in innovation, and the need to invest in skills.

Both Nicola Sturgeon and Caroline Fairburn gave stark warnings about a no deal scenario and issued a plea to business to do their utmost to relay this warning to the government.

The importance of a deal in the data and tech sector was mentioned specifically, as a no deal on data would have catastrophic effects on how businesses who use data operate. The DMA has been lobbying on this issue, and important developments will be revealed soon. In the meantime, we continue to work with our members and other industry bodies to bring the most vital issues in the data and marketing sector to government. Read external affairs executive, Michael Sturrock’s article in The Scotsman on why a no deal for data would be devastating.

Nicola Sturgeon also mentioned the need to develop skills and attract the right people for Scotland’s data, tech, AI, fintech and innovation sectors.

A Brexit deal that allows migration from EU countries will be vital for ensuring that these world-leading sectors can continue to be world-leading, said Nicola Sturgeon. Similarly, she spoke of the importance of creating environments where everyone can contribute to issues.

Taking this further, Stonewall CEO, Ruth Hunt showed that increasing diversity within the workforce is not only the right thing to do, but helps companies stay innovative and, ultimately, makes them more money.

DMA Talent is working on several initiatives to increase diversity in the workplace. We are offering training in neurodiversity for our members, which aims to help them create good work environments for those who have conditions such as Asperger’s. Learn more about our training days here. Similarly, ensuring that young people from underprivileged backgrounds can have the same access to internships and work experience in the data and marketing spheres is a central pillar of DMA Talent – this is why our courses are free for all.

DMA Scotland is working on very exciting projects and continuing to help develop the data and marketing sector in what is an equally innovative—but ultimately different—economy to the rest of the UK. To work with us on what’s coming next, or for any Scottish member enquiries, contact Lisa McLauchlan.

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