FAI Publications

New report: The contribution of Robertson Group to Scotland’s economy

New report finds Robertson Group’s spending in the last three years has supported over £1.8BN in Scottish GVA. 

Following the impact felt by the nation after the first national Covid-19 lockdown, Robertson Group, one of the largest family-owned construction, infrastructure, development, and support services businesses in the UK, commissioned a report by Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) to understand and improve its impact on the Scottish Economy.   

Analysing spend across 2017/18 – 2019/20*Robertson is estimated to have supported a total of over £1.8bn in Scottish GVA and on average over 11,200 Scottish jobs annually. 

The report was commissioned in order that Robertson has a greater understanding of the role that it plays in the Scottish economy and where it can focus efforts to help Build Back Better, economically, environmentally, and socially. 

Elliot Robertson, chief operating officer, Robertson Group, commented: “The construction sector in Scotland was significantly impacted during the first lock down with many sites across our entire industry brought to a complete standstill for a period of 13 weeks.  As the 8th largest sector in the Scottish economy, contributing around 6% of Scottish GVA and 5 % of Scottish employment it was essential that we found a way to return to work safely, protecting the workforce and the communities where we operate. 

“The sector showed great resilience and adaptability during the pandemic and has been the first main sector to recover, with performance returning to above pre-pandemic levels.”  

Robertson spend from 2018/19 – 2020/21 was within 29 of Scotland’s local authorities.**  Of that around £39.5m was spent in postcode districts which contain the top 20 most deprived postcodes in Scotland.  Robertson is committed to sourcing services and goods from local suppliers and supply chain to help tackle inequalities in Scotland’s most deprived local authorities, and to providing positive employment opportunities and added social impact. 

Elliot continues: “As a responsible business our commitment extends beyond economic benefits, we aim to leave a lasting community impact and legacy in the communities where we work, through employment and training opportunities, working with residents and local community groups surrounding our projects, to listen and understand their needs, to then design and implement initiatives which support their aspirations for their communityThe social impact that Robertson has on communities should not be underestimated and at a time when our industry is facing skills shortages, we need to be doing all that we can to encourage trainees into the sector.  Inequalities across Scotland need to be addressed and businesses like ours are in a position to help to do exactly that.” 

During 2020, Robertson launched it 2030 Responsible Business Strategy with the objective of enhancing the lives of others, positively contributing towards communities, and becoming a ‘climate positive’ business.  The findings from the FAI report show that Robertson is well progressed in its journey of meeting its objectives as it continues to move beyond carbon neutral to climate positive having actively taken responsibility for climate change, and supporting several commitments that support the fight against the climate crisis. 

Mairi Spowage, Director of the Institute, said: “The construction sector has been a strong driver of growth in the Scottish economy throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, and construction firms have a significant role to play in supporting Scotland’s economic recovery from COVID-19. 

“Robertson is an important contributor to the construction sector in Scotland and across the UK. However, the contribution of Robertson extends beyond this sector, as its investment and day-to-day operations supports jobs and economic growth across the whole economy. 

 “Whilst COVID-19 currently presents an unprecedented challenge for the Scottish economy, there are longer-term challenges that have been exacerbated due to the pandemic. One of these long-term challenges is tackling inequalities. Our latest findings highlight that Robertson is in a strong position to help support Scotland in its efforts to tackle these grand challenges.”  

Read the full report here.


*2020/21 only includes spend from April 20 – Dec 20 

** During this period Robertson did not spend within the local authorities of: Clackmannanshire, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire. 


Adam is an Economist Fellow at the FAI who works closely with FAI partners and specialises in business analysis. Adam's research typically involves an assessment of business strategies and policies on economic, societal and environmental impacts. Adam also leads the FAI's quarterly Scottish Business Monitor.

Find out more about Adam.

Picture of Mairi Spowage, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute

Mairi is the Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute. Previously, she was the Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Fiscal Commission and the Head of National Accounts at the Scottish Government and has over a decade of experience working in different areas of statistics and analysis.

Ben is an economist at the Fraser of Allander Institute working across a number of projects areas. He has a Masters in Economics from the University of Edinburgh, and a degree in Economics from the University of Strathclyde.

His main areas of focus are economic policy, social care and criminal justice in Scotland. Ben also co-edits the quarter Economic Commentary and has experience in business survey design and dissemination.

Picture of Frank Brocek, assistant at the Fraser of Allander Institute
Frantisek Brocek

Frank graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2019 with a First-class BA (Hons) degree in Economics. He is currently studying on the Scottish Graduate Programme MSc in Economics at the University of Edinburgh.

He has experience from a variety of economic policy institutions including the European Commission in Brussels, the Slovak Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.