With inhabitants numbering around 93,000 (2012), Moray’s population makes up less than 2% of the Scottish total.
The Moray economy relies on a diverse range of business types.
Main types of employment in Moray
The main sectors of employment are: food and drink manufacturing, tourism and defence.
The service sector accounts for about 75% of the total workforce in Moray but this is less than the proportion for Scotland as a whole (82%).
This includes those employed by the Armed Forces.
The RAF base at Kinloss closed in 2011 but it is now used as an army barracks, home to 39 Engineer Regiment (Air Support).
RAF Lossiemouth is now the sole air force base in Moray.
Moray has about 17% of its workforce employed in the energy, water and manufacturing sector.
Whisky is an important industry for the Moray economy.
With over fifty to choose from, the region has the highest concentration of distilleries anywhere in Scotland.
These are clearly also important to the tourism sector, which employs about 9% of the workforce in Moray.
The area also has strengths in the forestry, textile and technology industries.
Moray’s family businesses on the international stage
Radio Scotland’s “Business Scotland” programme, broadcast on 15 February 2014, focused on family businesses.
It was remarkable how often Moray connections kept cropping up throughout the feature, given the population of the area.
It is reckoned that there are about 900,000 people working in family businesses in Scotland today – half the private sector workforce.
Martin Stepek of the Family Business Association, interviewed for the programme, explained that, although reliable statistics are hard to pin down, it is likely that anything between 63% and 73% of businesses in Scotland are family-owned.
According to Mr Stepek, this includes about 40 of the top 100 businesses and such well-known brands as: Arnold Clark, automobile sales; DC Thomson, publishers; and William Grant & Sons, distillers (based in Dufftown, Moray, and producers of Glenfiddich and The Balvenie Single Malts).
“A world brand … in a wee village”
Referring to Walkers Shortbread Ltd, family-owned and run since the late 19th century, Mr Stepek described it as a “world brand with a head office in a wee village that most people in Scotland couldn’t pick out on the map”.
The “wee village” referred to is Aberlour, which nestles on the banks of the River Spey in Moray.