As employers, it offers us the widest possible range of talent, specialisms, experience, and perspectives to recruit from. As employees, it ensures that those with the most suitable skills and experience get the job.

With technology playing an increasing role, and a growing emphasis on both science and service, we’re working hard to raise awareness of the wide range of careers available amongst as diverse an employee profile as possible.


Salmon farming has come a long way in recent years. Once dominated by a largely male workforce carrying out primarily manual labour, innovative technologies and IT now play an increasingly important role, as do science and customer service.

The result is that there is a wider range of careers on offer than ever before: from the core roles of fish husbandry and fish health, processing, sales and logistics, to essential support services such as health and safety, engineering, environment, IT, HR and many more.

We’ve been working hard across a number of areas to encourage as many female candidates to apply for these roles as possible, in:

  • Raising awareness of the wide range of roles available by attending careers events, from primary and secondary schools through to postgraduates
  • Inviting female colleagues to share their experiences insights and experiences of working within the company and sector (see below for an example of these)
  • Enhancing our maternity and paternity leave, along with our enhanced shared paternal leave, for employees with one or more years’ service
  • Offering the option of ‘Keep in touch’ days, phased return and flexible working patterns, wherever possible, to new mums
  • Supporting the WiSA Women Returners Programme, coordinated by the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, to help women living in rural areas and not currently in employment to get back to work.

Women in management

While any major shift-change takes time to bring about fully, we are seeing advances, with:

  • Female Farm Managers – currently, we have two female Farm Managers, along with several female colleagues working in freshwater and marine fish husbandry roles
  • Female Heads of Department – of our 18-strong business management team that meets monthly, five colleagues are female
  • Female representatives on our Young People’s Council a voluntary initiative open to all employees under the age of 28, the exact make-up of the Council changes regularly but includes a mix of male and female colleagues.

Read our colleagues’ experiences

Interested in finding out more about the opportunities within salmon farming? Read our colleagues’ experiences below:

What is your background?

I graduated in environmental sciences from the University of Paris and completed a Masters project at the NAFC in Shetland, after which I was offered a job at Shetland Island Smolt as a hatchery assistant. That was in 1997 when there were a lot of small operators in Shetland, lots of Norwegians, and where I first met my Scottish Sea Farms colleague Ewan Mackintosh.

I transferred to sales to replace another French girl and in 2002, along with husband George and daughter Clara, moved to the Central Belt. I carried on working in sales, at Sea Products of Scotland, staying there for 10 years until it was taken over.

I already had contacts at Scottish Sea Farms because they packed our fish and so it felt natural to join them.

What does your job involve?

No day is the same. Every time you come into the office you face different challenges. It’s quite a reactive sector and you have to work fast and think on your feet, which makes the job exciting.

What attracted you to the sector?

Having worked in a hatchery and with my science background, I believed in farming the seas from the beginning. I’d been approached by other companies but there’s no way I would sell anything other than salmon. I was interested in Scottish Sea Farms because of the specialism in salmon and the way we grow our fish. I work for the sector first, and sales second.

What keeps you in your role, both professionally and personally?

It’s definitely my love and passion for the sector but also my absolutely amazing colleagues at Scottish Sea Farms at every level, from my sales team, who are really dedicated and fun, to the management team, to the farmers.

And the relationships built up with customers are a big part of the attraction, too. I still speak to the first customer I had in 1999.

What barriers – perceived or actual – might still be deterring other women from joining?

When I first took on a more senior sales role, an older male boss told me that dealing with salmon farmers wasn’t a job for a woman. I didn’t take offence but I did set out to prove him wrong. And when I was in my twenties, I sometimes found it quite intimidating talking to old-fashioned French customers, who were often a bit rough and ready. I took it on the chin and while it didn’t upset me, I can see how such attitudes could be perceived as a barrier for women.

Personally, I don’t feel I have encountered obstacles as a female manager. I have a lot of autonomy and am trusted to run my department. Any problems I have experienced are more down to different characters and different approaches to the job, rather than gender inequality.

How would you address the barriers?

Some people may be more resilient than others and the circumstances may vary from one job to another. Sales is less physically demanding, for instance, than being on the farms or in processing. But I would encourage women not to think of the sector in terms of jobs for women or jobs for men, but jobs for everyone. You can be an engineer or a scientist, or have almost any background, and find a job in aquaculture.

Any other advice for women thinking of joining the sector?

I would argue that salmon farming, and sea farming generally, is how we’re going to grow food in the future. It’s more sustainable than other forms of protein production and has so much innovation driving it forward and therefore so many opportunities.

Just look at what SalMar and Cargill have announced with their Salmon Living Lab research initiative and the possibilities that offers.

What is your background?

When I first arrived in Oban about 10 years ago, from Omagh in Northern Ireland, I didn’t even know what a fish farm was. My dad is a chicken farmer but that’s a very different kind of farming.

What does your job involve?

Most of the day is spent on the facility floor. We have a team meeting first thing then we check the fish in harvesting, gutting and packing, then it’s bouncing back and forth.

I liaise with the wellboats and also with the engineering department, making sure the fish go through the facility as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I also oversee the housekeeping, ensuring the place is kept ship shape.

What attracted you to the sector?

I joined four years ago after applying for a receptionist job. I knew people in the company and they said it was a good place to work, like a family. The role I initially applied for went to someone else but I was asked to try out for another role, working alongside the Assistant Operations Supervisor.

What keeps you in your role, both professionally and personally?

The job certainly keeps me on my toes and I’ve been able to see all aspects of the operation, from the hatchery to the marine farms. It’s opened my eyes massively and I know if I had an interest in another part of the business, the company would help me move departments.

I can see a future for myself here and, in fact, I’ve decided to stay in Scotland because of the job. Scottish Sea Farms has put a lot of time and effort into me and developed me as a person. I don’t think I’d be the supervisor I am if I hadn’t worked here and had the support they have given me.

What barriers – perceived or actual – might still be deterring other women from joining?

I think it ruffled a few feathers when I first started, being young and a woman supervising people who had been here much longer. I can be quite to the point and have had to learn to adapt to managing people, it’s taken time.

I used to have to go to my line managers for back-up but now if a problem arises, we all work on it together. Our goal, after all, is the same: to get the fish in and out as swiftly and as smoothly as possible.

How would you address the barriers?

It would be beneficial if there were more women in positions of authority, which we’ve seen recently with another female colleague joining our supervisory team on the facility floor.

Any other advice for women thinking of joining the sector?

All I’ve ever tried to do is my best. I’ve had to be resilient when it’s been really stressful, especially if a line manager was away, but then I realised that if they trusted me to do the job, I should have faith in myself. That has given me confidence.

I’d say to other women, just try it, like I did, you never know where it’s going to take you. I had no interest in working in processing yet here I am, four years later, and I love it. It’s totally changed me as a person.

What is your background?

I studied sports coaching and had worked in customer service in retail but had no experience in aquaculture or anything related.

What does your job involve?

We manage orders daily, constantly liaising with Sales, Marine and Processing, so we’re sort of the ‘middle man’, getting the fish from the processing facility to the customer. It’s a team effort and being a woman is not an issue.

What attracted you to the sector?

I’m from Oban and had heard Scottish Sea Farms was a good company to work for, so when I saw the job advertised, I thought it was an opportunity to stay in the area. I’ve been here since September 2022 and whilst I was aware of fish farms beforehand, I have been surprised by the scale of the operation, seeing it from the inside.

What keeps you in your role, both professionally and personally?

The company provides career progression, which was a big attraction and also motivates me to stay here. We can go on courses for our personal development which is a real bonus – I’m doing one in finance later this year to further my knowledge of how the business operates. And I’ve been able to visit other departments, such as Freshwater and Marine, as well as Sales in Stirling office.

Also, in our team we work well together and there is great shift pattern, where we’re all very flexible, accommodating each other’s needs and personal commitments.

What barriers – perceived or actual – might still be deterring other women from joining?

I think it is perceived as a predominantly male environment, particularly on the farms and in processing, too. But that’s not the case on the administration and office side, where there are likely to be more women than men.

How would you address the barriers?

We need to highlight that, increasingly, there more women working in previously male only environments, including on the farms, something people outside the sector might not realise.

Any other advice for women thinking of joining the sector?

There are equal opportunities for everyone. As far as Scottish Sea Farms is concerned, you see a lot of people who have moved between different parts of the company and the management is good at supporting anyone, male or female, who wants to progress.

There is also always someone on hand to help if you are struggling, professionally or personally, which is equally important.

The sector in general is evolving all the time and that keeps it interesting. You’re forever learning new things and keeping pace with change.

What is your background?

I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science from Robert Gordon University in 2021 and a month later I joined Scottish Sea Farms. I was keen to work in fish health but there were no vacancies at the time so I started as a Quality Monitor at the Scalloway processing facility.

After 10 months I was given an opportunity to move to the Girlsta Freshwater Hatchery as a fish technician, where I did my SVQ Level 2 in Aquaculture and was nominated for a Lantra award. Then, six months later, I progressed to my current role as Fish Health & Welfare Manager for the company’s Shetland marine farms.

What does your job involve?

I’m based at Gremista, Lerwick but I carry out regular visits to the marine farms across Shetland to assess the overall health and welfare of our stock. I also recently became responsible for the health and welfare of all our cleaner fish within Shetland.

What attracted you to the sector?

In 2020, I applied for an online internship with SAIC (the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre) during the summer between my third and fourth year of university. I originally had plans to travel that summer, but Covid put a stop to that, and instead I ended up doing the internship.

I didn’t know much about aquaculture when I applied but since I’m from Shetland and I knew it was one of our biggest sectors, I thought why not give it a go.

My plan was to complete my PGDE after finishing my degree and become a chemistry or biology teacher. But after completing my internship, my plans completely changed. I think what attracted me the most to the sector was the variety of jobs available; jobs that I didn’t even know existed before I went to SAIC. There were also plenty of opportunities where I could utilise my science-based degree too.

What keeps you in your role, both professionally and personally?

Every day is different. I never really know what my week will look like, and I feel like that keeps it interesting. The balance between office-based work and site work is nice too – being out on the farms on a nice summer’s day hardly feels like work at all (although I can’t say the same for the winter months). I’m also very lucky to work with such a good team.

What barriers – perceived or actual – might still be deterring other women from joining?

I haven’t personally encountered barriers as a woman, but I think the gender imbalance would deter some people. To begin with, it was slightly daunting being the one of the only females out on the farms but that soon disappeared once I got to know everyone. I don’t believe I’m treated any differently because I’m a woman. I think across the company, if you work hard, then you’ll be treated and rewarded accordingly. There are several women in senior positions within the company which I think demonstrates there are opportunities available for everyone.

How would you address the barriers?

I think the main way to address the gender imbalance is to continue encouraging more women to join the sector. There is such a variety of jobs and development opportunities that I’m sure there will be something to suit almost everyone.

Any other advice for women thinking of joining the sector?

Just give it a go. I would also say don’t be afraid to apply for other roles within the company just to get your foot in the door. Aquaculture is such a fast-moving sector and there are so many different opportunities for development. I started in processing, moved to freshwater, and then ended up in marine, and I think experiencing different areas within the company can be hugely beneficial.

What is your background?

I did a Biology degree at the University of Stirling and became interested in how science can be related to people. During my studies, I did an internship in marketing at SAIC (Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre) through the Skills Development Scotland programme; I loved it and from there went on to do a Masters in Science Communication and Public Engagement at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating, I worked in bioinformatics and for a cultivated meat company – two very different sectors. When an opportunity came up at Scottish Sea Farms two years ago, I grabbed it.

What does your job involve?

Anything comms-related comes within my remit and, as of last January, I’ve also taken over responsibility for Heart of the Community, coordinating grant applications and raising the profile of our community fund.

What attracted you to the sector?

I liked the fact that everything about aquaculture is rooted in science. And that farmed salmon is a sustainable, home-grown form of food production, as well as being Scotland’s largest food export. And, as I learned at SAIC, there’s a lot happening under the surface and there are many different avenues you can take. Also, the sector is small enough that you know many faces but not so big you know everyone.

What keeps you in your role, both professionally and personally?

It’s the people. I don’t want to work for a sector where you stand still or where people are bored by it. Here, you can see how interested everyone is in their jobs, how much innovation is going into what they’re doing, and how much they’re constantly trying to be better, such as with the recently revised RSPCA Assured salmon standards. There is always something happening – there are no quiet days in Comms. And, personally, there is flexibility if you need it and, in a global sector, the scope to broaden your horizons.

What barriers – perceived or actual – might still be deterring other women from joining?

Food production is sometimes seen as a boys’ club and a lot of fish farms will have a male farm manager and male husbandry team, supported by male net technicians and male engineers. If you don’t see yourself there, or don’t know any women on a farm, or in a fish health or veterinary role, you may not imagine those positions for yourself. Yet we, and other companies in the sector, have women in most of these jobs – people maybe just aren’t aware of that.

How would you address the barriers?

In Comms, we try to show people who they can be, whether by highlighting women doing various jobs or through compiling case studies of women in different parts of the business. And education is very important, whether that’s talking to your local communities about the opportunities or educating your staff – the best way to recruit more people is for your employees to tell their friends and family how great the company is to work for. Getting out in front of kids at career fairs, going into schools, providing youngsters with work experience, and bringing them in for visits so they can see the diversity in the workplace – that’s all part of the process.

Across the sector, there are some absolutely amazing individuals but often we don’t think tactically enough. We have other cross sector campaigns, such as collecting marine debris and rural housing, so we could have another campaign on recruitment, to improve diversity.

Any other advice for women thinking of joining the sector?

You just need to apply and then you can move within the company, as so many people have, to find your fit. Everything is quite interconnected so once you’re in, you can gravitate towards the job that suits you. In other companies I’ve worked for, if you were unhappy, you’d probably have to leave. In Scottish Sea Farms, it’s more a case of your interests dictating where you go, rather than company requirements.

What is your background?

I’m from Orkney but studied Forensics and Analytical Science at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. I did my honours project on the valorisation of fish waste, which put aquaculture on my radar. I hadn’t really been aware of the sector before then.

What does your job involve?

I’m mainly responsible for securing continued sustainable growth for the company through delivering various consents for site development projects across the estate. Writing and coordinating environmental impact assessments is a big part of my role, which involves project planning, managing external contractors and engaging a wide variety of stakeholders.

What attracted you to the sector?

I missed island life when I was in Aberdeen so moved back home after graduating and started at Scottish Sea Farms on Shapinsay farm, where I worked for about a year. I really enjoyed my time there, learnt a lot and liked working outside, it was a nice change from university, but I didn’t want to stay in the role long-term. Then my current role came up about a year and a half ago and it seemed like a good fit. I also knew people in the company and Scottish Sea Farms seemed to be a good place for progression and development.

What keeps you in your role, both professionally and personally?

Aquaculture offers unique job opportunities in communities that are quite often remote and rural. And it’s about the people as well, they’re passionate about what they do and eager to share their knowledge and experience, it’s an inclusive environment to be part of.

I enjoy working in a sector that’s dynamic and forward thinking and I think there’s plenty of potential for the future. The drive for sustainability, and the innovation that comes with that, is really important to me as well.

The fact that it’s also quite challenging is another reason for staying in this role. You have to be adaptable and develop a pro-active, problem-solving approach.

What barriers – perceived or actual – might still be deterring other women from joining?

I think aquaculture is still male-dominated but it’s constantly evolving and we’re seeing more women in a wider variety of roles and at different levels.

It didn’t faze me going on to a mostly male-dominated farm, but I understand why that might put off some women.

I’ve always been surrounded by colleagues who are primarily incredibly supportive of my learning, development and progression, and have found it to be quite inclusive.

How would you address the barriers?

I hope we can continue to break down barriers to people’s perceptions, by educating people and encouraging more women to consider a career in the sector. There are so many different career paths available within the sector.

Organisations such as WiSA (Women in Scottish Aquaculture) do a lot of really good work to support the women who are already working in the sector and to help encourage more women into aquaculture by raising awareness of the opportunities that are available.

Any other advice for women thinking of joining the sector?

My advice would be to just go for it, it’s an incredibly diverse and exciting sector and there are such a wide variety of roles catering to different interests and skills. There is something for everyone, you just need to find what it is you enjoy doing.

Gender pay gap

We take the issue of equal pay very seriously: from basic rate of pay right through to discretionary bonuses.

To see how we’re performing in terms of closing the gender pay gap, you can download our Gender Pay Gap Reporting 2023 (published April 2024) below.

Our 2024 report will be available in April 2025.

To see how we compare against the Scottish national average, click here.


An inclusive work culture goes beyond simply gender – we are an increasingly diverse team in terms of age too.

Where once we had a minimum age of 18 for our marine farming or processing vacancies, there’s now scope to join Scottish Sea Farms straight from school, undergoing training and development as part of the role.

Young People’s Council

Employees aged 28 or under now account for a third of our workforce, prompting us to introduce our Young People’s Council in 2020.

It aims to ensure that the views of our younger employees are sought, listened to, and acted upon when it comes to how the Scottish Sea Farms of the future could and should look. After all, it’s our younger employees who take the lead in years to come.

Older employees

At the other end of the scale, our long service award scheme is designed to show our longer serving employees how much we value their contribution and loyalty.

For those approaching retirement, there’s the option to move into a mentor role in the final years of employment so that their knowledge and experience can be shared with younger colleagues and retained within the business for years to come.

For anyone wishing to continue working beyond retirement age, there’s the option to do so for as long as they feel fit and able.

Combined, it’s our way of ensuring we retain the considerable know-how that already exists within Scottish Sea Farms, whilst also attracting emerging talent and new ideas into the company.


Key to encouraging a diverse workforce is making more people aware of salmon farming – something we do by attending careers events at local schools, colleges and universities, and by hosting our own ‘open door events’, amongst other activities.

Most recently, we’ve teamed up with military recruitment specialist JobOppO which supports ex-forces personnel to transition to civilian life with employment suited to their skills and know-how.

By advertising vacancies on the platform, we not only widen our reach to include highly skilled candidates that we might not otherwise have reached, but we also contribute to JobOppo’s fund for service families. A win-win.

Scottish Sea Farms has no shortage of ex-services role models across its farming estate. To read their real-life experiences, check back soon.

In the meantime, you can read more about the work of JobOppo here.


With Scottish farmed salmon enjoyed the world over, it’s little surprise that the sector has long attracted a diverse range of nationalities from the EU and further afield.

Without doubt, Brexit has impacted on that diversity. However, we’re committed to doing what we can to make sure all employees feel part of the same Scottish Sea Farms family.

Ways we can help:

  • Guidance on work permit and visa requirements
  • Financial help towards the cost of relocation
  • Support with finding suitable accommodation.

All of which we will tailor to your exact role, location and personal circumstances.

Diversity in the broadest sense

The examples given above are just a flavour of our commitment to being an inclusive employer.

Our aim is to offer a workplace where people of all backgrounds and circumstances feel accepted, valued and supported, both in their own team and the wider company, without having to conform to anyone else’s expectations.