There were 5926 jobs created in Scotland during 2011, the highest figure since 2000 and well ahead of the 3819 in the East Midlands and 3715 in the North West of England.
It is the second year in a row Scotland has topped the jobs table and is just the fifth time since 1997 more than 5000 jobs have been created here.
That came in spite of the number of Scottish projects declining from 69 to 51 which left it in third place in the UK.
London took the bulk of projects with 327 followed by the south east of England on 83.
Logistics was the biggest sector in Scotland with 2050 posts created, followed by business services at 670 and food at 640. Foreign companies expanding in Scotland during 2011 included online retailer Amazon and financial services giants State Street and BNY Mellon.
The report said: "While Scotland saw its number of projects fall by 26% in 2011, it was the UK's leading location for FDI job creation, as it was in 2010.
"Once again, this strong performance may reflect the committed approach of Scottish Development International (SDI) over many years."
Anne MacColl, chief executive of SDI, said: "These figures are very encouraging and underline the importance of continuing to focus on attracting high-value jobs, based on Scotland's strong R&D capabilities and sector strengths which will become embedded in Scotland's economy in the long term.
"The figures also show that Scotland continues to perform strongly in terms of being an attractive business environment that is conducive to the research and development of major projects. Recent successes including Gamesa, Toshiba as well as Avaloq further highlight Scotland's growing reputation as a global partner of choice."
The research found there was little impact from discussions around independence and corporation tax reform but said any effect may become more apparent in 2012. With 25 projects and around 3700 jobs, the US remains the biggest single source of FDI in Scotland which reflects the pattern across the UK.
Switzerland was the next biggest job creator with 500 jobs followed by Norway, with investments in the oil and gas sector, at 420.
Jim Bishop, senior partner in Scotland for Ernst & Young, believes making sure the country is still able to attract overseas investment should be a key point of the debate over independence. He said: "Ongoing global economic uncertainty means no country can afford to rest on its laurels. Scotland is punching above its weight, but it must keep competing for every available dollar of investment.
"The strong growth and increasingly globalised perspective of many emerging markets will make them important sources of investment in the future.
"Inward investment cannot be viewed separately from the overall economy, and establishing two-way trade patterns is essential. The United States is a major export market for Scotland, in addition to being our main source of FDI.
"You look at Germany and the links it has with China which are creating a range of potential Chinese FDI drivers.
"Further moves to attract investment to Scotland must take this into consideration, and policymakers need to ensure their strategies reflect underlying economic circumstances."