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Scotland – Oil & gas workers split over job impact of Scottish independence

08 August 2013

A small majority (54%) of oil & gas workers believe that, if Scotland were to vote for independence next year, it will result in more jobs in the Scottish oil & gas industry. However, 53% of those surveyed by oil & gas recruitment firm NES Global Talent responded that they believe independence will have a negative impact on workers.

Of the 199 workers surveyed, 56% believe that wages will stay the same, while 25% think that they will fall. Only 19% believe that there will be an increase in salaries. Investment in the oil & gas industry is predicted, by 39%, to fall following independence. A slightly lower 34% believe that it will remain constant, while 27% think it will rise.

Most responded that they would not expect oil & gas exploration to increase in an independent Scotland, while 30% think it would rise, and 29% think it would fall.

Craig Paterson, associate director at NES, commented: “According to UK government figures, an extra 15,000 jobs are due to be created in the UK oil & gas sector over the next five years. However, our survey, and interaction with our contractors, shows that workers are uncertain over what the future holds for investment levels and job potential.”

“The survey shows the majority of workers in Scotland think independence will have no impact on current wage trends, with 56% saying they will stay the same. Oil & gas salaries are continuing to climb dramatically as renewed UK North Sea investment and global competition for fewer workers leaves companies competing to attract and retain talent,” he added.

According to Mr Paterson, entry-level oil & gas workers in the UK are typically earning a salary of between £35,000 and £40,000 a year, intermediate level workers between £40,000 and £60,000 a year. Senior level workers can earn in excess of £120,000 a year.

The national referendum on Scottish independence is scheduled for the 18 September 2014.  

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