OIL and gas workers are divided over the projected impact on their industry of Scottish independence, a survey suggests.
A small majority (54 per cent) believe independence will bring more jobs but nearly the same proportion (53 per cent) believe it will have a negative impact on workers.
The majority of the 199 workers polled (56 per cent) believe wages will stay the same, a quarter think they will fall and around a fifth (19 per cent) think they will rise, according to the poll by oil and gas recruitment firm NES Global Talent.
More workers are said to believe investment in the industry will fall (39 per cent) than those who think it will stay the same (34 per cent) or rise (27 per cent).
Slightly more workers think oil and gas exploration will increase under independence (30 per cent) than fall (29 per cent), although most (41 per cent) think it will stay the same.
NES associate director Craig Paterson said: “According to UK government figures, an extra 15,000 jobs are due to be created in the UK oil and 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.
Responses have been very split.
“The survey shows the majority of workers in Scotland think independence will have no impact on current wage trends, with 56 per cent saying they will stay the same. Oil and 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.
“Over the past 12 months rates for contractors have risen by up to 20 per cent in some cases. The competition for workers is so fierce that companies look set to continue offering more money and more benefits over the coming years, whether Scotland becomes independent or not.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “A majority of North Sea offshore workers believe independence will see more jobs created in the industry, which is currently seeing a renewed investment boom.
“The Scottish Government is clear that oil and gas revenues would offer a premium advantage for an independent Scotland. Almost all oil production and more than half of total gas production over the next three decades will take place in Scottish waters.
“Unlike successive UK governments, an independent Scotland will provide the necessary stability and predictability for taxation and regulation, creating the optimum conditions for the oil and gas industry to innovate and thrive in a globally competitive environment.”
54% of oil and gas workers believe independence will bring more jobs to the industry
39% believe that investment will fall
30% say that exploration will increase
20% rise in pay rates for contractors in the past 12 months
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