Aberdonians top salary chart despite oil slump

Scots working in Aberdeen still enjoy the highest rates of pay in the country, despite the impact of the oil price crash.

Aberdeen remains resilient despite the recent falls in the oil price. Picture Ian Rutherford
Aberdeen remains resilient despite the recent falls in the oil price. Picture Ian Rutherford

Workers in the Granite City earn nearly £600 a week on average – almost double the rate of staff in the worst-paid areas of the country, according to figures released by the Scottish Government.

People in Edinburgh enjoy the next best pay rates in Scotland, with staff in the capital occupying four of the top ten slots in the list of the most lucrative parliamentary constituencies to work in Scotland.

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It shows the importance of the energy industry in Scotland, according to political leaders, but masks the impact of job losses as a result of the global oil price crash.

Aberdeen’s Donside constituency, which takes in many oil services firms in Bridge of Don, has the highest pay levels in Scotland with an average of £595 a week – just over £30,000 a year.

Next is Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, ahead of Edinburgh Western and Edinburgh Pentlands.

North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald, left, said the high wages in Aberdeen underline the resilience of the oil industry despite its recent problems.

“It doesn’t particularly surprise me because the energy industry is still the biggest employer and the energy industry is a relatively good industry to work for in terms of pay,” he said.

“The thing that’s striking in Aberdeen is that there’s more people out of work and some of that is not visible in the figures because what we’ve seen in the past 18 months is that when people lose their jobs they’re not signing on as job seekers.

“There’s a larger number of people out of work than the figures might indicate, but it’s also true that the nature of the energy workforce here is that many people have been able to find work elsewhere and still maintain their families and homes in Aberdeen.”

The figures come from the Office for National Statistics and have been released by economy secretary Keith Brown in response to a parliamentary question.

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The figures cover 2015 when the impact of the global oil price crash began to take hold. Prices fell throughout the second half of 2014 from well over $110 a barrel to below $50 a barrel by early 2015. Despite a slight recovery, they nosedived to below $30 last year.

Oil industry staff at the Wood Group who belong to the RMT and Unite unions are to strike on Tuesday over the firm’s plans to cut wages.

The Aberdeen and Edinburgh areas occupy seven of the top slots for full-time median earnings, according to the figures. Shetland, which benefits from a major oil industry presence is just outside the top ten in 11th place.

The lowest average wage of £311 is in outer Glasgow’s relatively affluent Eastwood district, although this is likely to be because many high earners in the area will work outside the constituency and commute home.