SALARIES in the oil and gas sectors are soaring as pay in other industries stagnates, new research has suggested.
S1jobs, Scotland's largest recruitment platform, has said that half of the 10 best paid positions it advertised in the past year were Aberdeen-based jobs in the oil and gas industry and that a widening gap was opening up with other areas including banking, where pay is still being affected by the 2008 financial crash.
Overall, six out of the 10 best paid Scottish jobs marketed were based in the Granite City with the others shared between Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.
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Experts have said that a skills shortage in the oil and gas sectors has contributed to firms having to pay increased wages to fill positions.
Gavin Mochan, head of sales at s1jobs, said: "High salaries in oil and gas are no surprise, but we are definitely seeing evidence the salary gap between the sector and other industries is widening.
"The finance industry in particular has been through several crises, which has led to more transparent remuneration packages, lower than inflation pay rises and even frozen salaries in many organisations.
"Meanwhile in Aberdeen the oil and gas sector seems to go from strength to strength with salaries increasing at the same rate as before the recession, which also has a knock-on effect to other sectors in the city."
In April, a major report on the oil and gas industry predicted that 20,000 jobs would be created by Scottish firms in the next two years.
The industry-wide survey, which was produced by the Bank of Scotland, revealed that seven in 10 Scots gas and oil firms were predicting that they would grow.
But concerns were raised over a skills shortage, with 40% of firms describing a lack of available staff as a major challenge. Experts said that a skills shortage was driving up wages and labour costs, as firms scrambled to appoint a small number of qualified workers.
Firms reported a particular lack of well drilling and operating engineers, subsea specialists, project engineers, health and safety specialists and geoscientists.
It was warned that despite a series of initiatives to tempt people into the industry, including targeting school leavers and other sectors such as the armed forces, the skills shortage was unlikely to be solved "any time soon". Some companies have attempted to tempt retirees back into the work by offering flexible arrangements.
Almost 90% of engineering companies in the sector said the availability of skilled workers was causing issues.
The Aberdeen-based jobs in the oil and gas sector advertised by s1jobs were for an offshore safety coach, a global tax planner and three roles in IT.
Another of the best-paid jobs, which attracted annual pay of between £140,000 and £156,000, was a role in education, also based in Aberdeen.
The list also included an NHS chief executive post in Tayside, which pays between £110,000 and £151,500 per year and a Glasgow-based role in industrial services which attracted annual pay of £150,000.
The top 10 was completed by two jobs in Edinburgh, where a temporary chief information officer and company director positions were advertised.
Mr Mochan added: "We have around 5,000 new jobs advertised on s1jobs at any given time, running from part-time admin roles to executive level jobs like these, allowing us to produce a unique picture of the job market in Scotland.
"While it may be alarming to many people that salaries in oil and gas are increasing at a greater rate than in other sectors, it is clearly a hugely important industry for the Scottish economy and the job market as a whole.
"The oil and gas industry offers a fantastic opportunity to many young people taking their first steps on the ladder or others looking for a change of career and the rewards of progressing in this career are there for all to see."