Professional salaries in Scotland set to rise by 2.5% in 2017

Salaries for professional roles in Scotland expected to increase by an average of 2.5% next year – highest salary rises in financial services roles in Edinburgh include senior operational risk managers and qualified accountants

Scottish average starting salaries for professional roles are expected to increase by 2.5% in 2017, according to the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide.
Kris Flanagan, associate director – Scotland, Robert Half UK, said: “Productivity and growth are today’s mantras for Scottish businesses and the growing skills shortage is one of the key challenges for any organisation to overcome.
“While Edinburgh has one of the strongest economies within the UK, competition for the best people is intensifying. As this year’s guide demonstrates, salaries for hard to fill roles continue to rise and outpace the average salary by a significant margin.”
The Robert Half Salary Guide is thought to be the most comprehensive and authoritative resource on starting salaries and recruitment trends in finance and accounting, financial services, information technology and administration.
It enables employers and employees to benchmark starting salaries for more than 275 different permanent professional roles on a national and regional basis.
Accountancy and finance
The most difficult areas to recruit for according to Scottish CFOs are business and financial analysis (cited by 28%), financial planning and analysis (28%) and compliance (25%) and this is reflected in higher than average predicted salary rises for Scottish based chief financial officers (8.8%), financial planning and analysis managers (7.7%) and project accountants (6.8%).
Salaries are predicted to continue rising for finance and accounting professionals across the board and businesses are eager to hire candidates with the right cultural fit along with technical expertise and experience. Part-qualified candidates looking to advance their careers with the same company are seeing their starting salary offers increase.
Table 1: accountancy and finance highest salary rises by role
Top three
2016 Scottish average
2017 Scottish average
% change
Chief financial officers
(Large company)
£93,500 – 148,800
£100,200 – £163,300
Financial planning and analysis manager
(Large company)
£62,700 – £73,100
£64,100 – £82,200
Project Accountant
£40,600 – £49,900
£45,100 – £51,600
Financial services
The emergence of the challenger banking sector and fintech in general is creating strong opportunities for professionals with retail banking skills. This is putting further pressure on the ‘traditional’ financial services sector when competing for new employees.
Solvency II came into force at the beginning of 2016 and has changed the way European insurers do business. It has also sparked a wave of strong M&A activity in the market. This churn in the marketplace has created more demand for insurance professionals who can help companies achieve compliance and manage risk.
Consequently, the highest salaries in the financial services sector in Edinburgh include those for risk and compliance with salaries for senior operational risk managers commanding salary increases of 11.7% and operational risk managers seeing increases of 9%.
Table 2: financial services highest salary rises by role
Top three
2016 Scottish average
2017 Scottish average
% change
Senior operational risk managers
£59,900 – £87,600
£68,200 – £96,600
Operational risk manager
£42,900 – £72,600
£49,700 – £76,200
Accountant with three years post-qualified experience
£36,500 – £50,900
£41,100 – £51,900

Administration and office support
The need for more clearly defined administrative roles is set to continue in 2017 with specialists in telemarketing/telesales expected to reap the highest salary rises at 5.1%, while customer services supervisors (4.5%) and administrative assistants (4.4%) will be rewarded for the part they play in retaining happy customers and driving new business. Over two in five (43%) of Scottish HR directors expect to increase salaries for professional level employees in the year ahead.
Table 3: administration and office support highest salary rises by role
Top three
2016 Scottish average
2017 Scottish average
% change
£16,500 – £21,600
£17,000 – £23,000
Customer services supervisor
£19,900 – £27,000
£21,000 – £28,100
Administrative assistant
£15,300 – £24,100
£16,300 – £24,800

Flanagan added:
“Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, is an attractive environment for skilled professionals and currently has an unemployment rate of just 4.6%, just below the UK average of 4.9%. This environment exacerbates the war for talent in the country, driving salaries higher and resulting in businesses struggling to recruit candidates with the skills and experience they need.
“As these businesses undergo their planning and recruitment strategies for 2017, they can turn to the latest Salary Guide to ensure they know where the salary hotspots are likely to be and whether they are paying top performers the salaries that competitors are likely to offer in the year ahead.”


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