Scottish Business Buzz

Scottish Business Buzz (11.04.18)

Written by Michelle Rodger

Scottish financial firms are amongst the worst in the UK for the gender pay gap, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Research has revealed Standard Life, Aberdeen Asset Management and Royal Bank of Scotland, all headquartered in Edinburgh, pay men 37% more per hour on average than female staff, meaning an average woman at these firms earns 63p for every £1 the average man is paid.

Across the UK, men earned 18.4 per cent more than women in April 2017, according to the statistics.

Other finance services firms based north of the border, such as pensions and investment firm Aegon (-27.3%) Clydesdale Bank (-36 %, Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Bank of Scotland, (-32.5%) and TSB Bank (-24%), also pay men more than women on average.

Dundee investment firm Alliance Trust has a -19% pay gap, Scottish Widows -16.5 % and Edinburgh-based Tesco Personal Finance -14.6%.

The new data also showed men were paid far more in bonuses at Scotland’s top financial institutions.

While the same percentage of women and men received a bonus at Standard Life, the amount was on average 68% less for women. Aberdeen Asset Management recorded the same figure.

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Scotland’s Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) was £2,331 million in 2016.

In real terms this represents an increase of £50 million or 2.2 per cent since 2015, taking GERD spend to its highest level since the series began in 2001.

Most of the growth in Scotland’s GERD over the latest year came from the business sector.

Business Enterprise R&D (BERD) spend was £1,072 million in Scotland in 2016 – up 10 per cent in real terms between 2015 and 2016.

Higher Education R&D (HERD) spend was £1,061 million in Scotland in 2016 – down 4.9 per cent in real terms between 2015 and 2016.

In 2016, R&D spending in the business sector overtook that of higher education – this is the first time in the series (back to 2001) that BERD spend has exceeded HERD spend in Scotland.

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Former Scottish Canals boss Steve Dunlop  has replaced Lena Wilson, who announced last year that she was stepping down after 8 years as chief executive of Scottish Enterprise. He will take over next month.

Scottish Enterprise said that as a member of the board of VisitScotland and with previous experience of senior leadership roles in the public sector, Dunlop brings with him “a track record of driving inclusive economic growth across the UK”.

During his tenure at Scottish Canals, Dunlop oversaw the development of the park area around the iconic Kelpies sculptures in Falkirk and the regeneration surrounding the Forth and Clyde Canal in the north of Glasgow.

Dunlop will be on a basic salary of £168,000, while Wilson received £210,000.

A new state-owned company supplying household power to Scottish households could be operational by March 2021

Proposals for a working model are set out in a consultancy report to the Scottish government which announced its plans for a taxpayer-owned utility last year.

One of the options is for a national provider to sell electricity and gas through local councils, while there is a ‘white label’ option to sell-on power bought from existing suppliers.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled her plans at the SNP conference in October as a means to challenge high energy prices.

A report from EY estimates the cost of setting up the company at £3.5m, with first year running costs at £9m.

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Scotland’s largest entrepreneurial training programme and competition received a record number of applications this year.

Converge Challenge 2018 received a record 223 applications, from Scottish University staff and students demonstrating the appetite for entrepreneurship across Scotland.

The programme has now received more than 1,100 applications since its launch and has recorded more than a fivefold increase in the number of budding entrepreneurs stepping forward compared to its inaugural year in 2011.

This latest milestone marks a sustained progression in enterprise activities within Scotland’s higher education system.

Modern universities have grown their share by 10% reaching 35% of applications overall and for the first time Converge Challenge received applications from the Royal Conservatoire, further demonstrating the sustained push of the Converge team to outreach into the creative sector.

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About the author

Michelle Rodger

Michelle is a former national newspaper journalist who co-founded an award-winning IT business before launching Tartan Cat Communications. A social media and crowdfunding expert she manages media and communications for Business for Scotland.

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