Scotland’s richest executives paid £55 million between them, at an average of £1.6 million each

By 12.10.15PublicationsAugust 28th, 2020No Comments

New High Pay Centre analysis finds evidence of huge pay gaps in Scotland, between ordinary workers and top executives

35 Executives at some of Scotland’s biggest companies took home a total of £55 million last year, according to new research published today by the High Pay Centre think-tank.

The research is likely to keep the issue of income inequality high on the Scottish political agenda ahead of the SNP’s party conference in Aberdeen this week.

The High Pay Centre analysed figures published in the most recent annual report of the 12 Scottish-headquartered businesses (excluding investment trusts) included on the FTSE 350 index of theUK’s largest listed companies. The think-tank found that outgoing Standard Life CEO David Nish was the highest paid Scottish boss, with a pay package of £5.5 million in 2014.

Average pay for the 35 executives disclosed in the annual reports was £1.6 million. Median pay, at £1.1 million was slightly lower, but still 40 times as much as the £27,045 earned by the median full-time Scottish worker and roughly 77 times as much as a worker on the minimum wage.

High Pay Centre Director Deborah Hargreaves said: ‘Fatcat pay is most closely associated with the City of London, but dysfunctional and disproportionate pay gaps between executives and ordinary workers are also a big problem in Scotland.

Of course we need to raise living standards by growing the economy, but it’s also vital to share what we already have a little bit more fairly.

The SNP’s current dominance of Scottish politics gives them an opportunity to set an example to the rest of the UK in this respect.’

Notes to editors:

The High Pay Centre are hosting a fringe event at the SNP Conference on the role that the SNP can play, both at Holyrood and Westminster, in curbing excessive top pay.  The event will take place on Thursday 15 October at 12:30pm – John Mason MSP will be joined by High Pay Centre Director Deborah Hargreaves, David Watt of the Institute of Directors and Robin McAlpine of Common Weal. For full details, see

The 2013 Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act requires UK-listed companies to disclose total pay awarded to each of their Executive Directors. The High Pay Centre analysed these disclosures for the 12 FTSE 350-listed Companies Headquartered in Scotland, looking at the pay of all Executive Directors who served for at least 6 months in the company’s most recent financial year(as pay is published retrospectively, some of the executives have now left the relevant company). Results are detailed in the below table.

Median pay for a full-time Scottish worker is published by the UK Office for National Statistics as part of the Annual Survey for Hours and Earnings at (see Chart 2, table 12)