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Why Aberdeen? By Alan Clark of Thorpe Molloy
In the current economic climate Aberdeen is bucking the trend providing legal professionals with an array of opportunities.
Aberdeen, the “Granite City”, is the third largest city in Scotland with a population of around 215,000 people.  It has a prosperous, cosmopolitan atmosphere and is home to a varied range of cultural, leisure and historical attractions.  More importantly given the current economic downturn, it also has the lowest unemployment rates in the United Kingdom with twenty of the top Scottish companies headquartered in the city.  As the Energy Capital of Europe, it is the regional head office for many international Oil and Gas companies and with more than half of the oil in the North Sea still to be developed, there remains plenty of opportunities for employment in the area. 

Law firms in the region are buoyant and though there has been a marginal decline in the property market, lawyers across the city remain busy.  Corporate teams across Aberdeen experienced an extremely demanding spell in the period before the changes in Capital Gains Tax legislation came into effect on April 6th 2008 and are still being kept busy despite the market slowdown in other areas.  Aberdeen is one of the very few places to actually benefit from the high oil price and though the downside of the high price is that the residents of Aberdeen have to pay higher prices at the pumps, for many people in the city the benefits far outweigh the negatives.  With prices reaching and breaching $120 a barrel at one stage, Aberdeen is prospering and boasts the highest proportion of millionaires anywhere outside London, with 222 millionaires living in the AB15 postcode alone.  With the highest average weekly earnings in the United Kingdom, Aberdeen remains an attractive proposition for candidates looking to progress their career.  In fact, in a recent survey Aberdeen was voted the happiest place to work in the United Kingdom, boasting many of the attractions of the larger cities but within a few minutes you can escape to the countryside making it an attractive proposition to live and work in.

Over the last few years, the buoyant oil and gas market has seen a number of new entrants to the Aberdeen market looking to seize upon the opportunities created by the oil and gas industry.  Merger and acquisition activity in Aberdeen has been significant in recent years and this has resulted in an extremely demanding period for corporate lawyers across the city, many of which have been stretched to capacity.  As these firms expand their presence in the city, this has seen a period of heavy recruitment with most firms seeking high calibre corporate lawyers to add to their teams.  Those in most demand have been candidates with 3 years+ post-qualifying experience and the ability to hit the ground running on corporate transactions and this period of recruitment has been mirrored in industry as in private practice.  Many firms see the prospects for oil and gas related businesses remaining very positive and as such believe it is essential to place their resources where the strongest market opportunity is, which in recent years has been Aberdeen.  So what makes Aberdeen an attractive place to live and work?

There are many exciting developments happening in Aberdeen at the current time.  The much publicised $1 billion golf resort proposed by Donald Trump could further boost the economy in the north-east, whilst a new community football stadium is also on the cards.  The Aberdeen Sports village is currently under construction and is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2009.  The state of the art facilities will boast a full-sized indoor football pitch, a large games hall, a 400 metre outdoor athletics track, a floodlit water-based hockey pitch and a large fitness suite and performance gymnasium.  Ultimately it is hoped that the development will also incorporate a 50 metre Olympic-sized swimming pool and the village may well operate as a training facility for both the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.  In addition, the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route will improve travel in and around the Aberdeen area, reducing congestion and ensuring that Aberdeen remains a competitive business location.  All of these initiatives will benefit the local economy, increasing jobs in the region, including those for solicitors.

Aberdeen also boasts 5 of the top 12 schools in Scotland and construction is currently taking place to build a number of new, state of the art primary and secondary schools across the region to replace older and dated buildings.  An example of this can be seen at Cults Academy which is being replaced with a new school on the existing site for over 1000 pupils and will incorporate community facilities including a 25 metre 6 lane swimming pool, new playing pitches with an outdoor 400 metre running track and a full-sized all-weather floodlit playing pitch.  The city also has two well regarded universities as well as the largest higher education vocational training college in Scotland at Aberdeen College.  It also has much to offer culturally, hosting 11 festivals annually, and Aberdeen is home to an art gallery, music hall and theatre as well as a number of cinemas.  So not only does Aberdeen offer excellent employment prospects, but it also has a multitude to offer outwith work. 

And finally, contrary to public belief the weather is not always bad in Aberdeen with quite reasonable average temperatures and plenty of sunshine between May and October.  In fact, due to its position, during the summer you can enjoy 18 hour days and long light evenings, making it ideal for the golfers out there!

Alan Clark
Thorpe Molloy Legal and Banking
Tel: 01224 658 865

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