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Scotland – Temporary billings up, permanent placements unchanged

16 September 2013

Temporary billings in Scotland rose at their strongest rate since May 2013, according to the latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs. Permanent placements during August remained unchanged from July’s record pace.

Scottish recruiters attributed the rise in appointments to improving market conditions and greater client demand, with the latter increasing at an accelerated pace. Concurrently, candidate availability deteriorated and average wages and salaries increased, albeit at weaker rates than one month previously.

The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer – a composite indicator designed to provide a single figure snapshot of labour market conditions – signalled a further improvement in Scotland’s job market during August. At 59.7, down slightly from July’s 60.3, the Barometer was the second-highest since September 2007, and consistent with a marked rate of growth.

Donald MacRae, Chief Economist at Bank of Scotland, commented: “August’s Barometer was at the second highest level since September 2007. The number of people appointed to permanent jobs rose sharply, while the number of vacancies for permanent jobs increased at the strongest rate for over two years. There were marked increases in demand for staff in IT, Computing, Engineering and Construction. Rising business confidence is translating into increasing employment and a further strengthening of the recovery in the Scottish economy.”

Dundee reported the fastest increase in average temporary billings while Aberdeen continued to post the strongest rise in permanent staff appointments in August. Dundee and Aberdeen posted the strongest deteriorations in permanent and temporary candidate availability, respectively. Recruiters based in Edinburgh reported the fastest rate of inflation for permanent salaries in august, while Dundee-based agencies registered the strongest increase in temporary worker hourly pay.

There was a marked rise in temporary hourly pay, albeit the latest increase was the weakest in three months. Permanent salaries increased for the sixth consecutive month in August, but the rate of inflation was modest and the weakest in this sequence.

The number of temporary job vacancies increased at a marked pace in August. Moreover, the rate of growth accelerated for the third month running to the fastest for almost six years. Demand for permanent staff rose markedly and at the fastest rate since July 2011.

The number of candidates seeking temporary and contract work fell at the second-strongest pace since December 2004. The availability of permanent staff deteriorated at a marked rate in August, but at a slower pace than July’s six-year peak.

Demand for temporary staff increased in seven sectors, the only exception being the Executive & Professional sector. The strongest rate of vacancy growth was recorded for the Nursing/Medical/Care sector, where the latest expansion was the strongest since data collection began in January 2003.

All eight sectors posted a larger number permanent vacancies in August, led by the IT & Computing sector. The weakest rise was reported for Blue Collar, although the increase reversed a reduction in July.     

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