Scots job market has ‘best quarter on record’

The IHS Markit Report on Jobs for Scotland for June has indicated a “sharp improvement of labour market conditions.”

“Steep growth in demand for both temporary and permanent staff, alongside sharp expansions in permanent staff placements and temp billings, all pointed towards stronger market conditions for workers in the Scottish economy,” said the report.

“On the pay front, salary pressures remained steep overall during the latest survey.”

The report said growth in demand for both temporary and permanent staff in Scotland remained at “historically high levels” in June.

The increase in temporary staff demand was particularly steep, with the latest data indicating the highest rate of growth since October 2004.

Meanwhile, despite easing from May’s recent peak, June rounded off “the best quarter for growth in permanent vacancies on record.”

Although also signalling sharp levels of growth, the UK as a whole saw slower rates of increase than in Scotland.

Sub-sector data indicated that IT & computing had the largest rise in vacancies in June.

Engineering and construction was another one of the top performing sectors.

Scottish recruitment consultancies reported steep increases in both temporary billings and permanent staff placements, with the former registering the fastest growth — the quickest in nearly three years.

The UK as a whole also recorded sharp rates of growth in placements overall, albeit slower than north of the border.

The latest data indicated that the number of candidates available for vacant permanent positions in Scotland fell in June.

That said, the rate of decline was slightly weaker than that seen across the UK as a whole.

Temporary staff availability also deteriorated sharply in Scotland, albeit to a lesser extent than that seen at the UK level.

Pay pressures remained elevated in June, with data indicating notable increases in both permanent salaries and temp wages.

In the case of salaries, growth was the fastest for nine months.

That said, rates of inflation were slower than those seen at the UK level.

Recruitment & Employment Confederation director of policy Tom Hadley said: “With fewer people currently looking for jobs, employers are having to increase starting salaries to secure the talent they need.

“This is creating great opportunities for people with in-demand skills who are prepared to change jobs, but it’s also putting unsustainable pressure on many businesses.

“Existing skills shortages are being exacerbated by Brexit.

“Scotland already has 43,000 EU nationals working in the wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants.

“Policies which make it more difficult to recruit and retain these people will put business growth at risk.

“Investment in training the domestic workforce is vital to the long-term health of the jobs market, but it won’t allay employers’ fears about losing access to workers from the EU.

“The government needs to outline a five-year roadmap for post-Brexit immigration policy to enable businesses to plan effectively, and so the UK economy can flourish.”