Scots job market improves despite candidate shortage

Permanent staff placements rose for the first time in five months in November to provide a tentative sign of recovery in Scottish labour market conditions, according to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs.

Temporary billings also rose, although the rate of increase eased to a modest pace.

However, both permanent and temporary candidate availability deteriorated at marked rates.

As has been the case in each month since March 2012, permanent candidate availability deteriorated in November.

The supply of temporary candidates in Scotland also declined in November, with the rate of deterioration quickening to the fastest since June.

“For the first time since June this year, recruitment consultancies across Scotland signalled an increase in the number of permanent staff placements in November,” said the report.

“The uptick was only marginal overall, however, and softer than the series historical average.

“Nonetheless, the rise in Scotland contrasted with a fall at the UK level, where permanent placements declined for a ninth consecutive month.”

Sebastian Burnside, Chief Economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Permanent placements rose for the first time since June in November, a positive sign for the Scottish labour market.

“However, the rate of increase was only marginal, with political uncertainty continuing to weigh heavily on firms’ hiring decisions.

“Subdued hiring trends were also seen for short-term workers, as temporary billings growth eased to the softest in five months.

“Nevertheless, Scotland outperformed the UK as a whole in November, as permanent placements at the national level declined for the ninth consecutive month.

“Meanwhile, labour demand and supply imbalances led to further increases in pay, though overall pay pressures showed signs of softening in November.”