Scottish job market and salaries on fire in May

The Scottish job market saw permanent placements in May increasing at the fastest pace on record, while the latest upturn in temporary billings was the most marked since June 2007, according to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs.

Demand for both permanent and short-term staff rose at unprecedented rates during May, but candidate availability deteriorated sharply.

Subsequently, pay pressures strengthened during May.

Permanent salaries rose at the fastest pace since December 2014, while the rate of temp wage inflation was the strongest for over four years.

“The number of permanent staff appointments in Scotland rose further during May, extending the current sequence of increase to five months,” said the report.

“Looser lockdown restrictions and strong demand for candidates drove the rise, according to respondents.

“Moreover, the latest upturn in permanent hiring was the fastest since data collection began in January 2003 and marked.

“The UK also saw a series record rate of increase in permanent placements during May, albeit one that was not as steep as that seen in Scotland.

“A ninth straight monthly upturn in temporary billings across Scotland was recorded during May.

“Panellists attributed the latest rise to increased demand for staff due to the easing of pandemic-related restrictions in most areas.

“The rate of increase gathered notably on the month and was the steepest for nearly fourteen years.

“As was the case for permanent staff, Scotland registered a quicker increase in temp billings than the UK as a whole.”

Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Economist Sebastian Burnside said: “May data pointed to a further steep increase in hiring activity across Scotland as the easing of lockdown measures and subsequent reopening of sectors spurred on the economy and boosted demand for staff.

“A record rise in permanent placements and the steepest increase in temp billings since 2007 shows that the labour market is recovering well from the COVID- 19 induced downturn last year.

“Further positive signs came from staff demand indices, which showed the strongest upturns in temp and permanent vacancies on record.

“Staff supply fell too, however, as lingering pandemic-related uncertainty left many candidates wary of switching roles.

“Nonetheless, a stellar performance in May puts the labour market in good stead moving forward, with the further easing of restrictions likely to provide another boost.”