Another sharp rise in job vacancies in Scotland

Edinburgh's Princes Street

The latest Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs from IHS Markit shows “sharp rates” of vacancy growth during October as employers reported difficulties finding candidates due to strong demand, Covid-19 and Brexit.

Permanent job vacancies in Scotland rose at near-record pace in October.

Recruiters signalled further steep declines in the supply of both permanent and short-term staff.

Consequently, rates of starting salary and temp wage inflation remained close to their all-time highs.

“For the ninth time in as many months, the availability of permanent candidates across Scotland fell during October,” said the report.

“Anecdotal evidence attributed the latest reduction to the pandemic, Brexit, uncertainty among candidates towards switching roles, and surging demand for staff.

“Moreover, the rate of decrease was the second-fastest on record (after August 2014), and quicker than that recorded for the UK as a whole …

“October data pointed to a further steep uplift in demand for permanent staff across Scotland.

“The rate of increase was the second-quickest on record, running close to August’s peak.

“Additionally, the rate of vacancy growth in Scotland outpaced the UK average by a notable margin.

“Across the monitored job categories, IT & Computing registered the strongest increase in vacancies, followed by Engineering & Construction.”

Temporary vacancies also rose steeply in October.

“For the thirteenth month in a row, recruiters across Scotland recorded an increase in the number of temporary vacancies during October,” said the report.

“Moreover, the latest rise was the second-steepest on record (after August), and rapid overall.

“Scotland also recorded a much faster upturn in temp vacancies than the UK as a whole.

“Hotel & Catering reported the strongest rise in temp staff demand during October, followed by IT & Computing.”

Royal Bank of Scotland chief economist Sebastian Burnside said: “Following a survey-record uplift in hiring activity during the third quarter, the latest data point to a slight loss of momentum in the Scottish labour market.

“Permanent placements and temp billings continued to rise steeply, but the rates of increase moderated from September.

“This was in part due to issues finding candidates, as staff supply dropped at a near-record pace in October, as well as strong demand for workers — reflected in vacancy growth running close to recent peaks.

“With the labour market running hot, supply and demand imbalances may limit firms’ abilities to fill roles in the months ahead, while also pushing firms to up their pay offers in order to secure or even retain staff.”