Renewed rise in Scottish hiring as wages soar again

The latest Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs survey has revealed to a renewed rise in hiring activity across Scotland in November.

Mild expansions were signalled for both permanent placements and temp billings “amid reports of successful recruitment campaigns and the commencement of projects at clients,” said the report.

Meanwhile, overall pay pressures remained strong, with employers reportedly raising starting salaries and wages to attract suitable workers amid ongoing skills shortages.

The survey reported a “steep rise in permanent starting salaries” across Scotland during November, extending the current run of salary growth to three years.

Starting salaries in Scotland increased at a quicker pace than that seen across the UK as a whole for the sixth month running.

“Following three consecutive months of decline, Scottish recruiters registered a renewed rise in permanent staff appointments during November,” said the report.

“The rate of growth was modest, but nevertheless contrasted with a steep downturn at the UK level.

“Anecdotal evidence linked the rise in permanent placements to a relative improvement in demand in some sectors and successful recruitment campaigns.

“Temporary staff billings rose slightly across Scotland during November. Nonetheless, the upturn ended a 13-month period of decline …

“The availability of candidates to fill permanent vacancies decreased further in November, thereby extending the current sequence of decline which began in February 2021.

“The respective seasonally adjusted index ticked up slightly from October but continued to signal a sharp drop in permanent candidate numbers.

“Growing hesitancy amongst workers to switch roles and a general lack of suitable candidates were linked to the latest reduction in availability …”

Sebastian Burnside, Chief Economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Recruitment activity across Scotland improved slightly in the penultimate month of 2023.

“Successful recruitment drives and the commencement of projects at clients supported increases in both permanent placements and temp billings during the penultimate month.

“The fresh and broad-based upturn in hiring contrasted with a downturn across the UK as whole, with permanent staff recruitment particularly weak at the UK level.

“It is difficult to know whether the increases can be sustained in December and into the coming year, however, given the fall in overall vacancies.

“In terms of pay, a lack of suitably-skilled candidates often led employers to bump up their pay offers to attract the right talent, making it a good time for job seekers if they wish to secure a better paid role.”