Candidate shortage continues as job market suffers

The latest Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs survey has yet again reported that permanent staff availability across Scotland fell in December — stretching the current period of decrease to 35 months.

The report said salaries awarded to newly-placed permanent staff “increased sharply” across Scotland in December and that the rise in salaries was primarily driven by candidate shortages.

“The pace of decline (in candidates) remained sharp despite easing to a three-month low,” said the report.

“According to recruiters, fewer workers were willing to risk a job move in the current economic climate …

“The reduction in the number of workers seeking permanent positions across Scotland contrasted with the marked upturn in permanent staff availability at the UK level.”

The chronic shortage of job candidates was reported as the jobs survey signalled a fresh decline in permanent staff appointments across Scotland during December.

“The pace of reduction was the strongest since April, as growing economic uncertainty weighed on hiring decisions and discouraged workers from seeking new roles,” said the report.

“However, temp billings rose further in December, highlighting a preference for temporary staff amongst employers.

“Candidate shortages meanwhile continued to push up starting salaries, though the rate of inflation eased notably from November.

“Temp wage growth also softened at the end of the year.

“Finally, overall demand for staff weakened further, with both permanent and temp vacancies declining markedly in December.”

The report added: “Scottish recruiters registered a marked fall in permanent vacancies during December.

“Moreover, the rate of contraction was the strongest since November 2020. Demand for permanent staff also weakened at the UK level, but only marginally.

“Across the eight monitored sectors, Blue Collar and Engineering & Construction recorded the joint-fastest falls in permanent vacancies.

“Meanwhile, Nursing/Medical/Care defied the broader trend by reporting an upturn in permanent staff demand.

“As has been the case since August, Scottish recruiters noted a fall in temp vacancies in December. Moreover, the rate of contraction was the most marked in three-and-a- half years.

“Meanwhile, demand for temp staff across the UK as a whole rose slightly.

“Engineering & Construction noted the quickest decline in short-term vacancies, followed by Executive & Professional.”