Hiring intentions among Scottish firms have reached their highest levels in almost six years, but there are concerns that companies’ ambitions to expand could be hampered by a lack of suitable candidates.
According to a report published today by accountant BDO, rising optimism amid an economic recovery is encouraging firms to take on more staff, which could see the recent growth in employment continue.
Figures last week showed the UK’s unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 6.9 per cent in February, compared with Scotland’s tally of 6.5 per cent.
Martin Gill, head of BDO in Scotland, said hiring expectations are the strongest since June 2008, and employers may be forced to look overseas to fill their vacancies.
He added: “If we are to avoid skills shortages and the wage inflation that will inevitably follow, we are going to need to attract more workers to our shores.”
Gill’s comments came as the latest report from Bank of Scotland revealed a slowdown in the jobs market north of the Border last month, with wages rising as a lack of available candidates weighed on recruiters’ efforts.
The bank said the availability of permanent workers fell to the lowest level on record, while temporary staff are becoming scarce. Chief economist Donald MacRae said: “The number of candidates available for permanent jobs fell, contributing to a robust rise in starting salaries. This tightening jobs market provides more evidence of increasing business confidence and embedding of the growing recovery.”
The finance sector saw the strongest rise in demand for permanent staff, followed by nursing and medical care, according to BoS.