THE NUMBER of permanent job vacancies has risen in the last month but at the slowest pace for more than two years, according to the latest figures.
July saw both a rise in demand for staff and an increase in average starting salaries, but in each case the rates of improvement eased and were well below the highs reached one year ago in the Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs.
The monthly survey of more than 100 recruitment and employment consultants in Scotland revealed the growth in demand for permanent staff cooled to its lowest since May 2013.
The bank’s labour market barometer recorded 58.2 last month - well below last July’s survey record high of 67.3 but above the no-change level of 50. Anything above 50 represents an improvement in market conditions and below is a deterioration.
Report authors said three factors led the barometer to drop in July: a slower rise in demand for staff, a moderated rate of decline in candidate availability and weaker pay growth. Supporting the barometer, however, was an accelerated increase in staff appointments.
Donald MacRae, chief economist at the bank, said: “Scotland’s labour market continued to improve in July.
“The number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs rose in the month but the number of vacancies for permanent jobs increased at the slowest pace in just over two years.
“Salary inflation remained solid although slowing to a five-month low. These results show an economy demonstrating both confidence and growth in the second half of 2015.”
Dundee recorded the fastest rise in permanent placements ahead of Glasgow, while Aberdeen was the only region to see a decline.
As well as permanent starting salaries, average hourly rates of pay for temporary/contract staff also increased at a slower rate, the weakest in four months.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I welcome this further evidence that conditions in Scotland’s job market are continuing to improve. The Bank of Scotland report shows that more people in Scotland are finding permanent work, while permanent starting salaries are also growing strongly.
“Office for National Statistics figures published last week show that Scotland’s labour market is performing well across a range of measures, with the highest employment rate and lowest inactivity rate of all four UK nations.
“This Government is committed to helping Scotland’s businesses flourish and building a labour market that provides sustainable and well-paid jobs for all of Scotland’s people, and we will use every power at our disposal to achieve this.”