Scotland’s job market continues to improve

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A rise in average pay levels and in the number of vacancies underline a continued improvement in the job market, according to a bank’s report.

The number of people appointed to permanent positions also continued to rise in September but the rate of growth slowed from the previous two months, Bank of Scotland said.

Its monthly Report On Jobs suggests that average pay increased at the sharpest rate for six years.

Aberdeen experienced the largest increase in posts filled for permanent jobs, while Dundee saw the biggest rise in the number of people taking up temporary positions.

Overall, the labour market barometer, which aims to provide a snapshot of conditions, rose slightly from 59.7 in August to 60 in September, only marginally below July’s six-year peak of 60.3.

Anything above 50 on the barometer suggests growth and under 50 suggests contraction.

The bank report covers eight employment sectors: medical; engineering and construction; financial; IT and computing; catering; clerical; blue collar; executive and professional.

Demand for permanent workers increased in all sectors, with IT and the engineering and construction sectors offering the most positions.

For temporary jobs, only the executive and professional sector recorded fewer vacancies than last month, with all other sectors recording a rise.

Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: “September’s labour market barometer showed a continuing improvement in Scottish job market conditions.

“The number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs increased while growth in vacancies was marked.

“The engineering and construction sectors saw the highest rate of vacancy growth for almost two-and-a-half years.

“This is further welcome evidence of the strengthening of the recovery in the Scottish economy.”

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “These figures signal an improvement in Scottish job market conditions. They are to be welcomed and illustrate the significant economic progress being made in Scotland. This was the 35th consecutive month of improvement.

“While times remain challenging, compared with the same quarter in 2012, Scotland’s economy has grown by 1.8% compared with 1.3% across the UK, helping to create more jobs and opportunities for the people of Scotland.

“They follow recent labour market figures which show that employment in Scotland is outperforming the UK.

“With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence, the Scottish Government could do yet more to strengthen our economy and create more jobs.”