Confidence boost as jobs and salaries both rise

Improving business confidence in Scotland led to a sharp increase in jobs last month, according to the latest report predicting further growth in 2015.

The report found a further sharp increase in average starting salaries for permanent staff in Scotland. Picture: TSPL

Bank of Scotland’s “report on jobs” reading for October was among the most positive in the survey’s history, and comes after recruitment firm Hays predicted a talent shortage north of the Border.

Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: “October saw the labour market barometer reach 65, the fourth highest in the survey history, ­signalling further improvements in labour market conditions in Scotland.

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“The number of people appointed to jobs increased, as did starting salaries. A rise in vacancies confirmed business confidence remains high. The recovery in the Scottish economy looks set to continue into 2015.”

The report found there was a “further sharp increase” in average starting salaries for permanent staff in Scotland last month, while the pace of growth in hourly pay rates of temporary/contract staff rebounded at the start of the fourth quarter and was solid.

Consultancies recorded a “sharp and slightly accelerated” increase in the number of people placed in permanent jobs during October. However, growth in the temporary jobs market eased, reaching its slowest level in five months.

The strongest rise in permanent job openings was in the IT and computing sector, while the sharpest increase in demand for temporary staff north of the Border was in nursing, medical and care.

The availability of candidates for permanent vacancies in Scotland deteriorated further last month, while there was a sharp decrease in the number of people available for temporary positions.

Hays yesterday published its own report, showing that 86 per cent of employers in Scotland expect to encounter a shortage of suitable candidates in the next 12 months. It is the highest percentage across all UK regions.

The survey of more than 10,000 employers and employees indicates that firms are confident their business activity will increase over the next 12 months, with 71 per cent of employers in Scotland planning to increase headcount.

It also shows that 77 per cent of employers in Scotland increased salaries over the past 12 months, higher than the UK overall figure, with salaries for some roles, such as architects, increasing by up to 14 per cent.

Akash Marwaha, managing director of Hays in Scotland, said: “Although salary increases aren’t yet widespread, there are definite pockets of very significant rises, which have been fuelled by skill shortages.”

She said IT, finance, engineering and construction are all “prime areas” for this.

Projects such as the Queensferry Crossing, the M8 project and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route are increasing demand for construction and engineering professionals. The public sector is also actively recruiting across Scotland, according to Hays.