'Good news for job-seekers' as Scots labour market continues recovery from effects of pandemic

The Scottish labour market continued to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic last month, indicating “good news for job-seekers,” according to data out today.

Demand for permanent staff increased for the first time in a year, according to the report from RBS. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.
Demand for permanent staff increased for the first time in a year, according to the report from RBS. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

The latest Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Report on Jobs has revealed that hiring activity rose again, with quicker upturns in both permanent placements and temporary billings recorded amid reports that firms were adapting to restrictions and beginning to fill roles.

Demand for permanent staff increased for the first time in a year. The supply of permanent candidates dipped slightly, however, with panellists commenting that a number were reluctant to pursue new roles due to heightened uncertainty. The permanent candidate availability index registered below the neutral 50 mark, signalling the first reduction in permanent staff supply for nine months.

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Recruiters across Scotland noted the latest rise in the number of temp vacancies, which was sharp against a backdrop of layoffs prompting more people to seek roles – and extending the current sequence of increase to five months. Demand for temp staff rose at a quicker pace than in January.

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Turning to pay, starting salaries rose at a much slower pace and neared stagnation, while the rate of temp wage inflation also eased since January.

Following modest increases in the previous two months, the seasonally adjusted permanent salaries index registered only just above 50 in February – while there was a third consecutive monthly increase in temporary wages across Scotland.

Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at RBS, said: “February data provided further positive signs for the Scottish labour market, as hiring activity continued to rise despite ongoing lockdown measures. Moreover, the upturns in both temp billings and permanent placements gathered pace on the month.

“With firms finding ways to continue operations in spite of restrictions, demand for workers increased during February, a clear sign that Scottish businesses are beginning to focus on growth opportunities when measures are eased.

“All in all, this is good news for job seekers. With more roles available, we should see further increases in placements over the coming months and if the trend continues, the labour market will make good progress in its recovery.”

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