​Contractor demand on the rise and could lead to skills shortages in Scotland

Thursday 24 October 2013

​According to the September 2013 publication of the Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs, contractor demand in Scotland is on the rise - particularly in industries such as IT, engineering and construction.
In fact, the upsurge in vacancies, which has been going on for several months now, could potentially lead to a critical skills shortage, and recruiters may find themselves struggling to find qualified engineers and technicians for every job opening.
As well as the industries already mentioned, other sectors that are experiencing high levels of demand include nursing and medical care, accounts and financial, hotel and catering, executive and professional, secretarial and clerical and blue collar.
Aberdeen, which is a prominent part of the country's oil and gas industry, has seen the strongest increase in permanent places for five months in a row - and it once again achieved a high level of job growth.
Meanwhile, Dundee - also known as the UK's video gaming capital - had the greatest rise in temporary appointments.
In terms of candidate availability, Dundee experienced the sharpest decrease in permanent candidates, while Aberdeen reported the highest reduction in temporary staff availability.
Commenting on the latest findings, Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland said: "September's Labour market Barometer showed a continuing improvement in Scottish job market conditions." He explained that the number of people who were appointed to permanent and temporary positions continued on an upward trend and that vacancies are also on the increase.
"The engineering and construction sectors saw the highest rate of vacancies growth for almost two-and-a-half years. This is further welcome evidence of the strengthening of the recovery of the Scottish economy," he added.
In addition to the rise in contractor demand, it also seems that wages are on the increase. According to the report, Aberdeen-based recruitment agencies recorded the fastest rates of inflation for both permanent and temporary positions.
Across the country, however, it seems that the rate of inflation for permanent wages is the fastest seen in six years - and there's good news for temporary hourly pay as well, with the rate of increase just slightly less than those seen in July when figures reached an eight-year record.
In addition to its monthly Report on Jobs, another tool that Bank of Scotland uses to monitor the jobs market is the Labour Market Barometer. This is a composite indicator devised from measurements of the demand for staff, employment, availability for work and pay in both permanent and temporary markets.
In September, the barometer showed a reading of 60.0 - a slight improvement from August's 59.7. Meanwhile, the September reading for the whole of the UK was slightly lower at 59.2.
Back in July, the Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs showed that permanent appointments had risen at the highest rate since records began, while the Labour Market Barometer for Scotland hit its highest point since September 2007.
At the time, Mr MacRae announced that this was good news for the country: "These results suggest rising business confidence is translating into a continuation of the recovery in the Scottish economy this summer."

By Victoria McDonnell

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