Increases in Scottish contractor pay ‘sustained in Jan’

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Increases in the rates of pay for contractors in Scotland was sustained in January 2014, according to the latest Report on Jobs from the Bank of Scotland. This is the eleventh consecutive month that rates have increased. 

This is despite the fact that contractor demand growth slowed in the country. However, it was noted that all core contracting disciplines still exhibited strong signs of growth.

Furthermore, this slower rate of growth did not prevent falling contractor availability as more temporary workers found posts. 

In addition, the Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer found that when contractors and permanent workers were both taken into consideration, the jobs market has achieved levels not seen since the pre-recession era. 

Donald MacRae, Bank of Scotland chief economist, commented: “January [2014] showed a further marked improvement in Scotland’s labour market, returning the Barometer to pre-crisis levels of 2007.

“The number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs increased rapidly while vacancies rose sharply across all sectors.”

In terms of different sectors, contractors in IT & computing - a historically strong discipline for temporary employees - have seen demand growth fall between December 2013 and January 2014. However, this sector managed to stay in second place for demand over all contracting sectors. 

Elsewhere, engineering fell three places from third to seventh. This remained just above the blue collar sector, which ranked in eighth place for the second month in a row. It is likely that the poor performance of these two sectors are telling about the state of the oil and gas sector demand, as both are heavily influenced by this industry. 

Accounts and financial, meanwhile, experienced a boost in demand growth, and subsequently climbed from sixth to fourth place. This represents contractors in Scotland’s financial sector, indicating this industry is gaining traction around the UK.

Meanwhile, the interim market in Scotland looks to be faltering slightly, with the executive and professional category falling to seventh place from fifth, and demand growth significantly slowed. 

Meanwhile, research into contracting in England indicated that engineering is currently the most in-demand sector in the country. 

Engineering contractors were most in demand in January, according to the Report on Jobs from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG. 

Demand for all nine types of temporary and contract staff saw an increase at the start of 2014. The slowest category in England was found to be construction.

It was also found that the high level of salary growth seen in December, when it hit a six-year peak, was maintained at the start of the new year.  

Overall, temporary jobs were filled at a rate that was just below than the previous month’s 15-year high. 

Tom Hadley, of the REC, commented: “The squeeze on people’s finances continues to dominate the news but this month’s data shows there is hope for workers.”

He also noted that Britain’s building boom and major infrastructure projects are likely to have contributed to demand for engineering and construction workers. He added that recruiters are finding it difficult to source the right candidates for such positions. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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