Contractor opportunities rising in Scotland

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Opportunities for umbrella company contractors and other self employed professionals looking for a temporary job are on the rise in Scotland.

This is according to the Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs, compiled by Markit, which showed that there were robust increases in temporary billings in Scotland. However, these increases were occurring at a slower rate than their recent highs.

As well as the increases in temporary billings, there was also a rise in pay due to the fact there has been a decrease in the amount of candidates available.

The main drivers of job postings for contractors were the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen and the video game development centre in Dundee.

Over the course of September, Dundee also saw the sharpest increase in contractor rates as a result of skills shortages in the city. The city saw the biggest decline in available temporary candidates.

Another sector that saw a particularly large rise in temporary job vacancies in Scotland was the nursing, medical and care industry.

However, in Edinburgh's financial centre, there was a slowdown of demand and contractor agency billings.

The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer was measured at 64.9 in September, which demonstrates stronger labour market conditions within the country. It is at a four month low, however, it is still one of the highest levels seen in the history of the series. What's more, for the third month in a row, it has stayed above the equivalent UK index.

Commenting on the results, chief economist at Bank of Scotland Donald MacRae said: "September’s Barometer showed a continuing rise in the number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs, although at a lower rate than recent highs. Starting salary pay rose strongly reflecting the growing lack of available candidates for vacant positions. The Barometer is showing almost four years of monthly improvement resulting in the rate of unemployment in September of 5.5 per cent. The Scottish economic recovery continues.”

Overall, hourly pay rates for temporary staff and contractors increased at a slower rate in September than was seen during August. The rate of inflation in hourly wages was the weakest seen since April 2013.

The average temporary and contract staff billings across Scotland were the weakest seen since May during the last survey period. However, the pace at which these were expanding stayed solid when compared to historical results. September's results follow on from a 43 month high that was seen during August.

There has been a trend towards rising demand for contractors and temporary staff ever since November 2009 and September was no exception. This is why temporary job vacancies were still considered to be strong in spite of the fact they were the weakest seen since May.

It seems that for people considering taking up work in Scotland, there may be opportunities for contractors. The amount of candidates available for temporary vacancies fell markedly during September and the rate of decline was one of the sharpest seen in the survey's history, even faster than last month's steep fall.

By Victoria McDonnell

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