Scotland sees rise in contractor billings

Monday 18 May 2015

The work available for contractors was on the rise in Scotland during April, according to the latest Report on Jobs from Bank of Scotland. This follows on from months of softening in the Scottish contract market.

Sectors that saw the sharpest increase in demand for temporary staff were nursing, medical and care and IT and computing. However, the rate of growth in these sectors had eased considerably since March. Yet most sectors continued to see an increase in demand, with the executive and professional sector being the only one that recorded a decrease.

It was found that weekly billings for contract staff increased slightly during April. While there was an increase in demand for temporary staff at this time, it was the least marked for more than two years. Compared to historical standards of the survey, it was relatively modest.

The region of Scotland that saw the largest rise in temp billings was Dundee. Meanwhile, Edinburgh saw the fastest rise of permanent placements, while Aberdeen saw a decline in both permanent and temporary placements.

At the same time, the number of contractors available was in decline in certain regions. The rate of decline of temporary staff available was much faster in April than was seen during March. Edinburgh saw the fastest decline in available temporary candidates. Meanwhile, Aberdeen saw a broad-based rise in the number of candidates available.

In terms of pay, the report showed that there were marked increases for both permanent starting salaries and hourly rates for temporary workers. Dundee was the region that led growth of starting salaries for permanent workers and temp hourly pay rates. The only region where staff renumeration decreased was Aberdeen.

At the start of March, rates of pay for temporary staff were recorded as stable. Since the start of April, contractor pay has returned to growth.

Bank of Scotland's Labour Market Barometer registered at 59.1, which is a 22-month low. A score of 60.6 was measured in March. Even so, any mark above 50.0 is a sign of improvement in the labour market and April's mark is well above that.

Chief economist at Bank of Scotland Donald MacRae said: “Scotland’s labour market continued to improve in the month. The number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs rose modestly while the number of vacancies increased in the month. Starting salaries rose sharply and temp pay rates increased. These results suggest the Scottish economy continued to grow, albeit at a modest pace, in April.”


By Victoria McDonnell

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