Permanent and temporary staff appointments rise in Scotland

The Scottish labour market lost momentum at the beginning of the year but remains strong, according to a jobs report.

Permanent staff appointments and temporary postings were up in February but there was a slowdown in growth, the Royal Bank of Scotland noted.

The latest survey results extended the run of growth in permanent appointments to 25 months and contrasted with the UK as a whole, where permanent placements “stagnated”.

Demand for both temporary and permanent workers also rose strongly.

Permanent staff availability declined, although at a softer pace than in recent months, while temporary staff shortages were also apparent across the UK.

Scottish recruitment agencies meanwhile pointed to further growth in pay last month.

Salaries awarded to permanent staff starting work rose sharply, despite the rate of inflation easing to the slowest since March 2017.

Short-term pay rates in Scotland also increased, according to the monthly survey of around 100 recruitment and employment consultants.

Nick Stamenkovic, senior economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The latest report was mixed.

“Permanent appointments slowed markedly in February, continuing the recent trend, but remain in positive territory.

“Temporary staff billings also slowed last month, albeit modestly.

“However, vacancies for permanent staff continued to increase at a healthy pace in February whereas demand for temporary staff has clearly weakened recently, dropping below the long-term average.

“The upshot is that pay pressures for permanent staff have eased to their lowest level since March 2017, below the UK average, and to a lesser extent for temporary workers.

“All in all, the Scottish labour market has lost a bit of momentum in early 2019 but remains strong, keeping upward pressure on pay.

“With inflation moderating, real incomes continue to improve, a key support for consumers.”