Scottish labour market hiring activity has risen again during March, with the number of permanent appointments reaching the strongest rates since 2018.
The latest Royal Bank of ScotlandReport on Jobs found the upturn in temporary billings led to a demand in staff at the end of the first quarter, although supply remained tight as the availability of both permanent and temporary staff declined.
This uncertainty made candidates wary of switching roles, leading to strengthened pay pressures as a lack of available candidates created a greater degree of competition among employers.
The report, compiled by IHS Markit, is based on a monthly survey of around 100 recruitment and employment consultants. It showed a renewed upturn in permanent placements across the UK as a whole last month.
A fourth straight monthly rise in average salaries awarded to permanent new joiners across Scotland was recorded in March The data found it was fastest increase in starting salaries since January 2019.
Anecdotal evidence attributed the latest uptick to greater competition among employers due to a lack of available candidates.
The rate of salary inflation was the sharpest for more than two years, and much stronger than that recorded for the UK as a whole.
The average hourly pay rates for short-term staff across Scotland continued to rise at the end of the first quarter, with the rate of wage inflation quickened to the fastest since last December.
Recruiters across Scotland signalled a back-to-back increase in permanent vacancies during March, with the upturn quickening to the fastest since October 2018.
Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at RBS, commented: “Both permanent appointments and temp billings increased at the quickest rates since late-2018 and rapidly overall, a clear sign that the recovery is gaining significant momentum.
“The number of vacancies also rose sharply in March, as companies upped their hiring efforts amid improved demand conditions. This placed firmer upwards pressure on pay rates, in part due to increased competition for candidates as supply dipped slightly.”
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