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Confidence should benefit employees

A third of Scottish firms to offer above-inflation pay rise

PayHopes of a real rise in the standard of living emerged today after more than a third of Scottish firms said they will be offering above-inflation pay rises to their staff this year.

A survey revealed that 36.7% will make inflation-busting awards while almost nine in ten (86%) said they will increase salaries, the second highest number across the UK, only bettered by 87% of businesses in the east of England.

The Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) shows a more positive employment outlook with 49% of business leaders saying more jobs will be created in 2015 against 41% this time last year.

Kevin Engel, Managing Partner for Grant Thornton in Scotland, said: “Scottish business continues to demonstrate real resilience. We are already seeing record levels of Scottish employment, and our data suggests the labour market will continue on its positive trajectory.”

A Bank of Scotland report published today was less optimistic about economic conditions and pointed to business activity falling in January because of bad weather. This was its lowest since September 2012 and follows 25 consecutive months of growth.

Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: “Business activity in the private sector of the Scottish economy fell in January affected by severe weather.

“Activity dropped in both the manufacturing and services sectors, but levels of employment and new business were maintained.  New export orders showed an encouraging increase.

“The first month of 2015 has given the recovery in the Scottish economy a sharp, weather-related jolt reminiscent of the bad weather effect of four years ago.”

However, MacRae said he expected growth to resume this month.

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