Data briefing

Labour shortages are rising, and so are wages

Rising wages are adding to employer costs

Job vacancies have hit a record high, creating significant challenges for many employers – and new opportunities for some workers – as Scotland looks to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

There are now more than a million positions available across the UK and labour shortages are intensifying in key sectors of the Scottish economy – such as agriculture, construction and haulage – contributing to higher prices and disrupted supply chains.

Wages have increased by 7.4% over the last quarter – or by 8.8% including bonuses – as employers compete to attract and retain skills and talent.

This will be welcome relief for many workers and families – especially the low paid – after years of below-inflation increases delivering effective pay cuts. Around half of households in poverty in Scotland are in employment.

However, sharply rising staff costs come at a challenging time for many businesses. One in four are taking on government-backed debt during the pandemic.

Retail footfall is still down by more than 27% despite the easing of public health restrictions.

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