RBS research

Post-lockdown hiring boom over as activity slows

Construction, housebuilding
Construction is one sector to see a decline (pic: Terry Murden)

The post-lockdown hiring boom is over and increased uncertainty is weighing on business decisions, according to new data pointing to a weakening in recruitment.

Research from Royal Bank of Scotland shows sustained downturns for both permanent and temporary staff and a steep deterioration in vacancies.

Recruitment problems were exacerbated by a mis-match of skills with starting salaries and temporary wages rising for the 35th month running in October as firms raised their pay offers to secure scarce and suitably-skilled candidates.

The number of people placed into permanent job roles also contracted at the UK level, and at a sharper pace than that recorded in Scotland.

Across the eight monitored job categories, Engineering & Construction posted the strongest reduction in temporary vacancies, followed by Executive & Professional.

Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, commented: “The latest data highlighted ongoing weakness across the Scottish jobs market. Hiring activity was cutback, with recruiters noting softer demand for both permanent and temporary staff in October.

“Moreover, souring demand for labour could lead to further reductions in recruitment in the months ahead. The data therefore suggest that the post-lockdown hiring boom is long over, and that increased uncertainty surrounding the economic climate is weighing on business decisions and candidate movement.

“Another prominent feature of the survey is skills shortages, which make it difficult for employers to fill roles.

“As a result, pay pressures remain elevated by historical standards, as clients have to raise their starting salaries and wages in order to attract and secure suitable staff.”

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