Jobs report for April shows more subdued downturn but candidate shortages remain significant

Jobs report for April shows more subdued downturn but candidate shortages remain significant

Rapid decline in permanent candidate availability, Vacancies fall at a softer rate, Salary inflation quickens

The Scotland Report on Jobs is compiled by S&P Global from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 70 Scottish recruitment and employment consultancies. The latest data by S&P Global signalled pressures easing off the Scottish labour market in April. The Permanent Placements Index pointed to the slowest fall in permanent placements in five months. Meanwhile, temp billings rose for the second consecutive month. Pay pressures jumped in the latest survey period, with starting salaries and temp rates both rising sharply. According to panellists, candidate shortages and the national minimum wage fed through to higher pay rates.

Maryam Baluch, Economist at S&P Global, commented:
“The latest data pointed to a cooler downturn across the Scottish labour market in April. Permanent staff placements, while falling for the fifth straight month, contracted at the weakest rate in the current sequence of decline. Meanwhile, temp billings rose at a faster pace. The data thus hinted towards a more subdued downturn across the Scottish Labour market in the coming months.

Highlights of the report include:

Downturn in permanent placements moderates to five-month low
A fifth consecutive monthly decline in permanent staff placements was recorded across Scotland during April. Surveyed businesses blamed the latest downturn on fewer job opportunities, as well as global political and economic uncertainty weighing on business confidence. Though solid overall, the rate of decrease was the weakest in the current sequence of decline.

Faster growth in temp billings
A strong rise in temp billings was registered across Scotland in April, thereby extending the current run of growth to two successive months. The latest upturn was in part linked to greater demand for short-term employees.

Rapid decline in permanent candidate availability
Scottish recruiters marked a thirty-ninth consecutive monthly contraction in permanent staff availability during April. The pace of decrease quickened from March’s nine-month low and was rapid overall. According to anecdotal evidence, uncertain market conditions resulted in an increased reluctance among candidates to pursue new roles.

Growth in temp staff supply moderates to seven-month low
April data indicated a seventh consecutive monthly rise in temp staff supply across Scotland. Where an increase was reported, recruiters highlighted improved demand for temp roles.

Starting salary inflation ticks up from March’s recent low
Average salaries paid to permanent staff successfully placed by Scottish recruiters rose in April. The rate of growth accelerated from the 37-month low observed in March and was sharp overall. According to respondents, candidate shortages and openings for senior positions drove up salaries.

Moderated contraction in permanent vacancies
A further deterioration in demand for permanent staff was recorded in April, with a contraction noted for the ninth straight month. The rate of contraction, while solid, moderated further since January to the weakest in seven months.

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