Bank of Scotland’s Jobs Report Dips Sharply

Michelle Remo, “Big 4″ observer
September 17, 2012 /

The latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs signalled a further reduction in permanent placements in August. Temp staff billings meanwhile increased for the second month running.

That said, demand for permanent and temporary staff slowed further, with the rates of vacancy growth at seven and six-month lows respectively. Meanwhile, permanent candidate availability fell sharply from July, and average salaries increased for the first time since May.

The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer – a composite indicator designed to provide a single figure snapshot of labour market conditions – signalled only a modest improvement in Scottish job market conditions. Although the Barometer rose from 50.2 to a three-month high of 52.4, it nonetheless remained below the long-run series average of 53.4.

Donald MacRae, Chief Economist at Bank of Scotland, commented: “The Scottish labour market showed a welcome improvement in August with increases in temporary jobs and a rise in vacancies for both permanent and temporary jobs. However, appointments to permanent jobs fell for the second successive month illustrating the challenge of maintaining the overall trend of increasing employment. The Scottish economy is showing resilience in the face of the global slowdown.”

The fastest reduction in permanent placements was recorded for Aberdeen. The only region to see a decline in temp staff billings was Edinburgh, while Dundee posted the strongest growth of short-term appointments.

Recruitment firms based in Glasgow and Dundee saw the sharpest deteriorations in permanent and temporary candidate availability respectively. Edinburgh-based recruitment agencies saw the strongest increases in both permanent salaries and temp hourly pay rates during August.

In contrast to the previous two months of reductions, average permanent salaries increased in August, albeit only modestly. Temp hourly pay rates rose further, with the rate of inflation at a five-month high.

Permanent placements fell for the second month running in August, with the rate of decline accelerating from July. Following the trend that was reported one month previously, temp staff billings rose further in
August.

Demand for permanent staff rose further in August, but the latest increase was only modest and the weakest since January. Vacancy growth in the temporary job market eased to a six-month low, although remained solid
overall.

There was a marked deterioration in the availability of permanent staff, with the corresponding index falling to its lowest since October 2007. Temp candidate availability fell to the greatest extent since November 2007.

A larger number of permanent job vacancies were recorded for six employment sectors, with IT & Computing seeing the greatest monthly increase. However, declines were posted for both the Secretarial & Clerical and Blue Collar sectors. Seven employment sectors saw an increase in temp vacancies in August. The only exception
was Blue Collar, which saw broadly the same number of available job roles as in July.

A key tool in the Monthly Labour Market Report is the Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer. The Barometer is a composite indicator devised from four key measures: demand for staff; employment; availability for work (inverted); and pay in the permanent and temporary markets.

The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer remained above the 50.0 no-change mark in August, suggesting a further improvement in Scottish job market conditions. At 52.4, up from 50.2 in July, the Barometer was the highest in three months, but nonetheless consistent with only a modest improvement overall.

Meanwhile, overall UK job market conditions were broadly unchanged from those reported one month previously.

The UK index rose from 49.2 to a three-month high of 49.9 in August, and was only slightly below the neutral threshold.

Three constituents of the Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer exerted a positive directional effect in August, with the only exception being staff placements.

 

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