By Daniel Hunter

The latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs indicated growth of both permanent and temporary staff placements in March. The strongest rise was for permanent appointments, which more than reversed a reduction in February.

Higher placements generally reflected greater demand for staff, but the rates of vacancy growth remained weaker than their respective long-run series averages. Meanwhile, permanent salaries increased in the latest survey period, following no change one month earlier.

The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer — a composite indicator designed to provide a single figure snapshot of labour market conditions — registered 53.0 in March, consistent with a moderate improvement in Scottish job market conditions. Moreover, up from February’s seven- month low of 51.2, the Barometer signalled a faster rate of growth, which was also stronger than the UK average (52.3).

Donald MacRae, Chief Economist at Bank of Scotland, commented: "This latest Barometer for March shows a welcome rise from the low of last month. The number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs rose while the number of vacancies increased. These results reinforce the view that the Scottish economy is continuing its slow recovery from recession."

Regional analysis

• Although Aberdeen posted the strongest rise in permanent appointments in March, it was also the only region to record a reduction in temp staff billings.

• Dundee-based recruitment consultancies recorded the greatest improvement in candidate availability for both the permanent and temporary job markets.

• Permanent salaries increased at the fastest rate in Aberdeen during March, while the strongest rise in temp hourly pay was posted in Glasgow.

Wages and salaries

• Average starting salaries for permanent staff placed by Scottish recruiters rose modestly in March, following no change in February.

• In contrast with a reduction one month previously, temp hourly pay rates rose modestly during the latest survey period.

Employment

• Higher permanent staff placements in March more than reversed a fall in February.
• Temp staff billings increased for the ninth consecutive month in March, but the rate of growth was only marginal and the weakest in this sequence.

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