By Daniel Hunter

The latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs indicated a further strong rise in permanent placements at the beginning of 2013, albeit at its slowest rate in three months, with Scottish recruitment agencies generally citing improved economic conditions.

Demand for staff also rose in January, particularly for temps, and contributed to a further rise in average pay. Notably, the latest increase in permanent salaries was strong and the fastest since last May.

The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer — a composite indicator designed to provide a single figure snapshot of labour market conditions — continued to indicate an improvement in Scottish job market conditions in January. At 53.9, the Barometer was above its long-run series average and the equivalent index for the UK. However, down from December’s 19-month high of 56.0, the Barometer nonetheless signalled the weakest improvement since last October.

"January’s Barometer signalled a continuing improvement in Scottish job market conditions," Donald MacRae, Chief Economist at Bank of Scotland, commented.

"The number of people placed into permanent jobs remained strong while vacancies for both permanent and temporary staff grew in the month.Demand for permanentstaff was highest in engineering and construction suggesting a modest pick-up in activity in this crucial sector in the coming spring. These results reinforce the hope that the Scottish economy enjoyed moderate growth in January 2013."

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