RBS: Permanent staff placements in Scotland continues to decline in November
Permanent job placements declined at the quickest pace for four months in November, according to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs.
The decline came amid reports that companies were suspending hiring due to tougher lockdown measures, while temp billings rose sharply.
Meanwhile, redundancies reportedly drove a further robust increase in the availability of candidates, although the rate of growth in the supply of both permanent and temporary staff slowed from October.
Turning to pay, efforts to cut back on expenses led to a solid fall in permanent salaries across Scotland and a slight dip in average hourly pay rates for short-term staff.
Permanent placements also declined at the UK level in November but the rate of reduction was noticeably softer than in Scotland.
However, a third successive monthly rise in temporary billings across Scotland was recorded in November. The rate of increase slowed slightly from October but was still sharp overall.
At the UK level, growth of temp billings eased on the month and was not as strong as that seen in Scotland.
Recruiters across Scotland signalled another increase in the supply of permanent staff during November. According to respondents, redundancies linked to the pandemic had led to a higher number of job seekers. The rate of increase was the softest recorded in the current six-month sequence of expansion but noticeable nonetheless.
An eighth successive monthly improvement in the availability of temporary staff across Scotland was recorded in November. Panellists widely attributed the latest rise to COVID-19 related redundancies. Although sharp, the latest uptick was the slowest since April.
Recruitment consultants in Scotland signalled another fall in salaries awarded to permanent new joiners during November. The rate of deflation slowed from October but was still solid overall.
Permanent starters’ salaries also declined at a slower rate at the UK level in November, though the overall reduction was steeper than that recorded in Scotland.
Following a slight uptick in the previous survey period, average hourly pay rates for temporary staff in Scotland declined in November. The rate of reduction was only fractional overall, however, and much slower than those reported earlier in the year at the height of the pandemic.
At the UK level, temp wages fell for the eighth month running, with the latest decline quicker than that seen in Scotland.
Recruiters across Scotland signalled a further reduction in the number of permanent vacancies in November. The rate of decline was the slowest since the current sequence of reduction began in March but still sharp.
Demand for temporary staff across Scotland rose for the second month running during November. Moreover, the rate of growth quickened to a solid pace, with the rise in Scotland also outpacing that seen at the UK level.
Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at RBS, said: “Tighter measures to limit the spread of coronavirus translated into tougher conditions for Scottish job seekers in November. Permanent staff placements declined at the quickest rate since July, with recruiters noting that some firms had once again put hiring plans on hold. Opportunities were harder to find as the number of permanent vacancies also fell sharply.
“In the face of substantial uncertainty, firms have turned to short-term staff to fill roles, with temp billings rising sharply again amid a faster uptick in demand for short-term staff.
“Increasingly encouraging news on vaccines will give firms and workers hope that growth can get going again in a matter of months. The extension of the furlough scheme to the end of March will be a key support to many businesses and families through the winter.”