Royal Bank of Scotland Jobs Report: Permanent Appointments and Temp Billings Contracted in Sept 2023

According to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland report on Jobs survey, both permanent staff appointments and temp billings contracted sharply in September.

Panellists linked reduced hiring activity “to fewer vacancies, weaker confidence around the outlook, and shortages of suitably-skilled candidates that made it harder to fill any outstanding roles.”:

Notably, demand for staff weakened again, “while the supply of both permanent and temp candidates deteriorated in September, with some workers hesitant to move roles given lingering uncertainty around the economic outlook.”

As a result, competition for skilled and scarce labor “led to further increases in starting pay. Trends diverged, however, as permanent salaries grew at the sharpest pace since June, while temp wage inflation slipped to a three-month low and was modest overall.”

Sharp fall in permanent new hires

Scottish recruiters recorded “a second successive monthly fall in permanent placements during September.” The rate of contraction quickened “from August and was sharp overall.” According to panellists, the downturn was “linked to fewer vacancies as well as some reports of difficulties in sourcing and securing candidates.”

Permanent staff appointments across Scotland fell at a slightly quicker rate than that seen on average across the UK.

September data signaled “a sharp drop in temp billings across Scotland, thereby extending the current run of decrease to a year.” While the pace of reduction eased from August, it contrasted with “a fresh expansion at the UK level.” Recruiters attributed the drop “to weaker demand conditions and candidate shortages in certain sectors.”

Downturn in permanent staff supply remains marked

The availability of candidates to fill permanent job roles in Scotland decreased during September, thereby stretching the current period of decline that began in February 2021.”

Despite easing to a three-month low, “the rate of contraction remained sharp and was broadly in line with the survey average.” Recruitment consultancies noted “that generally tight labor market conditions and skills shortages had weighed on candidate numbers.

Sebastian Burnside, Chief Economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, commented:

“Recruitment activity across the Scottish labour market deteriorated as the third quarter drew to a close. Both permanent staff appointments and temp billings fell at sharp rates, with panellists linking the reductions to candidate shortages and falling demand for labour amid concerns over the wider economic climate. Uncertainty around the outlook also meant that workers were more hesitant to risk a job move, leading to further falls in staff availability. Moreover, ongoing candidate shortages and the increasing cost of living prompted employers to raise their pay offer to attract and secure workers.”

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