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Contracting market in Scotland hits 11.5 year peak: rates up, contract numbers high

Contractors are facing buoyant conditions in Scotland, with rates and the number of available contracts rising strongly, according to the Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs for June 2014.

As strong demand for both employees and contractors continues apace, prompting a record drop in the availability of permies, salary inflation has reached its highest in the survey’s eleven-and-a-half year history.

The number of contractors and permies placed by recruiters rose in the month, with workers attracting good rates and salaries. At the same time, a record drop in the number of permies available has seen salaries for employees rising particularly fast. This may be evidence of employers trying to tempt contractors back into permanent work, as a way to ensure the stability of their firms as the market improves

“It’s really encouraging to see not only that June’s Barometer for Scotland has hit a record high in June, but also that there has been a similar upturn in the UK as a whole,” says ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin. “While the headline figures might cause employers to be concerned about the longer-term sustainability of the market, contractors can for now enjoy the luxury of being in a sellers’ market.”

Growth in the amount contractors billed was seen throughout Scotland, with the Barometer noting that that “temp pay rose solidly on the month, and at a slightly faster rate than in the preceding survey period”. Aberdeen was a hot spot, showing particularly impressive rate rises for contractors.

Ranked by strength of demand, core contracting disciplines are performing well, with IT and computing in second place, followed by engineering and construction in third. Accounts and financial contractors are in fifth, with executive and professional interims in eighth.

Bank of Scotland chief economist Donald MacRae is optimistic about the generally positive trend of the Report on Jobs in recent months. He notes that the June figures show an accelerated increase in placements, as demand for staff and contractors surges, leading him to conclude: “The recovery in the Scottish economy looks set to continue.”

Published: 21 July 2014

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