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Contractor availability in Scotland declines sharply, worsening skills shortages

Contractor demand continues to outgrow availability in Scotland, as the supply of candidates for contracting roles fell sharply in June 2015, worsening already acute skills shortages. This suggests that contractors in the wider UK who are short of work should consider relocating.

According to the latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs for June 2015, contracting vacancies increased in six of the eight categories monitored by the survey, with engineering and construction coming out top of the demand league table. Other core disciplines such as IT & computing and financial services came in fourth and fifth respectively.

“The number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs rose in the month while the number of vacancies increased. Permanent staff pay saw a sharp increase while hourly pay rates for temporary staff rose moderately. These results suggest an economy continuing to show moderate growth,” highlights Donald MacRae, chief economist at the Bank of Scotland.

Despite the reported decrease in the supply of candidates, overall contractor agency billing statistics across the country have looked promising, with June marking the fastest increase in billings since October last year, extending the current sequence of growth to five months in the process. Edinburgh, home to Scotland’s financial district, led the way in this regard, however it also witnessed the biggest fall in candidate availability.

Meanwhile, the faltering oil and gas sector meant Aberdeen was the only region where declines in contractor agency billings were recorded, although candidate availability there has increased.

Due to the high demand, contractors have been receiving marginally improved pay packets as businesses attempt to secure contractors amongst a pool of shrinking candidates.

Contractors in Dundee’s video gaming sector are enjoying the sharpest increase in contracting hourly rates, although the modest rate of inflation proved to be the slowest in three months.

“All in all, things are looking mostly promising for contractors in Scotland,” notes ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin. “Although in June we only witnessed marginally improved contracting rates, the trends we are witnessing in terms of contractor vacancies and candidate supply means those contracting in Scotland won’t find themselves short of work any time soon.”

Published: 20 July 2015

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