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Contractor demand in Scotland ends 2014 with solid performance, focusing on Edinburgh

Contractor activity in Scotland ended 2014 with a solid performance and a focus of activity on Edinburgh. The city had the highest level of contractor agency billings for the second consecutive month, alongside experiencing the most marked drop in candidate numbers.

The latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs for December 2014 also shows the core contracting disciplines of IT & Computing, engineering and construction and accounts & financial in third, fourth and fifth place respectively, all showing solid performance.

“The focus of activity on Edinburgh is consistent with the financial sector’s renaissance, particularly when we see continued strong demand growth in the IT and finance sectors,” notes ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin.

“Aberdeen saw the fastest increase in permanent appointments. This is most probably a reflection of oil and gas clients’ focus on hiring permanent staff and encouraging contractors to join the payroll so that they can hoard skills.”

The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer also performed strongly during December, when compared to the previous month. The barometer provides a snapshot of the general health of Scotland’s labour markets, and Bank of Scotland chief economist Donald MacRae was upbeat about the results

“December’s Barometer reversed much of the loss in November with the overall reading at 63.2 showing a strong performance in the month,” explains MacRae.

He continues: “The number of people appointed to jobs rose with particularly strong growth. The number of vacancies rose at a faster pace. These results provide further evidence that the economic recovery continued at the end of last year and looks set to carry on into 2015.”

Although IT, engineering and finance ended 2014 in rude health, the interim market remained sluggish, with the category slipping one place into eighth and last place in the demand league table. The executive and professional market in Scotland has consistently underperformed when compared to the UK as a whole throughout the last 12 months.

Despite increasing demand and falling candidate availability, contractor pay growth in Scotland has also underperformed the UK as whole and growth was at a three-month low during December. It was video games centre Dundee that experienced the fastest pay growth at yearend.

Published: 19 January 2015

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