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Contractor skills shortages threaten Scotland’s economic growth

Contractor skills shortages are threatening Scotland’s economic growth, as demand for highly skilled contingent workers outstrips supply, particularly in Dundee’s video gaming centre. The only sector showing a surplus in candidates is Aberdeen’s oil and gas centre, as major projects continue to be cancelled as a result of sustained low oil prices.

“There remained a strong appetite among Scottish businesses for new hires in August, with the latest data showing a sharp and accelerated increase in demand,” highlights the Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs for August 2015. Recruitment consultancies reported a further deterioration in candidate availability in August.

The report goes on to say: “The availability of candidates for jobs declined. These results suggest the Scottish economy continues to grow but at a lower rate than this time last year.”

Contractor Calculator CEO Dave Chaplin believes that Scotland’s contract market offers opportunities to contractors in the wider UK: “IT and financial contractors who are struggling to find contracts in the UK’s regions could find Scotland presents a rich seam of potential projects,”

According to Donald MacRae, Chief Economist at Bank of Scotland, contractor numbers increased, but with a backdrop of skills shortages: “The number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs rose in August as did the number of vacancies.

“The availability of candidates for jobs declined. These results suggest the Scottish economy continues to grow but at a lower rate than this time last year.”

Aberdeen is the “worst performing region”, which is no surprise considering the ongoing oil and gas industry challenges. In contrast, the report notes that: “Recruiters in Dundee recorded the fastest rises in both permanent placements and temporary billings.” This reflects that the UK’s world leading video games industry remains in good health.

IT & computing is second in the demand league table, followed by engineering and construction in third place. Despite its seventh place, accounts and financial remains firmly in growth territory, in contrast to the interim market, that languishes in eighth place for yet another month.

Published: 21 September 2015

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