November data has highlighted mixed hiring trends across the Scottish labour market, with permanent placements declining at the quickest pace for four months, amid reports that companies were suspending hiring due to tougher lockdown measures.
Meanwhile redundancies drove a rising availability of candidates, although the rate of growth in the supply of both permanent and temporary staff slowed from October.
The latest Royal Bank of Scotland report also revealed that efforts to cut back on expenses led to a fall in permanent salaries across Scotland and a slight dip in average hourly pay rates for short-term staff.
Meanwhile, the number of permanent staff appointments across Scotland continued to decline in November, extending the current sequence of reduction to 10 months.
The latest fall was the quickest since July and visible due to reports that companies were suspending hiring plans because of the pandemic.
A third successive monthly rise in temporary billings across Scotland was recorded in November. The rate of increase slowed slightly from October, but was still sharp overall. At the UK level, growth of temp billings eased on the month and was not as strong as that seen in Scotland.
According to survey respondents, redundancies linked to the pandemic has led to a higher number of job seekers. The rate of increase was the softest recorded in the current six-month sequence of expansion, but noticeable nonetheless.
Recruitment consultants in Scotland signalled another fall in salaries awarded to permanent new joiners during November. The rate of deflation slowed from October, but was still solid overall, according to RBS.
Following a slight uptick in the previous survey period, average hourly pay rates for temporary staff in Scotland declined in November. The rate of reduction was only fractional overall, however, and much slower than those reported earlier in the year at the height of the pandemic.
Recruiters across Scotland also signalled a further reduction in the number of permanent vacancies in November. The rate of decline was the slowest since the current sequence of reduction began in March; but still sharp.
Demand for temporary staff across Scotland rose for the second month running during November. Moreover, the rate of growth quickened, with the rise in Scotland also outpacing that seen at the UK level.
Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, commented: “In the face of substantial uncertainty, firms have turned to short-term staff to fill roles, with temp billings rising sharply again amid a faster uptick in demand for short-term staff.
“Increasingly encouraging news on vaccines will give firms and workers hope that growth can get going again in a matter of months.
“The extension of the furlough scheme to the end of March will be a key support to many businesses and families through the winter.”