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Glass half full or half empty? The Markit July figures are looking healthy.

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Construction and Property Recruitment has not had a great press in the last year.  Pick up any paper and you'll see doom and gloom headlines, telling us thatt the major infrasctructure projects (Forth Crossing, etc.) are all finished or finishing.  It all depends on whether you view the glass as half full or half empty I suppose; however, at Peace, we're actually full to the brim, with lots of vacancies and a healthy pipeline of new business.  So, is there a mismatch between what the press writes and what is actually happening on the ground?

Well, there is one reputable source of information on the state of recruitment that we can turn to for some enlightenment.  The monthly Markit surveys, to which Peace and all the other major recruiters contribute their data, are extremely valuable in giving us, as an agency, and our candidates and clients an accurate picture of the state of the recruitment market as a whole, both in Scotland and the UK, and also for each key sector, obviously including construction.

The July report is very positive.  As  the headline paragraph states, "Latest IHS Markit Report on Jobs data for Scotland signalled a sharp improvement in labour conditions in July. Steep increases in both permanent placements and temp billings, alongside robust demand for staff in all sectors all contributed to the latest improvement in the health of the Scottish labour market. At the same time, candidate shortages placed further pressure on pay at the start of the third quarter."

When it comes to construction and engineering, the indices (bearing in mind that 50 means no change and any figure above means growth) for perm and contractor/temp jobs are 66.2 and 70.0 respectively.  In contrast, the UK figure for perm is 62.5 and for temp it's 62.7.  The report notes, "Growth of demand for permanent Engineering & Construction staff in Scotland moderated in July, with the sector falling from second to fourth in the rankings. That said, the rate of expansion remained sharp overall." Bearing in mind that July is our holiday period, I am not remotely surprised by this "moderation."  All in all, we're still seeing healthy growth.  Yes, some of the big infrastructure projects are coming to an end, but let's not talk ourselves down as some of the press are wont to .  The market is still in good nick and there is work out there for those who want it.

Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment



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