Don't we know it! While Peace Recruitment on its own isn't necessarily a barometer for the economy, the montlhy survey by Markit of recruitment agencies (to which we contribute) shows clearly just how strong the recruitment market in Scotland is at present. As their report says, "Permanent staff vacancies in Scotland rose substantially in February. In fact, growth of demand was the sharpest of all five monitored UK regions."
This also applies to contractor/temp roles, where Markit reports, "Recruitment consultancies in Scotland reported a further increase in billings received from the employment of short-term staff in February. In fact, the rate of growth was sharp and quickened to a five-month high. Contract staff billings also rose sharply across the UK as a whole, with the pace of expansion accelerating since January. However, the rate of growth observed for Scotland was greater than the UK average for the first time since September of last year."
When we look at their construction and engineering category specifically, the figure for permanent roles for February has increased from January, from 57.3 to 60.4, where any figure above 50 represents an increase on the previous month. For contractors, the increase was from 54.8 in January to 56.4 in February.
The other good news, at least from the point of view of prospective job-seekers if not employers, is that salary inflation is continuing to grow. Clearly, the imbalance between strong demand and tight supply is having the expected result, albeit there is quite some catching up to be done after years of much slower wage inflation.
All in all though, the February Markit report mirrors what we're seeing on the ground here are Peace. We might not be a barometer for the economy just yet, but we're certainly a reflection of the overall picture, which is positive and augurs well for the next few months at least.
Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment