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Blog & News

Construction and engineering jobs power ahead

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The regular, monthly report on the state of the Scottish and UK recruitment market, from Markit and the REC (and RBS in Scotland) is always worth reading, principally because it provides an objective snapshot (as opposed to some of the doom and gloom in the mainstream press) of the state of the industry. By extension, that means it also gives our candidates and clients a good perspective on the ease or difficulty with which they will be able to recruit or find a job.

Across the UK as a whole, the good news continues:

  • Perm employees starting salaries continue their sharp, upward trend
  • Wage inflation for new employees is close to a three and a half year peak
  • In Scotland specifically, starting salary inflation has reached a 46-month high
  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that employee earnings rose by 3.1pc in the 12 months to August, the strongest growth seen since 2009
  • Unemployment reached its lowest level in the last 40 years. 
  • Unemployment is expected to fall below 4pc by the end of 2018
  • The REC’s index of job vacancies was at 57.4 in October (any score over 50 indicates growth). This was a rise from 56 in September.

However, from the perspective of recruiters and employers at least, there are the following problems:

  • The REC survey highlighted that staff shortages remain (particularly severe in technology and healthcare)
  • Skills shortages mean that some employees are “job-hopping” to drive up their earnings
  • Overall, recruiters (and therefore employers) are “facing their toughest recruitment market for 20 years" as people shop around for new roles on higher salaries.

It’s interesting to note that across Scotland as a whole, although the rate of growth in temp jobs slowed, it’s still very healthy and demand for staff is currently higher than the UK average.  For permanent staff, “the pace of expansion was substantial and quickened to a four-month peak.”

Where does this leave us? Well, the Engineering and Construction sector shows a figure of 65.5 for permanent roles (down from 68.6 in September) and 59.7 for temp/contractor roles (down quite a bit from an exceptional 71.7 in September).  With any figure over 50 indicating growth, we’re still powering ahead.

Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment


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