Good news for Scottish contractors as market picks up
For several months, contractors in Scotland have been facing concerns that the market for their skills has been softening, making it harder to find work and causing rates for available contracts to drop. However, this situation appears to be turning around as contractors in core disciplines such as IT and computing, engineering, finance and accounting are finding themselves more and more in demand. Many independent professionals were concerned about their prospects, with some considering moving or at least expanding their search to find work in a climate that seemed unfavourable for months.
However, the latest Bank of Scotland report on jobs has shown that the number of available contractors decreased significantly in April, in line with figures that show increased demand for their services. Whilst this may be good news in the short term for those who are seeking work in Scotland, there are concerns that if the trend continues in this direction, it could lead to skills shortages such as those which have plagued recruiters in the rest of the UK for the last few months.
Although the increase in demand for contractors was not as marked as has been seen over the last two years, there has been some growth in billings which had been stable for the first quarter of the year and have now returned to growth, much to the relief of those in the industry. Dundee was one of the areas of Scotland which saw a significant rise during April, and as the so-called video games capital of the UK that demonstrates that the sector is thriving. The only major city in the country that saw a dip in the agency billings for contractors was Aberdeen, which commentators have attributed to the fact that low oil prices are continuing to affect the whole sector.
The Bank of Scotland’s chief economist, Donald McRae, is pleased with the findings of the report, which also showed that starting salaries are on the increase as well as the rates of pay for temporary workers. He believes that this is an indicator that the Scottish economy as a whole is starting to grow, albeit relatively slowly at the moment.
These findings are echoed by the Bank of Scotland’s Labour Market Barometer which is used to provide a snapshot of the overall health of the market, showing a low which has been overcome to reach a positive figure since April.
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