Scotland business

Recruitment experts call for 'agile' immigration system

Carpentry worker Image copyright Getty Images

The future immigration system must be agile enough to adapt to evolving labour market needs, recruitment experts have warned.

The latest Markit Report on Jobs for Scotland found sharp rises in permanent and temporary job placements in April.

Growth in temporary staff demand was also at its highest in nearly a decade.

However, recruiters said success was threatened by declining candidate availability as employers struggled to bring in the skills they need.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said whichever party formed a government after the general election on 8 June must safeguard access to workers the country needs from abroad, as well as invest in UK jobseekers.

The jobs report found growth in permanent appointments continued for the third month running in April, with the fastest rate of expansion for 21 months.

This contrasted with a slowdown recorded across the UK as a whole.

There was also a sharp increase in temporary placements - the steepest since August 2014.

However, the availability of workers fell further in April, with the sharpest drop in the availability of permanent staff in nine months.

Meanwhile, availability of Scottish temporary candidates declined at the quickest pace in nearly two years.

Image copyright Getty Images

The IT and computing, nursing/medical/care and hotel and catering sectors saw the highest growth in demand for permanent staff, while nursing/medical/care, IT and computing and engineering and construction led the way for temporary staff.

The report also found that average salaries for permanent starters in Scotland rose sharply in April, while the rate at which temporary pay increased in Scotland was the fastest recorded for a year.

'Ever-shrinking pool'

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: "The resurgence of the Scottish jobs market continues for the third month running.

"Demand for temporary staff is at the highest level recorded in almost 10 years as employers seek to manage Brexit uncertainty and meet consumer demand.

"News that starting salaries for permanent roles are increasing will also be welcome - there's a lot to feel good about north of the border."

He added: "Declining candidate availability is a threat to this success, because employers are struggling to bring in the skills they need.

"If British business is to thrive, then whichever party forms a government after 8 June needs to address the ever-shrinking pool of suitable candidates by investing in skills and career advice for UK jobseekers as well as safeguarding access to the workers we need from abroad.

"It is vital that the future immigration system is agile enough to reflect and adapt to evolving labour market needs."

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