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7 April 2017, 05:32
Brexit will exacerbate shortages of suitable candidates for jobs, a recruitment body has warned as a report showed growth in demand for staff.
The number of permanent staff appointments rose for the second month running in March, according to the Markit UK Report on Jobs: Scotland.
There was also an increase in temporary placements, which showed the sharpest rise since August 2014.
Demand for permanent staff rose at the quickest rate for 25 months in March, while Scottish recruiters reported the steepest increase in demand for temporary staff since September 2014.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) warned leaving the European Union might make it harder for employers to find the right candidate for the job.
REC chief executive Kevin Green said: "Finding people to do the jobs on offer is rapidly becoming employers' biggest headache and many are reporting an increasing number of white collar jobs as hard to fill, including in the IT and financial sectors.
"Shortages of appropriately skilled, willing and able candidates was a problem before the referendum. Our concern is that Brexit will make the problem worse, particularly if onerous restrictions are imposed on people coming from the EU to work.
"Also, economic uncertainty about future prospects is having a detrimental effect on employees' willingness to risk a career move at this time, which seems to be driving down candidate availability. Our data shows that although candidate availability is deteriorating in Scotland, it's not so dire as in London and the South.''
The nursing/medical/care sector led growth in demand for permanent staff in March, with IT and computing remaining in second place.
Engineering and construction saw the biggest rise in demand for temporary workers, followed by the nursing/medical/care sector.
The hotel and catering industry was the worst performer, and was placed at the bottom of the rankings in terms of both temporary and permanent job vacancies.
Average wages for temporary/contract staff rose sharply in March, accelerating for the second month running, while average salaries for permanent staff also increased markedly.
Anecdotal evidence indicates a shortage of talent had driven up pay rates, the report stated.
Mr Green said: "This shrinking talent pool of available candidates means that businesses are boosting the starting salaries and hourly rates they are prepared to offer to the right candidate.
"So for job hunters willing to move roles at the moment, there are financial rewards on offer - especially it seems in finance, IT and other management and office-based professional roles.''
The Markit UK Report on Jobs: Scotland survey of recruitment and employment consultancies is based on information provided by a panel of around 100 consultancies operating in Scotland.