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16 February 2015, 08:33
The growth in permanent job placements slowed to a 22-month low last month, a new report has found.
January's Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs indicated that there was a cooling in Scotland's jobs market at the start of the year,
Growth of staff pay moderated from recent highs, while demand for staff increased at a reduced rate.
Meanwhile, candidate availability continued to deteriorate rapidly last month, with the supply of candidates for permanent positions falling more quickly than those for temporary roles.
The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer fell from December's 63.2 to 60.0 in January, its lowest reading since September 2013.
The barometer measures areas such as levels of staff demand, employment and wages to create a single-figure snapshot of labour market conditions.
The figure is measured against a baseline of 50, with anything aboverepresenting an improvement and anything below a deterioration.
Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "Scotland's jobs market continued to improve in January but showed signs of cooling. The number of people appointed to permanent jobs rose but temporary appointments fell.
"Vacancies continued to increase across most sectors accompanied by a rise in starting salaries although lower than December's near-record high.
"This Report on Jobs suggests the Scottish economy continues to grow at the start of 2015 but at a slower rate than the end of last year.''
The report found that the rate of growth in permanent staff demand was the joint-lowest in the past 16 months, while the latest increase in demand for temporary staff, although solid overall, was actually the weakest since May 2013.
In January, the rate of growth of permanent salaries was strong but, having eased notably from December's near-record high, it was the weakest seen for 14 months while growth of temporary pay was the weakest for 21 months.
The IT and computing sector saw the strongest increase in demand for permanent staff while nursing/medical/care recorded the fastest growth in temporary job vacancies in Scotland.
The report said: "Causing the Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer to dip in January were slower overall increases in staff placements, pay and demand for new hires.
"The availability of candidates for vacancies meanwhile decreased at a slower rate, also acting to weigh on the barometer.''
Scotland Office Minister David Mundell said: "Today's Bank of Scotland jobs report shows a rise in the number of people going into permanent jobs and a rise in starting salaries.
"With employment rising and rates higher than the UK average it's clear our businesses are making the most of the opportunities that comes with being part of the UK with a shared currency, pensions and a large and diverse single economy.
"Five years on, our long-term economic plan has cut tax for business, created incentives for new jobs, cut the country's deficit and helped businesses grow and create jobs. Together with record levels of Scottish employment and over two years of successive economic growth there is optimism for businesses and communities in the months ahead.''