THE availability of candidates to fill permanent job vacancies in Scotland fell last month at the sharpest rate for a year, a survey of recruitment consultancies reveals.

The report, published today by Royal Bank of Scotland, also flags further sharp rises in pay for both permanent and temporary staff placed by recruitment agencies amid the supply shortage.

Nick Stamenkovic, economist at Royal Bank, highlighted the survey’s finding that demand for labour had last month continued to grow faster in Scotland than in the UK as a whole.

He said: “That is a trend that has persisted for some time.”

Mr Stamenkovic added: “The demand side remains robust but there does seem to be increasing evidence of supply shortages. That, in turn, is leading to a rise in wages across the board, both permanent and temporary workers.”

He noted demand for labour was particularly strong in information technology and computing services in Scotland.

The availability of candidates to fill permanent roles in Scotland has been deteriorating since March 2012, according to Royal Bank’s Report on Jobs survey.

The survey also signals a further drop in the availability of candidates for temporary jobs in Scotland last month. Temporary candidate availability has now been falling for nearly two years.

Permanent staff placements in Scotland increased in December at one of the strongest rates since comparable records began more than two decades ago, the survey shows. In the UK as a whole, permanent staff appointments grew last month at the weakest pace since April 2017.

Recruitment consultancies registered further growth last month in starting salaries awarded to permanent starters in Scotland, with the rate of pay inflation “sharp overall, despite moderating slightly since November”. The survey shows “marked” increases in wages paid to temporary staff.