RECRUITERS cited Brexit uncertainty as the Scottish jobs market weakened in October, with permanent placements falling at the fastest rate for more nearly three years.

Permanent placements fell for the fourth consecutive month and at the quickest rate since January 2017, according to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs.

The reduction in Scotland also outpaced the UK-wide trend for the second month running. Temp billings growth continued, but softened to the slowest since June 2016.

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Recruitment agencies across Scotland signalled an increase in permanent vacancies in October, which is a trend which has existed each month for the last nine years.

Growth of temporary vacancies also softened during October. The improvement in temporary staff demand was the slowest since August 2016 and below the series long-run average.

By historical standards, pay pressures across Scotland remained elevated during October and starting salaries awarded to permanent joiners increased sharply.

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Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at RBS, said the October survey data “highlighted further signs of weakness in the Scottish labour market”, adding: “Lingering Brexit related uncertainty was a key factor cited by recruiters weighing on hiring in October. A clearer outlook is needed for the Scottish labour market to regain momentum.”

Vacancy growth eased further, with demand for permanent staff rising at the softest rate for nearly eight years, while the uptick in temporary vacancies also weakened to a 38-month low.

Temporary staff billings continued to rise, but to the softest extent in four months. The trend was mirrored across the UK. However, the pace of expansion remained stronger in Scotland.