By Karen Peattie

PERMANENT staff appointments declined in March at the steepest rate since April 2009, according to the Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs.

Temp billings also fell at the quickest pace on record as the coronavirus pandemic hit the Scottish jobs market.

The demand for both permanent and temporary staff declined with the fall in permanent vacancies the first since September 2010. Meanwhile, the contraction in temp demand was the quickest since June 2009. At the same time, candidate availability continued to deteriorate.

Recruitment consultancies in Scotland signalled a rapid decline in permanent staff appointments during March with the rate of contraction the most marked since the global financial crisis in April 2009.

Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic weighed heavily on the Scottish labour market in March.

“Permanent staff placements fell at the steepest rate since the global financial crisis over a decade ago, while temp billings declined at the sharpest rate since data collection began over 17 years ago.

“At the same time, demand for both permanent and short-term staff declined, with panellists reporting that firms had stopped hiring amid the coronavirus pandemic. The reduction in permanent vacancies was the first since September 2010, while the fall in temp staff demand was the fastest since mid-2009.

“Overall, latest data highlighted the substantial impact of emergency measures and shutdowns that have taken place due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the vital importance of the Government schemes put in place to safeguard livelihoods during this exceptional time.”