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Good news for the Scottish contractor market after new figures released

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According to the latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs, there was a ‘marked increase’ in the recruitment of IT contractors in February. The report provides an indication of the state of the Scottish jobs market from the point of view of a recruiter, and in this instance it revealed that the ‘strongest increase in vacancies in three months’ was in the engineering and construction sectors. Across the country, billings amongst temporary and contract-based staff rose at a marked pace during the latest survey period, which reflects a greater demand for new staff around the country. Likewise, the Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer – a composite indicator designed to provide a single figure snapshot of labour market conditions – posted 55.2 in February, up from 53.2 in the previous month, and was the highest reading since January 2008.

Commenting on the findings, Chief Economist at Bank of Scotland Donald MacRae said, “The Barometer improved for the fifth month in a row posting 55.2 in February, the highest reading in thirty-seven months and closing the gap with the UK as a whole. Permanent appointments to jobs grew at the fastest rate since December 2009, while temporary staff billings also grew in February. All eight employment sectors recorded an increase in demand for both temporary and permanent workers, with a noticeable pickup of growth in engineering and construction vacancies. However, we need these improvements to be sustained throughout the year to begin to reduce unemployment.”

With figures like this to back up the improvements in contracting opportunities in Scotland, now could be a great time to consider contracting if you already live there – or equally to consider a move to the North for the right contracting opportunity! The job market in this area represents a compelling mixture of opportunity and job security, and over the past few years Edinburgh’s employment rates in particular have reached an all-time high, surpassing those of any city in England.

Edinburgh is ranked as the largest financial centre in the UK after London, with Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS and Standard Life all having headquarters in the city. Head offices in other industries also include Heineken and Thus, At an overall level, the workforce in this region enjoys a reputation at the forefront of various sectors including science and technology, finance, tourism and the arts. There are a number of project coming up in Edinburgh over the next year and beyond which will make ideal contracting opportunities, for example the Forth Replacement Crossing, the ‘Transport 2030 Vision’ programme and the development of the Edinburgh Waterfront Promenade. Likewise in Glasgow there will also be a number of opportunities, not least of which is the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Last, but by no means least, is Aberdeen – the Oil and Gas capital of the UK, thanks to its position as the ‘gateway to the North Sea’. Over 20,000 onshore contractors are based in the area and there are numerous companies in the city which have grown through their links to this highly lucrative industry – covering everything from oil and gas exploration, drilling services and oceanographic mapping, through to support services such as training, drilling equipment and parts, and consultancy services. All the major players, and many of the minor ones, have offices in Aberdeen, including oil companies such as BP, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Transocean, Shell, Total and Chevron, plus service companies like Petrofac, AMEC, Halliburton, PSN, Aker and The Wood Group. Nearby Westhill is also home to Acergy, Subsea 7, Technip, Baker and Schlumberger. For more information on becoming an Oil and Gas Engineer please visit our guide on ‘How to become and Oil and Gas Contractor‘.

There are a number of developments happening in Aberdeen which will provide opportunities for contractors in many sectors over the coming months and years – and most specifically in those sectors which are involved in, or support, the construction industry. These include the Aberdeen airport expansion, Aberdeen Crossrail, the Aberdeen Western Peripheral bypass, Trump International Golf Links and the Aberdeen Sports Village.

For more information, and for other regional contracting guides, see the links below (we will be adding more guides over time):

If you have any questions about contracting or would like any further advice please call our new business team on 01442 275789 or e-mail:

Visit our Contractor News page for all other news. To discuss this story further visit our SJD Accountancy Blog

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