Jobs in Scotland declined at their quickest rates on record in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Royal Bank of Scotland’s latest labour market report.
Permanent staff appointments and temporary positions continued to decline, with pay for both categories falling on weaker demand conditions.
April data signalled a sustained fall in demand for permanent staff in Scotland.
Permanent vacancies fell at the most marked rate in more than 17 years of data collection, with the drop in Scotland outstripping that recorded at the UK level.
Temporary vacancies followed a similar trend, falling for the second month running and at the quickest rate on record.
Sebastian Burnside, Chief Economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “April data laid bare the unprecedented damage that the COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting on the Scottish jobs market.
“Both permanent placements and temporary billings declined at the most marked rates in over 17 years of data collection, with recruiters often blaming hiring freezes, redundancies and company closures.
“Consequently, vacancies for both permanent and short-term staff declined at historic rates. Pay pressures eased notably, as permanent starting salaries fell at the quickest pace on record while hourly wages for temp staff declined for the first time in over seven years.
“That said, things did not look better when comparing this to the UK as a whole during April, as staff placements dropped at an even faster rate at the national level. With no indication of lockdown measures being lifted in the immediate future, the Scottish jobs market will remain in choppy waters for some time to come,” he added.
Pay pressures across Scotland weakened notably during April, the report said.
Salaries awarded to permanent new joiners also dropped for the first time in over seven-and-a-half years, with the rate of decline the fastest in the series’ history.