Two in three Scottish employers plan to take on new staff as business confidence climbs above pre-pandemic levels, a survey has indicated.
Some 67% of Scottish employers intend to recruit in the three months to September – up from 45% six months ago and 41% this time last year, according to a quarterly survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The labour market outlook survey involved more than 2000 UK employers covering all sectors of the economy.
The CIPD, which specialises in human resources and job training, said the number of Scottish employers planning on redundancies “has settled around 9%, compared to 32% in summer 2020”.
This suggests the end of the furlough scheme “should be a relatively smooth transition with minimal job losses”, it added.
Across the whole of the UK, about a quarter (26%) of employers in hospitality, arts and entertainment were looking to hire last summer. The figure for this summer is 72%.
In transport and storage, the figures has risen from 33% to 65% of employers looking to hire over the same period.
Both sectors have been hit by both Covid-19 and changes to immigration rules after Brexit, and are suffering from widely reported labour shortages, the CIPD said.
Nearly half (44%) of employers with hard-to-fill vacancies say they plan to upskill existing staff, about a quarter (26%) said they would hire more apprentices, and 23% said they would raise wages.
CIPD Scotland head Lee Ann Panglea said: “Employers are very optimistic, indicating strong recruitment intentions and redundancy expectations appear much lower than originally predicted during the pandemic.
“As the furlough scheme winds down, employers will no longer be able to flex their workforce to meet demand by rapidly expanding and contracting staffing levels at minimal cost.
“Recruitment and retention will have to pick up the slack as employers look to plug any gaps in their workforce.
“In the absence of labour supply in some sectors, employers will need to think more long-term about how they meet skills needs.
“Organisations should look carefully at their recruitment and retention strategies, and consider where they need to develop these, for example by increasing investment in training and reskilling.
“Employers also have a huge role to play in improving working lives and fair work principles should be kept in mind when building retention and recruitment strategies.”
The survey also indicated more than three-quarters (77%) of employers in Scotland are planning a pay review in the 12 months to June next year.
Among these, more than a third (37%) expect a pay increase, seven per cent expect a pay freeze and just two per cent expect a pay decrease, the CIPD added.
About two-fifths (39%) said it is “hard to tell and will depend on organisational performance”, it added.