HiJOBS data reveals Scottish annual salaries are showing signs of a bounce

Abbeyfield care home in Ballachulish

NEW DATA analysis over the last three years by Scottish recruitment website HiJOBS has revealed some striking changes and emerging trends with regard to annual salary and hourly rates across the country. 

From the immediate response to the strained economic conditions post-COVID, to dealing with the impact of Brexit and cost of living crisis, businesses have been adapting their recruitment strategies in reaction to market volatility and the need to appeal to a wider talent pool.

Key findings from the Q1 data analysis by HiJOBS include:

  • A comparison of Q1 2021 to Q1 2023 indicates a healthy rise of 15% in the median hourly pay rate in Scotland, compared to the median annual salary, which declined by 1%. 
  • However, in the same Q1 period in 2022 vs 2023, Scotland experienced a rise in annual salaries (6%), as well as in hourly pay rates (8%).
  • Pay growth in Care, Construction and Energy sectors has been particularly strong each year since 2021, with median hourly pay rates rising 21%, 36% and 13% respectively from Q1 2021 to Q1 2023.

Having emerged from the Covid pandemic in 2021, the data suggests a ‘firefighting’ short-termism came into play by employers as they battled economic volatility, with Scotland’s job market providing better paid short-term opportunities, particularly in hospitality, care and driving vocations. However, this may have been at the expense of longer-term career roles, with jobs advertised on an annual salary basis saw stagnation or decline in pay over the same period.   

Brexit, too, has played a major role – with a smaller pool of candidates to fill positions, stiff recruitment competition continues to drive up pay rates for jobs advertised on an hourly rate basis. In some Scottish beauty spots this has been exacerbated by a lack of affordable housing for potential new employees from other parts of the country. 

The divergence in pay trends was also reflected on a regional level:

  • In Greater Glasgow, annual salaries fell 19% between Q1 2021 and Q1 2023, while hourly rates increased by 17%. 
  • In Edinburgh and the Lothians, annual salaries dropped 3% between Q1 2021 and Q1 2023, while hourly rates increased 13%. 
  • The picture in Aberdeenshire was more positive overall but maintained a disproportionate boost for hourly pay: hourly rates were up 20% while annual salaries were up 6%.

More positively, many employers are actively choosing to offer increased flexibility, including part-time hours, to appeal to a wider pool of candidates, attracting students and older people potentially coming out of retirement to top-up their income to help cope with the increased cost of living. 

A comparison of Q1 2022 to 2023 paints a different picture, with a rise in annual salaries as well as in hourly pay rates seen across Scotland. The median hourly pay rate rose 8% year-on-year while the median annual salary increased 6%. Pay growth in Care, Construction and Energy sectors was particularly strong:

  • The median hourly pay rate for jobs in Care jumped 21% year-on-year (Q1 2023 vs Q1 2022) to £13.90, with the median annual salary up 11% to £27,897.
  • The hourly pay rate in Construction, Trades and Property leapt 36% year-on-year to £22.27, with annual salaries stepping up 12% to £34,834.
  • Hourly pay for jobs in Energy increased 13% to a median rate of £15.05, with annual salaries up 8% to £32,766.

Laura Saunders, Commercial Director and Founder, HiJOBS said: “The difficult economic environment of the past two years has inhibited long-term investment in people, as well as in other parts of businesses and public sector organisations. Many employers, like much of the general public, were operating in survival mode; plugging immediate ‘front line’ staffing gaps while holding back on investment in longer-term career positions. Jobseekers in Scotland can now take some heart that the data suggests rising pay available across a large range of geographies and sectors, with increasing opportunities for flexible and part-time work.”

Dominic Duffy, Abbeyfield Ballachulish Care Home, said: “Nurses and carers have long been in demand, and in recent years competition for staff has only increased, with Brexit certainly having an impact. Driven by Scottish Government policy, we know that pay in the Care sector in Scotland has risen particularly fast, and at Abbeyfield Ballachulish we always offer above minimum requirements for the whole team. A career in Care can be so rewarding for reasons other than pay, but it’s important that remuneration is more than keeping up with the increased cost of living.”

HiJOBS is the Scotland-dedicated job site which puts the candidate at the centre of the online experience. With nearly 1400 jobs currently posted in 956 towns and villages from Shetland to the Scottish Borders, over 80% of the workforce in the Highlands and Islands are registered with the site.

For further information on job opportunities across Scotland visit hijobs.net.

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