Vacancies in Scotland continue to rise, but applications tumble

Vacancy numbers in Scotland remain resilient but applications are on a continuous decline

VACANCY numbers in Scotland remain resilient, but applications are on a continuous decline. That’s according to recent research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

The data, provided by the world’s largest network of job boards, Broadbean Technology, revealed that the IT sector accounted for the lion’s share of new jobs, followed by building & construction and engineering. Medical and nursing also featured in the top ten. There were more than 12,000 IT jobs listed alone across Scotland, which is perhaps unsurprising considering the acceleration and increased adoption of technology, both during and after the pandemic.

While Scotland’s vacancy numbers increased, the data collected on applications per vacancy (APV) tells a different story. Last year saw the number of individuals applying for roles down 40% on pre-pandemic figures with building & construction and medical & nursing reporting low levels of candidates (averaging just nine and seven applications per vacancy retrospectively). With both featuring in the top ten for the number of new vacancies, the data shows a significant dearth of in-demand talent in Scotland.

When analysing the statistics by cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow generated the highest number of new jobs last year, accounting for over half (54%) of total vacancies across Scotland. The capital dominated in IT jobs, with nearly 6,300 new roles recorded, but Glasgow led the way in engineering with just under 2,000 jobs added. Conversely, Scotland’s two largest cities did not fare anywhere near as well on APV rankings, indicating that there are simply not enough professionals to support the cities’ recovery and growth plans. Perth and Kinross reported the greatest number of IT candidates, averaging 38 applications per vacancy, while Aberdeen took the top spot in engineering, recording 33 applications per job.

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo, commented:

“Our latest data clearly demonstrates a sector-wide demand for staff across Scotland. However, the tumble in applications poses a challenge for both employers and recruitment teams. If Scotland’s hiring landscape hopes to make a full recovery and continue on the growth trajectory we’ve witnessed recently, there is an immediate need to address this dearth of resources. APSCo has highlighted a number of methods to help alleviate the skills shortages in the UK, including greater flexibility in Apprenticeship Levy usage to support the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, as well as the integration of an attractive work visa for self-employed highly skilled contractors.”

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