Scottish jobs outlook 'best in six years'

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The jobs outlook in Scotland has returned to pre-recession levels and is continuing to catch up with the rest of the UK, according to a business survey.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey found that Scotland's outlook was ranked positive on its scale, at +5%, slightly lower the UK outlook of +6%.

The survey is based on the responses of 2,100 UK employers.

They are asked whether they intend to increase or reduce the size of their workforce in the next economic quarter.

After a long period lagging behind the rest of the UK, the outlook in Scotland has jumped to levels last seen in 2007, the survey suggested.

This continued an upward trend in hiring intentions in Scotland following an improvement in outlook of the same level in the last quarter.

'Salary expectations'

Amanda White, operations manager at recruitment firm Manpower, said: "People in Scotland have demonstrated that they are keen to work and fortunately we have seen their employment prospects continue to rise this quarter.

"There are roles across a number of sectors including production, manufacturing and commercial, and we have noticed a demand for people with good sales skills."

However, she cautioned that some companies had been reducing their workforce, and choosing candidates with the required skills already in place rather than training them up in post.

Ms White added: "We have also seen candidates taking roles below their salary expectations due to a lack of opportunities in some areas.

"We would advise candidates to boost their chances of getting a good position by taking the time to write a good CV and including as many areas of achievement as possible."

Overall the picture across the UK was mixed, with some evidence of a north-south divide re-emerging in England.

The south east and south west of England were the most optimistic, on +12% and +11% respectively. London was at +7% while the east of England was +11%.

But conditions remained tough in the north of England, with the outlook for the north east at -1% and the north west at -2%.

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