TRENDS

Scottish Engineering has reported no significant rise in wages caused by skills shortages, with latest figures for the three months to January showing average increases staying at 3.5%. This average has remained stable in Scotland for five years. The only explanation for this, according to Scottish Engineering, is that ad hoc increases have been made […]

Scottish Engineering has reported no significant rise in wages caused by skills shortages, with latest figures for the three months to January showing average increases staying at 3.5%.

This average has remained stable in Scotland for five years. The only explanation for this, according to Scottish Engineering, is that ad hoc increases have been made to groups of skilled workers which do not show up on the routine wage awards.

Howard Jordan, Scottish Engineering chief executive, said these payments could add to wage pressures within the next two years ‘because they will create distortions in differentials between different groups of labour’.

Department of Trade and Industry figures show that more than a third of medium-sized companies (50 199 staff) are using Business Links for advice, compared with only 4% of companies with fewer than 10 staff, the so-called micro-businesses, of which there are close to one million in England.

But this 4% accounts for more than 42,000 firms, making up the biggest share of users of Business Links at 45%.

More than 70% of BL diagnostic and consultancy projects were undertaken for small and medium-sized businesses.