Continuing our regular regional series, Robert Smith of Hays Montrose puts the job market in the central belt of Scotland under the microscope
Auld Reekie is often held as a dream city to call home – if you can bear the Arctic-like temperatures of winter. With castles, festivals and miles of glorious coastline and countryside, Scotland's capital is dripping in history, cultured, vibrant and beautiful. So it's no wonder a recent poll of UK workers found that a remarkable percentage would like to eventually relocate to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh has also traditionally been the most active area for construction recruitment within the central belt. However, Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, the European City of Culture in 1990 and UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999, has been quietly waiting in the wings and its construction recruitment is now booming.

Imagine being made redundant, walking into a consultancy, having four interviews organised for you and a job offer five days later. This happened to one applicant at Hays Montrose Glasgow who had just one year's experience as an assistant quantity surveyor. And this is not a rare event.

"Glasgow seems to have a shortage of everything," says Neil Crossan, senior manager at Hays Montrose. "The areas experiencing the most growth are PFI and facilities management."

Hays Montrose Glasgow has recruited more than 150 people, from labourers to project managers and senior quantity surveyors, for an Amey/Miller PFI project. The £220m project involves the refurbishment and new build of 25 schools in Glasgow.

The office is also recruiting in anticipation of the transfer of the city council's houses to the Glasgow Housing Association. The £500m Langside Quay development, which involves the upgrade of land by the River Clyde, is also set to generate recruitment opportunities.

In Edinburgh, several projects have kept contractors busy. Our office is recruiting widely for the New Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, the Royal Bank of Scotland head office and the Harvey Nicholls bus station. Major roadworks are also due to begin, which will be engineering-intensive and create many opportunities.

The Scottish parliament has also created jobs in the area and the office recently recruited architects, technicians, CAD operators, supervisory staff and engineers. A 44-year-old package/project manager was taken on for £30,000 with extensive benefits.

Carol Fyfe, manager of Hays Montrose Edinburgh, expects current and future workload to remain high, making Edinburgh an exciting place to work. Regionally, Hays Montrose is opening new offices, which reflects our confidence in Scottish construction.

Salaries in the area have been creeping up as a result of supply and demand. Five years ago a 25-year-old qualified surveyor would typically have earned £20,000; today the same applicant would earn £26,000. A 30-year-old quantity surveyor five years ago would typically have earned £19-24,000, but today would earn on average £29-35,000 plus benefits.

Finally, Gaelic is a good skill to have on your CV if you want to work in the area as it is often asked for, especially for west-coast jobs. So, flán leat agus beannach deduit (or, for non-Gaelic speakers, good luck and good health to you).