The number of people placed in permanent jobs in December accelerated at its sharpest rate since March 2010, with salaries rising to their highest levels since October 2007, according to the monthly Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs.
But the availability of staff to fill permanent job roles continued to fall in December, with the latest reduction being the steepest since November 2004, fuelling a skills crisis.
The Midlands registered the steepest increase in permanent placements during December, followed by the North.
Demand increased for all nine permanent staff categories covered by the survey in December, with the strongest rate of expansion being for executive/professional workers, followed by nursing/medical/care, IT and computing, and accounting/financial.
In the temporary/contract staff market, IT and computing saw the fastest growth in demand.
In the permanent IT and computing jobs market, those with Java, PHP and web development skills were amongst those in highest demand along with business analysts. Those with .Net and PHP skills were in high demand in the temporary jobs market.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation's head of policy Kate Shoesmith said: "The UK labour market is starting the new year in robust form. Growing confidence means more and more employers are willing to invest in their workforce and take on more people.
"The real concern now is the mismatch between demand and supply with recruiters reporting that they can't source suitable candidates for vacancies in a whole range of sectors."
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