The latest REC/KPMG Report on Jobs has shown that staff appointments continue to grow in strength, whilst salaries are rising at their fastest rate in six months.

The report, which provides a comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, showed that there was a marked growth in recruitment activity in March, with permanent staff placements keeping pace with February’s growth, and temporary placements slowing only slightly.

Average starting salaries for those in permanent roles grew in March, increasing at their strongest rate since September. Hourly rates of pay for temp and contract staff also rose, at a slower rate, however, than in February.

Availability of staff to fill positions continues to decline, with the past month showing the sharpest drop in availability in four months.

Commenting on the new report, Kevin Green, REC chief executive said: “Almost a third of recruiters say that starting salaries have increased in comparison to last month, and we’ve seen another increase in the number of people that have found a new job via a recruiter.

“This suggests that labour market fluidity is returning – candidates are more confident about looking for work, and there are opportunities to earn more for those that do. Employers need to realise that people are deciding to change jobs because they can earn more than in their current job.

“Increases in starting salary offers are being driven by skills and talent shortages across the economy, and businesses are going to have to think hard about retaining scarce resource.

“We have acute shortages in the public sector, with recruiters reporting that teachers and healthcare workers are hard to find both for permanent and temporary vacancies. As politicians debate skills, education and immigration in the run up to the election, we hope they recognise the potential impact of this skills crisis, because a lack of workers to meet demand threatens the sustainability of our economic growth.”

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