Demand for staff is at its highest level in 21 months as the number of people seeking jobs has fallen to a near-two-year low.
According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, demand for permanent and temporary staff rose in May as availability dropped at its quickest pace since August 2015.
With demand for workers increasing and supply shrinking, average starting salaries for permanent posts increased at the fastest rate in three months.
Although the survey echoed official data showing that joblessness is at its lowest in 42 years and employment at a record high, it contradicted official pay figures suggesting that earnings are as weak as they have been in a year.
Pay growth for permanent jobs has been accelerating for a year, the employment confederation said. For May, it found that “higher salaries were generally linked to candidate shortages and strong competition for skilled workers”.
The most recent data from the Office for National Statistics showed that wages were rising more slowly than the average of the past year and were lagging behind inflation.
Tom Hadley, director of policy at the confederation, said: “Employers are running out of options. Skill shortages are causing headaches in many sectors.”
The most sought after workers are engineers, nurses and care workers. There was also a sharp increase in demand for construction workers.