Job vacancies rose at their fastest pace since May 1998 last month, with the technology sector helping to drive the market.
The monthly Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs recorded the strong growth in demand, and says the rate of growth of permanent staff salaries remained "elevated" at the start of the year, holding at a pace broadly in line with December’s six-year peak.
But fuelling a continuing skills shortage was further falls in staff availability with permanent and temporary candidate numbers declining at marked rates, albeit the slowest in three months, said the report.
Engineering and construction were the most in-demand job categories, closely followed by the IT and computing sector.
IT and computing skills and jobs in short supply included C++, developers, general IT, Java, .Net, PHP, project managers, support and technical consultants.
The REC’s Tom Hadley said: "All regions around the country are seeing permanent starting salaries and hourly pay rates continue to grow driven by skills shortages across an ever growing range of sectors.”
Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said: “Employer confidence continues to grow, with the thirst for new staff hitting a fifteen-and-a-half year high in January. In a week showing improvements to UK construction figures and growth across the Eurozone manufacturing industry, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if other sectors begin to report peaks in performance."
Recent data from the Office for National Statistics showed that job vacancies were up 15.2 percent on an annual basis in the three months to December.
Data also signalled that internet-based recruitment spending rose by nine percent in the third quarter of 2013, the sharpest increase for almost two years.