Employees in the IT and computing sector were the most in-demand type of permanent staff in September, just ahead of the hotel and catering industry, as per the latest jobs report by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
The report also found a shortage of labour has meant a significant jump in salaries being offered – they increased at the fastest rate in 24 years.
Hotel and catering continued to see the steepest increase in demand for short-term staff at the end of the third quarter.
Executive/professional workers registered the slowest increase in vacancies, although growth was still sharp overall.
The report was compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of about 400 UK recruitment consultancies.
It found that recruitment activity continued to rise rapidly across the UK in September.
There is robust demand for staff as an end to lockdown restrictions has seen a huge jump in economic activity and improved market confidence.
Overall, vacancies increased at one of the quickest rates on record, with growth of permanent staff demand remaining quicker than that seen for temp workers.
But at the same time, there is a near-record fall in candidate availability.
This is due to “a greater demand for staff, a generally high employment rate, fewer EU workers [due to Brexit complications] and a lack of confidence among employees to switch roles due to the pandemic," the study said.
September survey data showed a further substantial drop in the availability of staff, with the rate of deterioration easing only slightly from August's all-time record.
This imbalance of supply and demand for staff has led to further upward pressure on rates of starting pay.
Salaries being given to new permanent joiners and wages offered to temporary staff both increased at the fastest rates in 24 years of data collection.
“We have all seen how labour shortages have affected our everyday lives over the past few weeks, whether that’s an empty petrol station or fewer goods on supermarket shelves," Neil Carberry, CEO of the REC.
This has been in part due to a major shortage of lorry drivers, which some estimates put at being as much as 100,000 workers short.
Read more: Army begins delivering fuel to forecourts
Carberry said the labour crisis is “a major challenge to businesses’ ability to drive the prosperity of the UK in the months and years to come – supporting families and paying the taxes that fund public services".
He urged the government to work in partnership with business to deliver sustainable growth and rising wages.
This includes introducing policies that encourage business investment and skills development.
Claire Warnes, head of education, skills and productivity at KPMG UK, added: “The end of the furlough scheme should be bringing tens of thousands of new people to the jobs market, but many do not have the right skills to transfer to the sectors with most demand. “
“Reskilling and supporting people to move jobs which are in demand needs to be speeded up. Otherwise we may see these clear tensions in the labour market turning into a workforce crisis in many sectors.”
Meanwhile a recent report by CV-Library found that the number of jobseekers registering their resumes on its job board were up 5% on the last quarter across all industries,
Sectors with the biggest rise in CV registrations included driving (up 40%), transport and logistics (up 36.7%) as well as counselling and teaching.
And the number of jobs posted across the country continues to break records and exceed any previous levels, up a further 10% when compared to the last three-month period.
However, candidates aren’t applying for many of these jobs.
CEO Lee Biggins said: “With increasing volumes of people registering their CV over the last quarter, there is a clear discrepancy between expectations from jobseekers and employers.”
Watch: What to ask in a job interview