The growth of permanent staff placements reached a 33-month high in December, the latest Report on Jobs from KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Federation shows.
The survey looks at the number of staff, both permanent and temporary, being placed in new jobs using data from recruitment agencies, employers and national newspaper recruitment advertising.
December was also strong for the growth of temporary staff placements, which were at their highest for four months.
Growth in staff appointments was driven higher by a strong increase in job vacancies in December, according to the report, with high levels of demand for new staff recorded in all of the main categories of employment.
However, the growth in demand by staff was accompanied by a decline in the number of available candidates looking for permanent work, as well as a modest drop in temporary candidates, pushing up employee pay in both areas as firms competed for staff.
People services partner at KPMG Michael Carter said: "Within a strong recruitment market, an employer must seek to differentiate itself from its competitors, especially when the figures showed a continued deterioration in the availability of permanent candidates in December."