January 9, 2018 / 1:03 AM / 4 months ago

UK firms hire permanent staff at fastest rate in four months - recruiters

LONDON (Reuters) - British companies hired permanent staff last month at the fastest rate since August, pushing up starting salaries, recruiters said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO - A man passes a trade exhibition stand at the Careers and Jobs Live careers fair at the ExCeL centre in London April 19, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The figures from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation contrast with the latest official data, which showed a fall in the number of people in work and sluggish pay growth during the three months to October.

The REC said demand for temporary staff remained high - driven by the National Health Service’s need for nurses - and added that employers were also finding it harder to recruit welders, van drivers and coffee shop workers.

“Employers ... are offering increased starting salaries to attract staff but while this has been the case for some time it isn’t translating into significant wage growth across the economy yet,” REC chief executive Kevin Green said.

British unemployment is its lowest in more than 40 years at 4.3 percent and the Bank of England expects this will lead to faster pay growth in 2018 - especially as Britain’s looming departure from the European Union in March 2019 is likely to reduce the inflow of workers from elsewhere in the EU.

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce

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