U.K. permanent staff hiring picks up: Survey

Starting salaries also continue to rise

LONDON (Reuters) — Hiring of permanent staff via British recruitment firms increased at the fastest pace in four months in October and starting salaries also picked up, according to a survey that pointed to a further recovery in the labour market.

After worries about a new, higher minimum wage prompted a sharp slowdown in hiring in September, policymakers will be heartened by the latest monthly report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and accountants KPMG.

But staff availability continued to decline at a sharp pace and growth of permanent salaries picked up in October after hitting a 20-month low in September.

Britain's labour market recovery is key to the outlook for the Bank of England as it gauges when to raise interest rates from record low levels.

On Thursday the BoE gave no sign that it was preparing for a rate rise soon as it said Britain's near-zero inflation would pick up only slowly.

The REC said the labour market recovery should continue apace, although there were questions about its longer-term sustainability due to persistent worries about skill shortages.

"Starting salaries continue to rise as businesses battle to attract the people they need but it's unclear how much longer this trend can continue," Kevin Green, REC chief executive, said.

Accounting and financial workers were the most sought-after permanent staff in October.

Britain's unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in more than seven years in August but pay growth was a bit lower than expected.

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