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Demand for employees at its highest for over two years

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The jobs market could be returning to its pre-credit crunch levels.

According to the latest Report on Jobs survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the growth in permanent positions last month was at its fastest since July 2007.

The survey, which covered 14,000 recruitment agencies and consultants, also found that temporary staff placements in December were rising at their fastest pace for 30 months.

Average earnings for permanent employees were on the up too, the second consecutive month in which they have climbed.

Kevin Green, the REC’s chief executive, said: “As we head into 2010, the recovery of the UK jobs market is accelerating. Employer confidence is increasing and vacancies are on the up – with the fastest growth in permanent jobs since July 2007.Temporary and contract placements also rose at the sharpest pace for thirty months which underlines the crucial role that flexible working models will play in helping job-seekers back into work.”

However, Mr Green went on to point out that, despite the increase in demand for both temporary and permanent staff, the jobs market looks as if it will stay very competitive, particularly for younger people.

He added that it was essential that the government’s pledge to invest over £1 billion in creating 400,000 new youth job and training opportunities is met, and that the government ensures that new EU regulations on agency work do not curb the ability of employers to create jobs.