It’s a great time to be looking for a new job, according to Huddersfield-based recruitment firm Stafflex.

Job vacancies are rising but businesses are struggling to recruit skilled staff and that means wages are going up.

In a competitive jobs market companies are having to raise salaries to attract the right calibre of candidates.

The pandemic has caused many people to revaluate their career options as some opt for more flexible working arrangements or less taxing workloads in a bid to improve their work-life balance.

Recruitment agencies across Yorkshire have reported six successive months of rising permanent staff appointments, which is the longest sequence since the pandemic began early last year. In addition, demand for staff is rising at an accelerated rate.

A Stafflex spokesman said: “Availability of permanent staff has declined at an alarming rate – the drop in supply is the worst on record.

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“The declines were widely associated with a reluctance among employees to switch roles due to the pandemic, fewer EU workers, furloughed staff and skill shortages.

“Starting salaries for permanent new staff have increased to a new high. This is a direct consequence of businesses having to raise salaries in order to attract candidates in a scarce job market.

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“The same trend can be seen when looking at temporary pay rates, which has seen record acceleration – the highest for over 23 years.

“The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that average weekly earnings across the UK rose 5.1% on an annual basis to £600 in the first quarter of 2021.

“If you are a jobseeker then it is certainly a great time to be looking for work with the recent surge in job opportunities and spike in pay salaries.”

A national shortage of lorry drivers in the UK has widely been reported but Stafflex says the demand for skills carries over to many other sectors including all types of accounting/financial positions, blue collar manufacturing, engineering professional services including HR, legal and marketing, medical/nursing, retail and administrators.

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – or ‘furlough’ – ended on September 30 but Stafflex says it’s too early to say what that will mean for the employment market.

The spokesman added: “It is difficult to know what the impact of the job retention scheme will be, as employers seem to be keeping this matter close to their chests.

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“There has been no clear signs of redundancies starting to pick up in recent survey data ahead of the furlough scheme beginning to wind down.

“We hope there won’t be a significant loss of jobs now the scheme has ended even though the country currently has over 1.1 million unfilled vacancies.

“We believe the Government made the correct decision to implement the job retention scheme during the worst of the pandemic.

“It certainly helped reduced the damage to Stafflex, particularly during the first lockdown when most of our client requirements disappeared almost overnight. Under other circumstances this would have led to downsizing of the business.”

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