Starting salaries rose last month amid a further decline in the availability of staff, especially nurses and other medical employees, recruitment agencies have reported.
A survey of 400 agencies found that permanent and temporary workers were being offered higher pay rates.
The availability of candidates fell sharply at the end of 2017, said the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
"Recruiters are reporting a vast number of job areas that employers are finding hard to fill including, welders, van drivers and, for the first time, baristas.
"Employers as a response to these candidate shortages 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.
"Early in the New Year, people often think about changing jobs, so employers are going to have to think carefully about how they can both retain existing capabilities and find the new hires they need as competition for people intensifies.
"Bosses should consider going to wider talent pools and to be inventive about how to improve their employer brand and make themselves an even more attractive place to work."
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