SCOTTISH business are continuing to take on and look for new staff at near record rates as confidence grows, according to a long running economic survey.

The Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs, which is published today, found permanent vacancies in December rose at the fastest pace since July 2007 while the growth of permanent job placements was the second highest since the data collection began in 2003.

The increase in demand for temporary workers was at its strongest in more than three years while vacancies in the nursing, medical and care sector were at a survey high.

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That sector was also the strongest riser in terms of permanent posts.

The growing demand for staff saw the sharpest rise in starting salaries for permanent roles in the 11-years of the research.

The bank's labour market barometer, which provides a snapshot of labour market conditions, rose to 63.6 in December, up from 63.2 in November and far above the 50 mark which separates expansion from contraction

Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "December's Barometer showed another marked improvement in the Scottish jobs market.

"The number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs rose sharply while the number of vacancies increased strongly reflecting strong demand from employers. The increase in permanent salaries was the fastest in the eleven years of the survey. These results show business confidence in Scotland is on the increase and suggest the recovery will continue."