The Scottish jobs market is continuing to improve, according to the latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs.

It says growth in staff placements picked up in May, reversing a slowdown the previous month. Strong demand for new employees drove the upturn, and also contributed to marked increases in both permanent starting salaries and hourly pay rates for temporary staff.

A skills squeeze put further upward pressure on pay rates, with the rate of decline in permanent ­candidate supply one of the fastest in the history of the survey.

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May saw the Bank of ­Scotland Labour Market Barometer - a composite indicator designed to provide a single figure ­snapshot of labour market conditions - dip to 61.8, from 62.5 in April.

The latest reading suggests a substantial improvement in labour market conditions, albeit one that was the least marked for seven months. The barometer was also below its UK equivalent for the second month running.

Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, commented: "Not only did the number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs increase over the month but vacancies grew at a robust rate.

"The number of candidates available for permanent jobs fell resulting in a noticeable increase in permanent salaries.

"This month's barometer provides further evidence that the recovery in the ­Scottish economy will continue throughout 2014."

Permanent staff ­appointments rose in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, but fell across Aberdeen and Dundee.

Edinburgh also recorded a rise in temporary billings alongside Dundee, while Glasgow and Aberdeen saw reductions.

Growth of permanent salaries was strongest overall in Glasgow, with the fastest rise in temp pay rates seen in Aberdeen.

Starting salaries for permanent staff increased sharply in May, albeit to a lesser extent than in the previous month.

However the rate of growth in hourly pay for temporary staff rose at the slowest pace in six months.

Although the number of permanent job vacancies across Scotland rose sharply, growth was at a seven-month low, while temporary vacancies repeated the marked uplift seen in April.

Permanent candidate numbers continued to fall sharply, and at a rate that was among the fastest in the history of the series.

The supply of candidates for temporary positions also decreased at a brisk rate, and one that was slightly more marked than in April.

The sharpest increase in demand for permanent staff north of the border was in the IT and computing sector, followed by accounts and financial.

The slowest growth in permanent vacancies was in blue collar jobs.