Rise in Scottish starting salaries
Starting salaries in Scotland are rising at their fastest rate in more than a decade, according to a survey of employment and recruitment agencies.
The Bank of Scotland said its labour market barometer showed permanent job placements were at a near 10-year high.
It showed near-record increases in both permanent and temporary staff appointments in December.
Permanent vacancies rose at the fastest pace since July 2007, the bank said.
This was a factor behind the sharpest increase in starting salaries in the history of the survey, it added.
The barometer - a survey of 105 recruitment and employment agencies - signalled the second-fastest rate of growth since it started in January 2003, having risen for the fourth consecutive month.
Donald MacRae, chief economist at the bank, 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 11 years of the survey.
"These results show business confidence in Scotland is on the increase and suggest the recovery will continue in 2014."
Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "These figures show that the conditions in Scotland's labour market are continuing to improve.
"2013 has seen improvements in both output and employment in Scotland and the most recent figures show Scotland has a higher employment rate, lower unemployment rate and lower inactivity rate than England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
"Last week our gross domestic product figures revealed Scotland's economy continues to strengthen and we've recorded strong performance in construction, services and manufacturing."
He said the Scottish government's White Paper on independence showed the country could do more for the economy after a Yes vote in the 18 September referendum.
'Road to recovery'
David Mundell, Scotland Office minister in the UK government, said: "This is good news as Scotland continues on the road to recovery as part of a UK economy which is growing, is creating jobs and is stronger than the main economies in Europe.
"Recently we have also seen positive Scottish GDP figures and inflation falling to its lowest level since 2009, which provides further optimism.
"It is very encouraging to see this report showing an increase in permanent salaries and a demand for permanent staff at its highest level in nearly seven years.
"In Scotland, private-sector employment increased by over 107,000 since 2010 and by more than 75,000 over the last year alone.
"This shows the UK government's long-term economic plan for a broad and balanced recovery is working, and we are creating the right conditions for sustained long-term employment in Scotland."