The easing of coronavirus restrictions in July boosted recruitment in Scotland, but businesses are still struggling to find staff, according to a jobs report.
A Royal Bank of Scotland survey of recruiters found permanent placements rose for the seventh month in a row and at a quicker pace.
But businesses had difficulties finding candidates, as the supply of staff plummeted while job vacancies continued to surge.
The report found the staffing problem was driving pay rates upwards, with salaries awarded to permanent new staff increasing for the eighth month in a row.
Scotland moved to the lowest level of Covid restrictions on July 19 and will drop the levels system entirely on Monday.
The survey also highlighted an upturn in the number of permanent staff appointments and an increase in billings received from the employment of temporary workers during July.
Shortages of staff also extended into short-term roles, with the supply of temporary candidates declining at the second-quickest rate on record.
This was attributed to a strong demand for staff, Brexit, and the government furlough scheme, the survey said.
Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Latest data pointed to another strong month for the Scottish labour market, with hiring activity continuing to rise sharply for both permanent and temporary staff, and the rates of increase among the fastest recorded since the survey began in 2003.
“However, recruiters again noted challenges in finding candidates, as the supply of both short-term and permanent staff plummeted again amid reports of surging demand.
“Indeed, vacancies continued to rise rapidly, with the rates of increase for temporary positions highest on record and permanent staff second only to the rise witnessed in June.
“This mismatch between supply and demand is likely to pose further challenges in the months ahead, but overall, the labour market is in a good position, recouping any lost ground at a rapid pace, and hiring activity is showing little signs of any considerable slowdown.”
The data was collected from about 100 Scottish recruitment and employment consultancies between July 12-26.