Wages for permanent staff in Britain rose last month at their fastest pace in more than five years, a study has shown.

However the Recruitment and Employment Confederation/KPMG Report on jobs showed the number of staff appointments grew at the weakest rate for five months.

The study is based upon an index using 50 as the marker which reveals no monthly change.

In September, it showed salary inflation for permanent staff accelerating for a third straight month to strike a balance of 61.4.

Michael Carter, people services partner at KPMG. said: "Pay inflation has reached its highest level since February 2001."

The numbers may re-ignite concerns about the inflationary risk of higher wage demands, given skills shortages, higher utility bills and a robust housing market.

Economists have flagged up the potential for inflation pressures emerging from the next pay round, although at least one Bank of England policymaker - David Blanchflower - has forecast weakness in the jobs market.

Permanent placements registered a balance of 56.8 in September, a solid showing but easing from August's reading of 58.2.

"September's figures show continued robust demand for staff, although the increase in both permanent and temporary placements was at its lowest for five months," Mr Carter said.

However, the Report's broader CIPS/NTC Employment index rose to 53.4 in September from 52.2 in August, driven by growth in the services and construction sectors.

Marcia Roberts, REC chief executive, said: "There is a growing split in the labour market with huge demand for skilled workers driving wage inflation in strong sectors such as construction, masking a paucity of jobs elsewhere."