Jobs in the financial services sector are being filled faster than at any time since 2000, reflecting the growing confidence in the market, a survey reveals today.

With the renewed buoy-ancy in the jobs market, there has been a surge in the number of vacancies advertised while average permanent salaries are also on the rise.

Some 25,225 jobs were advertised in March, up 11 per cent on February and twice the number in December, financial services recruitment firm Blomfield said.

This is the highest number of new permanent jobs posted in the sector in 20 months.

In London, it is currently taking 8.6 weeks to fill a position - from the date of posting the vacancy to the date the employee starts - down from ten weeks one year ago and 11.8 weeks in March 2000.

Tara Ricks, managing director of Joslin Rowe Associates, Blomfield's recruitment business, said the statistics reflect the confidence in the financial services market and a return to the "bullish" conditions of the late 90s.

"Over the past couple of years we've seen a steady reduction in the time taken to fill jobs, following the wobble of 2004 when firms put the brake on hiring activity," she said.

This was caused by a weaker housing market and slowing GDP growth in response to a succession of interest rises, she added.

The average London salary of £36,146 is up 3.5 per cent on January's figure.

Keith Robinson, of the group's outsourced HR business Origin, said candidates are being discerning with their choice of employer.

"Good candidates are now receiving three or four very attractive offers with a variety of financial inducements to incentive them to join."