By Daniel Hunter

February saw the largest annual increase in advertised salaries since the recession, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk.

At £34,627, advertised wages were 8.1% higher than in February last year — the largest annual growth since the financial crisis. Adjusted for CPI inflation, this translates to a £2,605 real wage increase. On a monthly basis, the average advertised salary showed a small 0.1% improvement.

Advertised vacancies neared the million-mark in February, with 992,465 positions available. This is a 24% increase on February 2014 when there were 800,614 positions advertised.

February also brought the largest month-on-month increase for 11 months with a 4.2% boost from January’s unexpectedly lacklustre total (952,829 positions).

The delayed vacancy boom has beaten back job competition. This February saw just 0.86 jobseekers per advertised vacancy, compared to 0.90 in January and 1.55 in February 2014.

The Adzuna Unemployment Predictor shows that UK unemployment is due to hit 5.5% in March, down from 5.7% in January (the last official update from the ONS). The model also suggests that unemployment will have fallen even further to 5.1% by June 2015.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “For the first time in a long while, British workers are having their cake and eating it too. The jobs market has fought through some very tough economic times and emerged stronger for it. Job competition is down, CPI inflation has fallen, and advertised wages are rising. The facts are plain. UK jobseekers have an enormous range of options, and once they secure employment, their potential pay-packets are far higher than last year, with February’s rate of vacancy growth hitting post-recession peaks. Not only this, but low inflation is pushing pay packets even further.

“It’s a perfect storm for UK workers. It’s entirely possible that pre-election jitters might have had a negative impact on the jobs market, but all the key indicators are heading in the right direction. Whichever group comes into power is going to have to be careful not to stifle this newly found sense of optimism. It’s been a long time coming.”