Job prospects looking brighter

Job prospects for graduates and apprentices are looking brighter for next year as more companies expect to hire staff, according to a new report.

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More firms are set to create jobs than not in 2014 for the first time since the onset of the recession in 2008, the CBI said

Job prospects for graduates and apprentices are looking brighter for next year as more companies expect to hire staff, according to a new report.

The CBI said more firms were set to create jobs than not in 2014 for the first time since the onset of the recession in 2008.

A report, On The Up, based on responses from 325 organisations employing more than a million people, found that just over half expected their workforce to be larger in 12 months' time.

Employers in Yorkshire and Humberside and the East Midlands were most buoyant.

The survey also revealed a continued cautious approach to pay, with more than a third of those polled planning a wage rise below RPI inflation and only 7% expecting to pay more.

Virtually all the companies questioned said flexible employment patterns such as the use of agency workers, or zero hours contracts, were vital or important to the economy.

Four out of five firms said they expected new job opportunities to open up for young people in the coming year.

Katja Hall, the CBI's chief policy director, said: "We're starting to see the recovery have an impact on business plans to hire, with more than half of firms boosting staff numbers next year and more opportunities for young people.

"It's good to see jobs being created across most regions, not just London and the South East. Our labour market performed well throughout the recession and pay caution and flexible contracts will continue to underpin growth.

"For the UK to remain an attractive place to do business, as the recovery takes hold, wage growth must go hand-in-hand with growth in productivity."

Olly Benzecry, managing director of Accenture, which helped with the report, added: " The news that firms are expecting to grow their workforces is another welcome sign of the UK's economic recovery.

"The skills agenda is critical to not only sustain this growth but to make it inclusive, increasing employability and opportunities for young people who are not in a job, training or education."