A further 66% are looking to increase their permanent workforce in the next 12 months. The latest Jobs-Outlook data, based on a monthly online survey of 600 employers, shows headcount freezes, redundancies and reduced hours are all "significantly" down while increases in staffing have risen for the third consecutive month to 19%, up 7% on last month.
The outlook for temporary placements is also positive with 76% of businesses looking to either increase or maintain temporary staffing levels in the short term. This upward trend is also reflected in the longer-term outlook with 79% looking to increase or maintain their use of agency staff over the coming 12 months.
Roger Tweedy, the REC's director of research, said: "Employers are more positive about their hiring intentions, which reflects an improvement in overall business confidence. However, it is too early to predict whether this will translate into significant jobs growth by the end of the year but we remain confident that the private sector can absorb the fall-out from public sector cuts.
"Some of the media reactions to this month's official employment figures have been overly negative and we must avoid systematically talking our jobs market down. Employers are recognising the need to ramp up their recruitment activity in order to attract high-potential candidates and move their business forward. This month's Jobs Outlook indicates that employer caution is starting to lift, we can afford to be more upbeat about the gradual recovery of the UK labour market."