The UKCES Employer Perspectives Survey consulted over 18,000 employers about their recruitment and training habits.
It found 49% of employers have recorded at least one vacancy in the past 12 months.
To fill these roles, 30% of employers rely on word of mouth while 38% used free public channels such as Jobcentre Plus.
UKCES commissioner and general secretary of the Scottish TUC Grahame Smith said the findings proved how important it is "for jobseekers to develop their personal presence”. “Getting out and speaking with people is just as important as being online, but it’s more difficult for the digital generation,” he added.
UKCES chief executive Michael Davis warned employers not to become “over-dependant on one form of recruitment”.
“Word of mouth is still commonly used to hire staff but this risks missing out on a huge talent pool, just because people don't happen to be plugged into the right professional networks,” he said.
The research also found that 66% of businesses had taken on someone under 25 in the past 12 months, up from 62% in 2012.
Almost two-fifths (38%) of employers said they had provided work placements and 18% had been involved in ‘work inspiration’ activities with people in education.
“Creating strong links with local education providers… allow[s] employers to see first-hand what young people can offer, while simultaneously giving young people the opportunity to build crucial contacts,” said Davis.