Despite today's news that there has only been a slight improvement in unemployment figures, the REC survey shows 94% of employers expect either to maintain or increase their permanent workforces in the next 12 months.
The survey also shows that one in four employers are planning to increase their temporary workforce in the next year, highlighting the important flexibility that contract and temporary work provides to employers and jobseekers looking to get back into the jobs market.
Commenting on the survey findings, Roger Tweedy, the REC's director of research, said: "As a result of increasing employer confidence we should expect to see more hires over the coming year. Businesses are naturally cautious about the economic recovery, which is why the provision of temporary and contract work will continue to provide a useful outlet.
"Looking ahead, the REC is seeking Government action to remove the barriers to growth and job creation such as increased business taxation and employment regulations. It is still a long road back to full employment in the UK and we are concerned that the squeeze on public expenditure could negate some of the upside we are seeing from private-sector employers."
The news comes as a survey by HR magazine found 63% of readers plan to recruit staff in the first half of 2010.
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational development and health at Lancaster University Management School, said: "Finally, we are beginning to see the first ‘green shoots' of optimism. It is great that HR professionals are seeing the proverbial light at the end of the employment tunnel. Optimism spawns investment, innovation and growth, so it is vitally important that we reassure employees (who are also consumers) by investing in the future and taking some risks for growth.
"During the recession, graduate recruitment in many companies was stopped dead in its tracks, employees made redundant and staff replacements eliminated. The message was bleak. The message in this survey is at last positive, and why not? We are coming out of recession, so let's stop talking ‘double dip' or doom and gloom, let's celebrate the recovery not bury it."