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.

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

Katja Hall, CBI 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.”