Employers in Birmingham are the most confident in the UK when it comes to hiring staff in the run-up to Christmas, a survey has shown.

Large numbers of part-time and full-time jobs are vacant in the area, said recruitment agency Manpower.

"Birmingham continues to attract new businesses with increased investment along the M6 corridor and in the Birmingham Business Park," said Anne Marshall, manager of the city's Manpower branch.

"Employer confidence is high with both temporary and permanent jobs available across all sectors of employment.

"In particular, we are seeing an increase in demand for workers in sales and marketing, although a challenge for employers is finding the right people with the right experience to fill these positions."

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, a quarterly study of hiring trends based on a poll of 2,100 employers, found that a balance of plus-27 per cent of employers in Birmingham expect to grow their head count during the next three months (October - December).

The figure represents a significant increase of 20 percentage points year-on-year and eight percentage points compared with the last quarter, and is considerably stronger than the national average at plus-13 per cent.

"Employers in the manufacturing sector are planning to take on more staff with particular focus on jobs in warehousing and distribution companies," said Ms Marshall.

"While good roles are available for those with experience in the manufacturing sector, people with no formal qualifications but plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn may also find this a good opportunity to get a foot on the career ladder."

Around the country, employers in 11 of the 12 regions surveyed predict a positive hiring climate for the October to December 2007 period - the exception being Scottish employers who anticipate their weakest outlook since Q4 2002, at minus one per cent.

Employers in the West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humberside are the most confident, recording both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter increases, reporting net employment outlooks of plus-27 per cent and plus-22 per cent respectively.

Conversely, employers in the North East, the North West and Northern Ireland all report outlooks weaker both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year.