A majority of UK businesses plan to expand their workforce in 2015, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Accenture.

The CBI/Accenture Employment Trends Survey 2014, which covered 323 firms, found that 50% of respondents expect their workforce to grow over the next year.

The study also found that graduate job prospects are picking up, with a net total of +30% of organisations planning to increase their graduate in-take in the next 12 months

The report said that openings for apprentices are also increasing with a balance of +33% looking to recruit more in 2015.

"Businesses are planning to create jobs in every region of the UK next year as the recovery continues, and more and more of those jobs will be permanent," said Katja Hall, the deputy director-general of the CBI.

"The outlook for young people is also looking brighter as firms look to boost their graduate in-take and expand apprenticeships."

But concerns over skills gaps that could prevent some of those jobs being filled are seen as the biggest workforce threat to UK competitiveness; worries about new regulation damaging job creation in the UK's flexible labour market come a close second.

The low level of skills (63%), closely followed by the burden of employment regulation (61%) are seen as the greatest workforce threats to UK competitiveness – and respondents believe this will still be the case in five years' time (54%).

In 2013, 68% of firms cited the burden of employment regulation as the biggest threat, while 65% highlighted skill levels.

"The positive outlook on jobs growth revealed in this survey is a welcome sign of the UK's economic recovery," said Olly Benzecry, managing director for Accenture in the UK and Ireland.

"However we must make sure we have workers with the skills required to drive the UK's competitiveness, and this requires a comprehensive approach to skills development.

"The collaboration between government, education and business on the skills agenda, alongside the investments being made in higher-level apprenticeships, are improving employment prospects for young people, while those companies investing in the digital literacy of their employees will be well-placed to capitalise on the rapid digitisation of the UK economy."