Business leaders in Wales say a jobs fair offering more than 500 call centre posts may be a sign a "corner has been turned" in recruitment.
Tesco, insurance group Admiral and call centre firm Conduit are among six large employers at the Cardiff event.
CBI Wales director David Rosser said it was not a sign of strong job creation, but one that "cities like Cardiff are going to be leading the way."
Jobcentre Plus said 2,500 vacancies were registered in Cardiff alone.
Other firms looking to recruit staff at the fair at Cardiff Central Library are British Gas, Scottish & Southern Energy and AA Insurances/Driving School Call Centre.
The jobs include managerial and admin posts as well as call centre workers.
Chris Hodge, of call centre outsource firm Conduit, which has two centres in Cardiff and another in Swansea, said the recruitment agencies he dealt with had reported an increase in job vacancies.
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In the last three-to-six months really that the number of companies I've talked to who are more optimistic has increased”
"It's not at the point it was two years ago, however, we are very hopeful for 2011 than we were for 2010.
"Companies seem to be less cautious already during the first month of this year than they have been for quite a while."
Admiral said the fair was part of its ongoing recruitment of 300 people which would add about 10% to its staff in south Wales.
People services manager Ceri Assiratti said: "Against the background of the economic climate where many companies are downsizing, the positive for us as a company is that we are continuing to grow and we expect to continue to grow in 2011 at the same rate as the previous years."
"Any established employer continuing to grow has to to be good for the local economy. Success and positivity creates other success and positivity."
Mr Rosser said the jobs fair was not an indication of "strong hiring intentions" among big businesses in south Wales but it did reflect an increase in optimism among CBI members, who employ 40% of the private sector workforce in Wales.<< Archive
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