Britain’s sharp economic slowdown has left companies more reluctant to take on new staff than at any time in almost 15 years.
The Manpower employment outlook report showed that 85% of UK companies plan to keep staffing levels at the same level during the final quarter of the year.
Of the remainder, 8% plan a cut in their workforce,
and 7% will recruit new personnel.
Retailing was one of the sectors hardest hit, alongside finance and business services and construction.
The survey fits with official figures which show that the labour market has turned decisively as the economy froze in the second quarter.
The number of people out of work and claiming benefits has climbed for six consecutive months.
Mark Cahill, Manpower UK managing director, said: “Many employers anticipated these more challenging conditions and have taken steps to ensure their businesses are as robust
“Even as we see redundancies in the labour market, the majority of employers want to avoid reducing their workforce.
“This should allow them to benefit from any pick-up in the economy.”