The UK labour market faces a "slow, painful contraction" with firms delaying recruitment of more staff, a key report suggests.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) predicted the jobs market would worsen in the medium term amid global economic "turmoil".
Its quarterly survey of 1,000 employers found firms' future hiring plans dwarfed by likely public sector losses.
It found employers adopting a "wait and see" policy towards the economy. This involved reduced recruitment as well as fewer redundancies.