Job prospects are the weakest they have been since the Labour Market Outlook survey began in 2004, the latest report shows.
The survey of 1,221 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and professional services firm KPMG revealed that only 29% expected to increase staff levels over the next three months.
This is down sharply from 37% in the second quarter of 2008, and is the lowest third quarter figure recorded in the past four years.
The number of employers planning redundancies increased from 22% to 27% between the second and third quarter of 2008.
John Philpott, chief economist at the CIPD, said: “The jobs market has been one of the few bright spots in the UK economy, but cracks are appearing in the face of an increasingly uncertain economic outlook.
“Even if we avoid the scale of jobs fallout suffered in previous downturns, the era of the candidate’s recruitment market is already over, with people in work becoming increasingly anxious that their P45 might soon be on its way.”