A quarter of UK employers have drawn up plans to make redundancies over the next 12 months, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and management consultancy KPMG.
Contingency plans are in place at 26% of firms to make new or further redundancies in the following year, the survey of 721 businesses found.
Meanwhile, nearly one in five employers said they would enforce retirements of workers aged 65 or over more vigorously.
John Philpott, chief economist at the CIPD, said: “Employers have held off from making large-scale redundancies until recently, but we are now on the verge of a torrent of bad news.
“The onset of recession is already putting jobs at risk, but many more are in the firing line as employers consider their next move in a fast deteriorating economic situation.”
He added: “Hopefully, the Bank of England will help improve business confidence by continuing to cut interest rates and signalling that further sharp rate cuts are on the cards in the coming months so as to prevent a nightmare scenario for jobs.”
Earlier this month, the CBI predicted 65,000 manufacturing workers would lose their jobs in the next six months. In the summer, a survey of 1,403 employers by law consultancy Peninsula found 64% could not rule out redundancies.
The CIPD and KPMG survey showed that the average cost of making workers redundant now stands at more than £10,000.