Employers are losing confidence in their recruitment prospects and ability to hire in the coming months.

That is according to the Manpower Employment Outlook survey, which has revealed that of those 2,200 employers questioned, just five per cent expected to increase their headcount.

Some 11 per cent had forecast a decrease in their employee numbers while the majority – some 81 per cent – said they would not predict a change.

However, when taken as an overall figure, the results show that the Net Employment Outlook is down by six per cent overall and by 12 per cent compared with the year before.

Commenting on the importance of a company’s workforce, Mark Cahill, managing director of Manpower UK, said: "People and their skills will always be a company’s greatest asset and employers need to work hard to retain them where they can.

"Employers should take the opportunity now to re-skill and retrain workers so they are absolutely best placed for the upturn when it comes."

The government recently announced proposals to launch a recruitment campaign designed to encourage people from other professions to retrain as teachers.