The UK’s service sector has been struck by the recession more than most firms, according to new research.

Figures released by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have shown that business and professional services such as accountancy, legal and marketing firms have suffered a sharp fall in business volumes in the past three months and that has resulted in job losses.

Meanwhile, the quarterly report also found that the consumer services sector, covering hotels, bars and restaurants, travel and leisure, had also suffered significant declines in trade.

Many companies involved in the service sector revealed that they were planning to cut back on investment initiatives as well as reducing the number of jobs they provided, potentially leading to redundancies.

"Consumers are clearly reining back their discretionary spending – postponing holidays, and spending less on leisure activities and personal care," said Ian McCafferty, chief economic advisor at the CBI.

He continued: "Similarly, an already deteriorating demand for business services such as advertising, legal advice and temporary office staff has slumped in recent months. Jobs are already being lost at the fastest rate in over ten years from the whole of the service sector."

The recession is putting more pressure on staff and could lead to more cases of stress in the workplace, but few workers would be willing to discuss the issue with their boss.

Recent research from Aon consulting found less than a third of employees would be willing to consult with their manager about stress in the workplace.