One in four employers is planning to make redundancies in the first three months of 2010, a survey has revealed.
Employers plan to cut an average of 6.2% of their workforce, according to the poll of 700 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
That is up 2.4% compared with the previous quarter, in which workforces were cut by an average of 3.8%.
The public sector is likely to be particularly hard hit, with nearly one in three employers saying they plan to cut jobs, mostly in public administration and defence.
In January, Socitm said IT job cuts in local government will continue for the next two years after a cut of 10% in 2009, with expected IT budget cuts of 11% in 2010.
Public sector pay rises are also likely to be lower this year, according to the CIPD, with basic increases expected to be only 0.9% compared with 2% in the private sector.
This signals the start of a public sector recession that will see deep cuts in public expenditure, according to the Guardian.
The survey also revealed that one in 10 private companies plan to outsource jobs overseas in 2010, mainly to India and Eastern Europe.
The CIPD's report comes ahead of official unemployment figures due on 17 February, which are expected to show that around 2.5 million people are out of work.