A quarter of businesses in the UK have said they will freeze their recruitment plans after the EU referendum result, according to the Institute of Directors (IoD).
In a survey of 1,000 of its members, the IoD said 250 would likely freeze hiring after the UK voted to leave the EU, with a third maintaining their recruitment at current levels. Five per cent said they would cut jobs.
Despite the broadly positive results for jobs, nearly two-thirds of the businesses surveyed said the result was bad for business.
Speaking to the BBC, Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: "Business leaders are very, very concerned. Nearly half of them expect the other member states to punish Britain."
He added: "There's no point crying over spilt milk. Over time we must not lose faith in business to recover, but it was always going to be a shock with a loss of jobs and economic growth for quite a long time and it looks as though it will permeate through the whole of British business."
Referring to the imminent leadership contest for the Conservative Party, and position of Prime Minister, Mr Walker said: "Businesses have a clear message to those who may wish to replace David Cameron as prime minister: during the referendum campaign we were promised an open and outward-looking country after Brexit, now it must be delivered."
On Sunday, the Foreign Secretary and Remain supporter, Philip Hammond, said: "It is essential that we protect our access to the single market. Whether we like it or not our economy over 40 years has become shaped by that access, and to lose that access would be catastrophic.
"As we sit here I believe that the flow of foreign direct investment to the UK has all but dried up, while international businesses wait to see how this question is to be resolved. "