Two thirds of employers in the UK are less optimistic about creating jobs following the vote to leave the European Union, a new survey has found.
In the weeks after the referendum, Manpower's study found that six in nine companies were less likely to add more jobs to their workforce than they were before the referendum. In particular, financial services, construction and utilities industries saw the biggest falls.
Mark Cahill, managing director at ManpowerGroup UK, said the uncertainty of freedom of movement when the UK finally leaves the EU was a big concern for employers. He said: "Many finance operations in the City of London depend on the EU 'banking passport' and the fall in hiring intentions could reflect pessimism over the future of this agreement,
"The future of freedom of movement across the EU is of particular concern. As UK businesses are reliant on European talent to help fill the skills gap, we urge the government to prioritise maintaining the free movement of people across the EU during its negotiations."
The day after the referendum, Google reported spikes in searches for emigrating abroad, particularly Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. And uncertainty over those 'banking passport' rules appear to have led to an 800% increase in applications for financial services jobs in Dublin, Manpower said.
Hiring confidence in the public sector also dropped to its weakest level in four years, the survey found.
Meanwhile, there was also a fall in the confidence of manufacturing companies, despite expectations that manufacturing is one area that would flourish thanks to the weaker pound. Hiring confidence fell to its weakest level in three years.
There was more positive news for the retail, wholesale and hospitality sectors, however. Those industries saw a 3% rise in hiring confidence. Figures released last month showed a rise in tourism following the Brexit vote; something likely to boost the retail and hospitality industries, especially.
Mr Cahill added: "People are still spending, meaning retail job prospects remain positive for UK workers, but this looks like a short-term feel good factor that may fall away after the busy summer period and ramp-up to Black Friday."