A New Zealand recruitment company says concern about the durability of the global economic recovery has led firms to think twice about hiring new employees.
Manpower's quarterly survey found a net 16% of respondents intend hiring, a decrease from the net 17% expecting to employ more workers.
Optimism is stronger in finance, insurance and real estate, offseting declines in manufacturing.
Julie Saddington, a principal at Manpower subsidiary, Right Management, says companies are keen to get more out of their existing workforce as demand remains fickle.
Globally, she says companies are more upbeat about hiring people than their counterparts in the United States and Britain, but lag behind China and Australia.