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Scale of job cuts and budget cuts varies significantly across Europe

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More than a quarter of European companies expect their employee numbers to decrease and the outlook is worst in Russia and Sweden.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' research shows while headcount and HR budgets are expected to decrease in companies across Europe, projections vary significantly in different countries.

Europe-wide 28% of employers plan to reduce headcount and 23% expect training and development budgets to decrease - but 46% of Russian companies plan to make redundancies, followed by Sweden (52%) and Ireland (40%).

But at the other end of the scale, Switzerland, Turkey, Belgium, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic report more employers increasing headcount than reducing it.

Michael Rendell, partner and global head of human resource services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "Business leaders across Europe and the US recognise the downturn is not the only challenge affecting their ability to compete and that in the long term they need to keep and be ready to mobilise their talent.  

"But, in some countries and organisations, immediate cash pressures are very real and difficult decisions are being made. It has never been more important for HR decisions to be based in fact - this means ensuring accurate data, metrics and people information is available to support the business and prevent the wrong areas being cut or competitiveness undermined."

Across the pond in the US 42% of employers plan to reduce headcount and 47% expect to cut HR spend.