According to the Keep Britain Working campaign, the HR & Recruitment Job Prospect Index stands at minus 35. This is a five-point drop from September, when the index figure was minus 30.
This is the worst score since last May, when the Job Prospect Index began and stood at minus 29.
Pessimism about job prospects has deepened in October, reversing the previous steady upward trend. Across the UK for all sectors, the Job Prospect Index stands at minus 21 for October, a four-point drop compared with September's minus 17 score.
Keep Britain Working's monthly poll asks an average of 2,000 people across the country if they are optimistic or pessimistic about job prospects. Pessimism was at its worst in May, giving an index score of minus 37. People had become steadily less pessimistic since then, giving an index score of minus 24 in July, minus 19 in August, and reaching its least pessimistic score of minus 17 in September, before falling back this month.
Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) still feel positive about their employer in spite of worsening job prospects, demonstrating how successful many employers have been at working flexibly, in partnership with their staff, to respond to the recession.
But employers need to be aware that this trend is slowly becoming more negative.
Overall the Employer Index stands at minus 15 for October, as 39% of employees say they feel negative about their employers, compared with minus 11 in August and minus 13 in September.
James Reed, chairman of recruitment group Reed and founder of the Keep Britain Working campaign, which was set up to create and preserve jobs, said: "Following the steady improvement of people's feelings about job prospects since the low point in May this year, the latest Index figures reveal the first reversal.
"As recent UK economic figures demonstrate, this recession is not over yet, and concern for job prospects has risen in the past month.
"However, people do not feel as negative about their prospects now as in the spring. Indeed in some key sectors - such as business services - the trend continues to improve.
"Employers must keep their focus on close staff relationships through these difficult times. The organisations that get this right will be best placed to respond quickly to new opportunities."