Australia's peak industry lobby group says more than one third of businesses plan to cut jobs in 2013.
The Australian Industry Group on Friday released its annual outlook report, which showed that most business leaders do not expect general business conditions to improve in 2013 as the mining investment boom slows.
The factor most cited as an inhibitor to growth was a "lack of customer demand".
The Ai Group outlook report surveyed 350 business leaders.
Thirty-seven per cent of businesses planned to reduce staff numbers, 38 per cent planned no change, and a quarter of businesses planned to expand employment.
Fifty-two per cent of chief executives expect general business conditions to deteriorate in 2013 and one third expect no change.
Sixteen per cent expect conditions to improve in 2013.
The biggest percentages of chief executives expecting conditions to deteriorate were in the manufacturing and construction sectors.
"With the mining investment boom slowing and with other sectors struggling, there are no obvious candidates set to pick up the slack," Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said in a statement.
"The report poses the question: will we make the most of 2013?"
Mr Willox said 2013 should be used to reinvigorate productivity growth and establish foundations for a more resilient and diversified economy.
The outlook report found that chief executives were concerned about slowing demand across the economy, the high value of the Australian dollar, global competition and rising business costs.
Input costs, especially for energy, were expected to rise.
Forty-four per cent of chief executives expect labour costs to rise and only 13 per cent expect a fall.
Thirteen per cent expect labour productivity to fall in 2013, and 54 per cent expect no improvement.
Forty per cent of businesses expect revenue growth to decline and 21 per cent expect it to be flat.
Only 18 per cent of businesses thought export income would rise in 2013, which reflected the high value of the Australian dollar.