One in three workers say their standard of living has worsened over the past six months amid pay freezes and fewer opportunities for promotion, according to a study.
A survey of 2,000 employees showed that half reported that their organisation had either frozen or cut pay last year, rising to almost two-thirds in the public sector.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said its research also showed that one in five workers believes they could lose their job, rising to almost a third in the public sector.
In the private sector, one in four workers believe it is likely they will lose their jobs and 63% say stress has increased as a result of the economic downturn.
Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser at the CIPD, said: "With employees feeling the pinch financially, concerned over their job security and with fewer opportunities to move up or move on, employers need to deliver consistently high-quality leadership and management on the front line.
"Employers need to find cost effective ways of equipping their line managers with the people management skills to support employee engagement and wellbeing.
"They also need to consult and involve staff where major re-organisations or changes in terms and conditions are looming if they are to keep people on side and pulling together to deliver future success."
Earlier this week, a study revealed that three out of four people are unhappy at work, but many will not bother looking for another job for at least a year.
One in five of 2,600 people questioned by online recruitment firm Monster.co.uk said they would wait to look for a new job, partly because they did not believe there were enough vacancies around.