Only 3% of businesses in Scotland intend to hire this year, compared with 25% a year ago, according to a national survey.
Almost nine businesses out of 10 do not expect any economic recovery within the next two years and 69% expect no turnover growth in the next six months, says the survey from insurance specialist QBE.
It says "no growth or slow growth are being accepted as the new normal".
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Back in 2011, one-quarter of businesses expected to see a full economic recovery within two years, with 93% of businesses expecting no change in staffing levels over the next 12 months.
Businesses in Scotland are learning to adjust to conditions that look set to stick, says QBE, which first conducted the survey in 2006.
Three-quarters believe we will need to wait until at least 2016 before a full recovery can be expected.
Andy Fitzgerald, QBE's regional manager, said: "While the hope of a quick recovery has certainly petered out, it is encouraging to now see a level of stability from businesses here. Most of their cost-cutting measures have already been implemented, leaving management to focus on growing turnover. While the prospects for the economy may look weak, Scottish businesses remain resilient."