A growing number of British workers are "close to breaking point," according to new research, which reveals that people are working harder, despite signs of a turnaround in the U.K.'s economy.
Some 40 percent of people said they were working harder than they were a year ago, recruiter Randstad said on Thursday, after carrying out a phone survey of 2,000 British employees.
And 43 percent of those questioned said they could not work any harder – a rise on 30 percent a year earlier - suggesting that more people are "working close to breaking point," according to the report.
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It comes despite signs that the U.K.'s economic recovery is picking up, with closely watched Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) data beating expectations over recent months. Figures released on Thursday showed that activity in the services sector hit a 16-year high in the third quarter, boosting hopes of firm gross domestic product (GDP) growth this quarter, following a 0.7 percent expansion in the second three months of the year.
But businesses are still hesitant to hire new employees, according to Randstad U.K. CEO Mark Bull, meaning that "spread-thin" Britain was being stretched even thinner.
"Up until recently, firms were reluctant to take on staff because they were concerned the nascent economic recovery could be easily derailed," he said. "As a result, existing staff have taken on increasingly large workloads, particularly as the recovery has gained momentum and demand has increased."
(Read more: 'Life is harder' for UK workers as wages slide)