Identifying the areas on which to impose cuts following the government's spending review will be difficult for half of public sector managers, a study has shown.
And two in every three managers interviewed for the Institute of Leadership and Management survey said they are unprepared to deal with immediate cuts.
Around half also said they have only provisional plans to deal with the aftermath of the government axe-swinging, while another one in eight have not made any plans to deal with it.
One in four bosses point out their workforce is already running at full speed.
The survey also shows that the majority (86%) believe the spending review will cut frontline services.
The institute's Penny de Valk insisted: "There is plainly no way of escaping the spectre of cuts which are now well and truly upon us.
"Managers will have to think strategically and make some difficult decisions if they are to achieve the savings required by the Treasury.
"Though a significant proportion of the managers we surveyed recognised that efficiency savings could be implemented relatively easily, a high proportion feels there is little room for change."
A quarter of bosses believe their own job will soon be threatened, while around half say the cuts will make their job more difficult and stressful.
Only around one in eight (13%) say they look forward to the chance of having positive changes in the way they work.
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Institute of Leadership & Management