Only 5 percent of Spanish companies expect to employ "substantially more" staff in 2013 while 14 percent believe they will hire a "moderate" amount more.
That's according to the sixth annual Global Business and Spending Monitor report put together by CFO Research for American Express.
The results, based on in-depth interviews with 14 senior executives and the results of 519 completed surveys, also reveal show that 54 percent of large companies worldwide have plans to take on new staff.
The survey results also demonstrate that chief financial officers in Spain are adopting conservative strategies of moderate spending and investment in core businesses to seek growth, while seeking to improve profitability through strict control of costs.
There was little interest in mergers or acquisitions, reported Spanish daily ABC.
"Given the uncertainty still surrounding the economic recovery, it is understandable that Spanish company executives are still managing their companies' financial strategies with caution," said Paul Ribas, vice president and director of American Express corporate cards for Spain and Italy.
Some 42 percent of executives believe that Spain will experience "moderate" growth based on long-term opportunities.
Many Spanish businesses are looking abroad for expansion opportunities: some 43 percent of Spanish businesses are contemplating entering overseas markets.
A total of 48 percent of Spanish businesses say that they will focus their sales and distribution activities in emerging markets and nearly half had plans to expand into China, Russia, Brazil or Mexico.
Only 9 percent plan to concentrate on the Spanish market.
Business optimism is in highest in emerging markets such as Brazil, where 100 percent of those surveyed forecast economic growth next year.