HSBC is imposing a global hiring and pay freeze for 2016 in an effort to cut costs.
The bank sent an email to staff on Friday outlining the changes, according to a source close to the bank.
HSBC, which is Europe's largest lender, is in the middle of a major cost-cutting drive, with management looking to save up to $5bn (£3.5bn) in annual costs by next year.
The bank said last summer that it planned to cut nearly one in five jobs and shrink its investment bank by a third in order to slash costs and boost profitability.
Meanwhile, HSBC's board met last week in Hong Kong to consider moving the bank's headquarters from London.
The bank's chief executive, Stuart Gulliver said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos earlier this month that the bank will provide an "update" in February on its relocationp lans – but the update may not include a final decision.