Poll: 3 out of 5 Employers say Layoffs Likely in '09

The Society for Human Resource Management recently released a new poll that shows 48 percent of organizations laid-off employees in 2008. Even worse, 60 percent of surveyed organizations said they expect to lay off employees in the next 12 months. Executives (1 percent) are the least likely to be laid off, followed by sales positions (3 percent), then middle management (6 percent). Most of the expected coming layoffs will involve technical/professional positions (13 percent), unskilled labor positions (13 percent), and administrative positions (11 percent).

The good news: most laid-off employees do not leave without some type of help from their employers. Surveyed organizations offered a wide-range of benefits, from severance pay (74 percent) to career counseling (28 percent) and use of office space during a job search (8 percent).

SHRM also looked at how employers are delivering the bad news to both those being laid off and to those remaining with their organizations. During the last 12 months, most laid off employees found out via one-on-one meetings with their HR department and direct supervisor (59 percent). The second most popular way was in meetings with just the employees’ manager or supervisor (30 percent).

The top five ways organizations cut staffing costs were attrition (72 percent); hiring freezes (48 percent); not renewing contracts with existing contract and temporary employees (21 percent); encouraging employees to use vacation time (18 percent); and reducing employee work hours (17 percent).

HR professionals stated the five major factors negatively impacting the financial stability of their organizations in the last six months were: decreased demand for products and services (64 percent), volatility in the world financial markets (38 percent), health care costs (34 percent), fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar (28 percent), and organizational restructuring (24 percent).

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