Rough Waters Ahead
Almost three out of four human resources professionals predict that deep job cuts will continue throughout the first quarter of this year and are pessimistic about overall job growth, according to a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The data shows that no job is immune from being cut in the current recession.
Almost three out of four human resources professionals predict that deep job cuts will continue throughout the first quarter of this year and are pessimistic about overall job growth, according to a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.
The forecast examines hiring and recruiting trends based on survey of more than 463 HR professionals in public and private entities.
“This report debuts at a time when many organizations are asking themselves if they will be in business through tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year,” said Laurence G. O’Neil, CEO of SHRM. “When difficult decisions like layoffs must be implemented, how exiting employees are treated has a direct impact on those left behind, and on the employer’s ability to attract and retain talent later on. More than any other time in recent history, organizations need smart and sophisticated people policies.”
Of companies cutting positions in the first quarter, 56 percent said the jobs will come from managerial and professional positions. Another 43 percent said they will layoff hourly service workers while 12 percent plan to cut senior executives.
Additional survey highlights include:
— Three out of four respondents will either keep their payrolls flat or conduct layoffs in the first quarter.
— More than a third of large companies with 500 or more employees will make cuts during the first quarter.
— More than half of the respondents said they are somewhat pessimistic about job growth and anticipate more job losses, while 19 percent are very pessimistic.
— Only 11 percent are somewhat optimistic that the first quarter will experience an increase in job growth.
— Regionally, the Northeast, with its high concentration of financial sector jobs, is the most pessimistic, with 82 percent of HR mangers expressing pessimism ranging from somewhat to very pessimistic.
— HR professionals in the West report the lowest levels of pessimism (66 percent), followed by the Southeast (69 percent), and the Midwest (75 percent).
Although the outlook is bleak, not everyone is planning to eliminate jobs, and some of the respondents said they are pursuing payroll expansions in early 2009. Twenty-three percent of the HR respondents plan to hire in the first quarter of 2009.
On average large employers (more than 500 employees) who plan to add staff, plan to add 56.2 employees. Medium-size companies with 100 to 499 employees who expect to increase payroll, plan to do so by 17.8 employees on average, and small employers with fewer than 100 workers who plan to hire, expect to do so by an average of 4.2 employees.