Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Not a Time For Layoffs?
Recent employment reports show signs of the early patterns of a recession, and therefore many economists are forecasting an increase in layoffs during the coming months.
But some labor-market experts aren't so sure. They say employers may be less likely than they were in the past to use layoffs as a cost-cutting strategy. One reason, they say, is that companies already were operating with fairly lean payrolls as the economy began to slow. Also, some experts have observed that the decline in the number of young people working in the United States has begun much sooner in this downturn compared with previous recessions.
In addition, employers across industries appear to be increasingly concerned about labor and talent shortages. According to a recent survey of nearly 5,000 executives in 83 countries conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), talent management is the most urgent priority for U.S. employers and for companies virtually across the globe. Company leaders in nations with aging populations express concern that they will soon be losing large numbers of their most experienced workers to retirement.
Also, the use of even small layoffs can affect an organization's future ability to hang on to its most valued employees, according to some research findings. A recent study of 200 organizations, reported in the Academy of Management Journal, found that even modest downsizing in a company triggered an upturn in job seeking by its most valued employees.
Although softness in the labor market appears to be easing recruiting difficulties somewhat, the SHRM/Rutgers recruiting difficulty index shows that many HR professionals are finding it increasingly hard to recruit candidates for the jobs of most strategic importance to their organizations.
In an environment of growing concern about the availability of skilled job candidates, any actions that might lead to the loss of highly valued and experienced employees are likely to be approached with caution. As a result, employers may be more wary of introducing layoffs than in previous recessions and could also be more likely to weigh the potential long-term impact that layoffs could have on future organizational talent strategies.
Although economists disagree about whether labor-market conditions will deteriorate or revive during the coming months, HR professionals appear to be in agreement that talent shortages are likely to be an ongoing problem for many years to come. They are adapting to this new reality by prioritizing efforts to recruit and retain a diverse workforce from multiple generations, by emphasizing succession planning and the development of talent from their existing labor forces, and by considering the long-term implications of using layoffs to cut labor costs.
Jennifer Schramm is manager of the Workplace Trends and Forecasting program at SHRM.
SHRM web page: Workplace Trends and Forecasting home page
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
HR Education in a City Near You
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies