A report released today seems to indicate that 60 percent of organizations expect they may lay off employees in 2009--but those figures need some explaining.
The Society for Human Resource Management survey asked HR executives at the end of October: "How likely is it that your organization will lay off employees in the next 12 months?" One-quarter of the respondents said "somewhat likely," 35 percent said "very likely," and 40 percent said "not likely."
One point: Nearly half of the respondents reported having had layoffs in the past year, while 35 percent said they expected it was very likely they'd have layoffs in the 12-month period starting at the end of October. So it's possible the biggest payroll cuts are behind us, as some economists have speculated.
Second point: There have been plenty layoff announcements since the start of November. In fact, November employment figures showed employers had shed 533,000 jobs--the most since 1974. So if the survey was performed in the last week of October and respondents were asked about the next 12 months--November and December of this year were likely included.
The survey included some other interesting results. In the 12 months before the survey, nearly 3 out of 4 organizations had reduced headcount through attrition, while nearly half had instituted hiring freezes, according to the survey.
When asked about the major negative factors impacting the company's financial position, 64 percent cited reduced demand for products or services, compared with 38 percent who cited the financial market turmoil. Health care costs were also cited by more than a third of respondents.
The layoff particulars that were most common:
Survey respondents were from all parts of the U.S.; from companies small (1-99 employees), medium (100-499 employees) and large (500 plus employees); from public and private companies, non profits, and government.