If You Haven’t Laid People Off Yet, You Probably Won’t

From the department of maybe-things-are-getting-less-bad: “layoffs, hiring freezes, and salary freezes may have finally peaked” in the U.S., Watson Wyatt says.

Watson Wyatt’s survey this month of 141 employers shows that 26 percent of employers plan to increase cost-cutting initiatives over the next 12 months, way down from 51 percent who said so in February. Of the companies who have avoided layoffs thus far, only 5% expect to start laying people off over the next year.

In a nutshell, the first two columns below are the nasty ones; the last two are the good ones.

Have already made change and expect to do so again

Have not made change yet but expect to in next 12 months

Have already made change and do not expect to make further changes

No changes made or expected

Layoffs/reductions in force

41% 5% 31% 22%

Hiring freeze

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29% 4% 43% 24%

Organization-wide restructuring

24% 10% 25% 40%

Salary freeze

17% 7% 43% 33%

Reduced workweek

16% 4% 6% 75%

Salary reductions

7% 4% 14% 75%

Reduced employer 401(k)/403(b) match

4% 8% 18% 70%


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