2003 Looking Only Slightly Better For Job Seekers

January 10, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Fifty-two percent of HR professionals surveyed anticipate layoffs in 2003, with 11% expecting layoffs to affect in excess of 20% of their workforce, according to data from human resources consulting firm DBM.

Although a significant decrease from 2002, that saw a staggering 71% of HR professionals implement layoffs, DBM say this trend may increase the job search time for those seeking employment.

Further, DBM found only 35% of those polled expect to implement hiring plans. Citing a large talent pool and highly competitive job market, DBM believes this translates into companies extending the interviewing process and delaying hiring decisions. Additionally, companies may be more “risk adverse” towards new hires and will continue to look for the “perfect candidate.”

“Indications are that workforce conditions in 2003 will challenge job seekers, employees, and employers alike,” said DBM President Tom Silveri. “Job seekers will need to network aggressively and explore flexible avenues of re-employment opportunities, while employers will continue to find ways to streamline operations and improve productivity.”

However, despite companies continuing to tighten the spending belt, DBM says the results show organizations realize the importance of keeping employee morale and loyalty strong. Evidence of this is the 64% of survey respondents expecting their companies to invest in leadership development programs and 38% planning to invest in executive coaching this year.

DBM sees this as a positive trend to improve productivity, “employers should be conscious that low turnover does not equal engaged employees, and organizations need to find ways to help their employees do more with less. Investing in an employee’s career development can only help that employee be a more valuable and productive contributor to the business,” said Silveri.

DBM’s Workforce Predictions Survey for 2003 polled more than 800 HR professionals, which was conducted throughout 18 cities in the US and Canada in the fourth quarter of 2002.