Employers Steer away from Layoffs

February 20, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - In response to the weak economic environment, more than half of employers responding to a survey said they would take measures other than axing jobs to save money.

According to the survey by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut and Rutgers University, in terms of cost control measures,

  • keeping employees to 40 hours per week was first on the list for 44%,
  • freezing salaries was cited by 6%, and
  • cutting their own salaries was the answer for 4%

Perhaps in keeping with their assessment of layoffs for cost containment, almost half of those responding, or 46%, said they had trouble finding the best workers and almost 30% said they anticipated the same problem in 2002.

Layoffs an Option

While many in the survey opted for something other than separating workers to save money, almost 40% listed layoffs as their leading cost-cutting strategy, the survey found.

But there was a disagreement about who should pay to retrain the at-risk workers so they might find other jobs. Only 14% of employers said they should have to pick up the training costs.

In a separate survey of workers, however:

  • some 37% of the sample said that the individual who receives the training should pay,
  • just over a quarter said the government should foot the bill, and
  • some 17% said it should be employers’ responsibility

The employer survey covered 501 businesses in December, 2001.