CIPD admits potential for ‘jobs avalanche’ at end of 2008

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has admitted that there could be a “jobs avalanche” at the end of 2008 – and warned that HR professionals were no safer than anyone else

However, the institute questioned claims that almost half a million jobs could be axed over the next two years.

According to research by business consultant Capital Economics up to 440,000 jobs could be lost by 2010 because of the credit crunch.

The survey said unemployment could soar to 8% from just over 5% today as firms slashed their headcounts in the face of rising costs and falling demand.

Separate research from the Centre of Economics and Business Research said that 350,000 jobs could go by April 2009.

But Gerwyn Davies, public policy advisor at the CIPD, told Personnel Today: “These reports are somewhat pessimistic.

“We believe employment levels are likely to rise, but at a much slower rate than over the past decade.”

However, Davies added that many firms were adopting a wait-and-see policy, and that if the economy did not improve by a certain point, there could be a rush of redundancies.

“If the economy continues to look bleak, then we could see a jobs avalanche at the end of this year or early next year,” he said.

HR jobs were likely to continue to grow very slowly, in line with the national average, Davies said.

“HR is not any more or less safe than other professions,” he added. “HR practitioners are right to be cautious, as the jobs boom decade has come to an abrupt halt.

“But we do not go along with the line that they should stay put where they are – it’s not as bleak as that.”

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