Job cuts only avoided by a quarter of UK employers in 2008

Three-quarters of employers made job cuts in 2008, with the same proportion planning to do so in 2009, a survey has revealed.

The results of an survey by Personnel Today’s sister organisation, pay specialist IRS, found 73% of organisations reduced their workforce in 2008 while the same number planned to make job cuts in 2009. Four in five (80%) employers also expected ongoing restructuring this year.

However, cost cutting would not necessarily lead to compulsory redundancies, the research found. More than half the 268 employers who took part in the survey said they had sought volunteers for redundancy.

Report author and researcher at IRS Noelle Murphy said: “Managing the redundancy process effectively is crucial for organisations, not least because of the raft of legislation in this area. Things are changing with unprecedented speed in the economy, and organisations need to respond just as quickly.

“This year (2009) is going to mean job cuts on a wide scale. But it is encouraging to see that employers are looking at ways to minimise compulsory job losses, which in turn will, without doubt, minimise the negative impact on remaining or ‘surviving’ employees.”

Murphy added that employers need to communicate at an early stage with staff who may face redundancy.

“Employers may need to make dramatic changes, but they will need engaged and committed employees to do so. Managing the redundancy process effectively – for all employees – can help to ensure this.”

The survey was conducted online in December 2008 and January 2009.

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