Almost 70 per cent of people have been made redundant or know someone personally who has, a study has found.
The report by career consultancy Penna Sanders & Sidney concludes that redundancy is a fact of working life in the UK.
Over a quarter of 1,000 people interviewed in Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and London have been made redundant at least once. A similar proportion have seen family members made redundant and a third know friends whose jobs had been cut.
Just over a quarter were made redundant in the early 1990s when the recession was at its peak, but twice as many lost their jobs as the economy picked up.
Over a fifth were made redundant this century, despite unemployment being at an all time low.
Sally Davis, director of Penna Sanders & Sidney, said, "The perception is that redundancy is synonymous with recession. Our experience is that in good times when organisations are investing, merging, internationalising or restructuring they are also likely to increase redundancies."
A total of 45 per cent feel employers have a duty to help staff find other work, but only 15 per cent thought the opposite.
Dr Diana Winstanley, senior lecturer in HR management at Imperial College Management School, said, "As redundancy becomes more commonplace at all levels, employers have a responsibility to support outgoing staff to minimise the negative impact of what is a very shocking experience."
By Ben Willmott