In the most recent weeks, numerous businesses have made layoff announcements or hinted at upcoming reductions. Fortunately, there are things employees may do to get ready.
“At the end of day, you can’t control what’s happening in the economy, but you can control building a strong professional resilience,” according to career and financial coach Mandi Woodruff-Santos.
Ford Motor, HBO Max, Peloton, Shopify, Re/Max, Walmart, and Wayfair are a few of the companies that recently announced layoffs.
According to a PwC study of 722 U.S. executives conducted in early August, 50% of businesses anticipate a decrease in overall employment, while 52% plan to implement a hiring freeze and 44% to revoke job offers.
According to Bhushan Sethi, co-head of PwC’s global people and organization group, these are the executives’ expectations for the upcoming six to twelve months, therefore they may change.
“They’re focusing on what they can control,” Sethi said of employers. “They’re dealing with geopolitics, supply-chain issues, inflation, war in Ukraine, all these factors for which they have to determine what their strategies are.”
Other data indicate that the labor market is still healthy despite these unfavorable trends.
In July, employers increased payrolls by 528,000, exceeding forecasts and restoring all of the jobs lost as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. While job vacancies remained at historically high levels, the layoff rate lingered close to records lows in June.
During the week ending August 13, almost 250,000 people initially applied for unemployment benefits, which is an increase compared to the spring but only a small increase from prepandemic levels.
“The labor markets are still incredibly strong, from all the data we’ve seen,” Sethi said.
Here are some suggestions for being ready for a possible layoff:
Be sure to evaluate your “personal professional economy”
Instead than extrapolating based on unfavorable headlines, workers should first assess their own situation. Worry may not be warranted in your business because it may be well protected against layoffs, at least temporarily, according to experts.
Instead, consider your “personal professional economy,” which includes your employment and talents, according to Woodruff-Santos. What, for instance, are the employment trends and job openings in your sector? What do you observe and hear from those working in your sector?
“People should forget about what’s happening in Silicon Valley if they don’t work in that space,” she said. “If you’re a project manager in the education or health care space, that’s an entirely different ballgame.”
In many sectors of the economy, it is still a worker’s market, especially for specialized skills in industries like cybersecurity and digital, automation, supply chains, and mergers and acquisitions, for instance, according to Sethi.
Analyze your finances
Having an emergency fund is always a good idea, but it will become even more crucial following a layoff.
Those funds will aid in filling a void in income during periods of unemployment. Many employees either receive a few weeks of compensation or no severance at all. Depending on their state, employment, and recent earnings history, workers may not always be eligible for unemployment benefits.
“A lot of people today don’t have three months of a cash reserve,” according the CEO of Atlanta-based oXYGen Financial and certified financial planner Ted Jenkin. “If you get fired it’s not necessarily true you’ll get a severance package.”
In order to assess how long their emergency fund would last, workers need also look at their spending, he continued. In these estimates, student loan debt should be taken into account because, according to Jenkin, payments are expected to start again after August 31.
Additionally, now is a good time for employees to arrange any required medical checkups under their current insurance policy, especially because many people may have reached their deductible for the year, according to Jenkin.
People who have 401(k) plan loans can also think about attempting to speed up payments. If a laid-off person doesn’t pay back their loan within a specified amount of time (usually 90 days) after losing their employment, they may be subject to tax penalties.
Improve personal branding and “professional resiliency”
In preparation for a prospective layoff, employees might concentrate on strengthening their “professional resiliency,” according to Woodruff-Santos.
When making a career change, many people concentrate on updating their resumes, but she explained that this isn’t always the best strategy, especially for people who are farther along in their careers. Personal connections and branding become more crucial.
To interact with their professional network, individuals can attend or participate in panels at industry conferences, take part in workshops, and post or share content on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
She noted that workers who complete a collaborative project might think about posting a “shoutout” about it on social media and identifying the team members who contributed.
Long-term benefits can come from performing well at work and getting along well with others, especially if previous coworkers remember your contributions and can assist bring you aboard at another company.
“You can’t underestimate the value of those connections you’re making in your current workplace,” Woodruff-Santos said.