One in four employers expect to make permanent redundancies due to COVID-19, reveals poll

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3rd April 2020 09:02 - Professional Services

One in four employers expect to make permanent redundancies due to COVID-19: A survey of HR professionals has revealed insight into the way employers are responding to the coronavirus crisis, finding that while many are looking to furlough staff, a quarter fear they will have to make permanent redundancies.

The poll of 301 UK respondents by the CIPD (the professional body for HR and people management) and People Management magazine found that 15% believe they will permenantly lose up to a tenth of their workforce, with 9% expecting to lose between 11% - 49% of staff. However, two-thirds (67%) are hopeful they will see no change to their workforce.

Half the employers polled (52%) are planning, however, to use the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furlough some employees.

When HR managers were asked how employers are responding to the crisis, the survey found that more than a third (35%) are asking staff to use up their annual leave, while a quarter are reducing hours (25%). Other measures being taken by employers include moving staff to work in other areas of the business (26%) and freezing or putting back pay rises (24%). 

Unsurprisingly, many employers are expecting to see a fall in the number of new employees to their business, with more than half (52%) saying that hiring new staff has been paused. A quarter of respondents (25%) said that they would still be advertising for new staff, but less frequently than they would in normal circumstances. One in seven said they are expecting to carry on hiring as normal, while 4% said they would be hiring more than they usually would in order to cope with demand. 

Responding to the findings, Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said:

“This survey shows that many businesses are already considering redundancies, rather than utilising the Government's Job Retention Scheme during the coronavirus crisis. Making redundancies should be a last resort once all other options for reducing workforce costs have been taken."

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