Amid a changing job market, many companies have already laid off employees this year.

In June, surveyed 934 U.S. business leaders to find out how many companies plan to have layoffs in the second half of 2024. Overall, 60% of business leaders say their company is likely to have layoffs in the second half of the year. This group of 553 total respondents completed the full survey.

Study Highlights:

  • 60% of business leaders say their company is likely to have layoffs in the second half of 2024
  • Of companies planning to have layoffs, 44% anticipate laying off 30% or more of their staff
  • Top reasons for layoffs are needing to cut costs, poor employee performance
  • 3 in 4 business leaders say employees with artificial intelligence (AI) skills are less likely to be laid off
  • 1 in 10 companies provide less than 2 weeks of severance

3 in 5 Companies Will Likely Layoff Employees During Second Half of This Year

Of the business leaders we polled, 95% report having layoffs in the first half of 2024. Approximately 3% report no layoffs, while 21% laid off 5% of their staff, 12% dismissed 10%, and 20% let 20% go. Additionally, 11% laid off 30%, 10% terminated 40%, and 21% reported laying off 50% or more of their workforce.

Many business leaders also report that their company is likely to lay off employees in the second half of 2024. Among business leaders, 60% say their company is very likely (26%) or likely (34%) to lay off employees in the second half of the year. Conversely, 27% say they are unlikely (12%) or very unlikely (15%) to do so, while 12% are unsure.

“Macroeconomic factors such as a drop in consumer sentiment and/or delay in interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve could be significant factors in layoff decisions through the second half of 2024,” explains ResumeTemplates’ executive resume writer Andrew Stoner. “Consumer sentiment softened a bit in June. The Federal Reserve has held the interest rate steady for a year now with progressive rate cuts expected.”

Of companies letting workers go, 2 in 5 anticipate laying off 30% or more of their workforce

In the second half of 2024, companies anticipate varying levels of layoffs. Approximately 5% of respondents expect to lay off 1% of their workforce, 20% anticipate dismissing 5%, and 13% foresee laying off 10%. Meanwhile, 17% predict letting 20% of their workforce go, 10% expect 30%, and 6% foresee 40%. Also, 19% believe their company will lay off between 50 and 90% of their staff, and 8% expect to dismiss their entire workforce.

Reasons for layoffs include cost-cutting measures, artificial intelligence taking over work

Business leaders cite many factors contributing to layoffs, including cost-cutting measures (60%), employee performance issues (53%), AI taking over workload (51%), company restructuring (51%), declining market conditions (45%), overstaffing (35%), and other technological advancements (31%).

Respondents say that their company most often communicates layoffs through in-person meetings (44%). However, other methods include emails (26%), official letters (12%), virtual meetings (8%), instant messages (5%), and phone calls (5%).

3 in 4 business leaders say employees with artificial intelligence skills are less likely to be laid off

Among business leaders surveyed, the majority (76%) say that workers with AI experience are less likely to face layoffs.

“I believe this trend reflects the growing demand for AI skills in today’s job market and employers’ desire to retain AI talent for future business applications and opportunities,” says Stoner. “Employees with AI skills have a significant advantage in adaptability compared to their counterparts.”

1 in 10 Companies Give Two Weeks or Less of Severance

We also inquired about severance and other resources provided to laid-off employees. Overall, business leaders report their companies providing a range of severance pay.

Approximately 4% say their company offers no severance pay, and 5% provide less than two weeks. Additionally, 22% report giving two to four weeks, 27% offer one to two months, and 17% provide three to four months. Of companies, 11% offer five to six months, 3% give seven to nine months, and 9% provide nine to12 months. Only 3% offer more than one year of severance pay.

Some businesses provide additional resources to laid-off employees, including letters of recommendation (55%), continued medical benefits (46%), networking opportunities (44%), referral programs (42%), and retraining programs (38%). Additionally, companies provide mental health services (36%), temporary work assignments (34%), and different roles within the company (32%). Nearly 7% of companies provide no additional resources.

“In addition to the immediate impacts, such as financial strain, reduced transition time, and loss of benefits, the pressure stemming from limited severance policies can adversely affect laid-off workers,” explains Stoner. “This added pressure may lead to diminished performance, increased stress, and a compromised ability to secure a well-suited role with appropriate compensation.”

The survey was conducted in June 2024. In total, 934 U.S. respondents were surveyed.

To take the survey, respondents had to answer that they are over 25, have a household income of at least $75,000, and have an education level above high school. They must be a business leader (organizational role: owner / partner, president/CEO/chairperson, C-level executive, chief financial officer, chief technology officer, senior management, director, HR manager), and work at a company with more than 10 employees. Those who report being likely to have layoffs in the second half of the year, 553 respondents, took the full survey.

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