Redundancy fears: Over half of Irish employees braced for layoffs
- Over half (53%) of Irish workers are braced for being laid off, with 31% concerned for the long-term security of their job, and 22% believing they could be made redundant in 2023.
- Majority (84%) working for companies that have made redundancies in the past year
- Just 62% feel confident in the ability of their current business to survive long-term
Dublin, Ireland, 12th July, 08:00 BST: While inflation is forecasted to drop to 4.6% in 2023, interest rates are rising, and more companies are looking to make cost savings. Irish workers are feeling uncertain about their future, with 53% fearing for the security of their job, according to new SurveyMonkey research.
This year poses a unique challenge for businesses and their employees as companies look to cut budgets and teams weather the economic downturn, finding ways to do more with less whilst still retaining their top talent for when business picks back up. With 84% of Irish employees working for companies who have made redundancies in the past year, a little over a fifth (22%) are fearful that they could be made redundant in 2023, with an additional 34% concerned for the long-term security of their job.
Employees feeling nervous about their business’ survival long-term
Set against a challenging economic backdrop with high levels of business uncertainty, employees are bearing the brunt of businesses’ budget cuts. Almost one in three (31%) Irish workers believe up to 5% of staff have been let go, 30% believe up to 10%, and 14% believe up to a quarter have been let go—amounting to a huge swathe of countrywide redundancies.
Many employees remain optimistic about the future of 2023, with 38% believing that things will get better in terms of outlook for the business they work for whilst over a quarter (27%) believe things are going to get worse, pointing to the fact that the worst may not yet be behind us. Three in 10 (29%) of Irish employees are also nervous about the survival of their current business past the next year.
Cormac Kelly, Senior Director Customer Success EMEA, SurveyMonkey says, “Companies are having to make difficult decisions to balance the books and ensure the long-term viability and success of their business, and redundancies are an unfortunate aspect of this. Whilst cost saving may be the main goal, it’s important to ensure businesses bring their remaining team along with them for the journey, and ensure they understand how valuable they are to the company and its future vision. Companies will need everyone pulling in the same direction, with everyone feeling valued and secure to deliver a successful business long-term.”
Squeezed budgets lead businesses to do more with less
As businesses look to cut their spending, they are downsizing not just budgets, but whole departments and teams. This is being felt by Ireland’s workers, with just under half (49%) feeling that their department’s team or budget have been cut in the past 12 months and 30% saying both have been reduced. Whilst the majority of Irish feel that their department has had their team or budget reduced over the past 12 months, teams are still expected to provide the same standard of work. Over half (59%) claim their department is expected to provide the same amount of work with reduced resources and a quarter (24%) claim their department is expected to provide more work.
Kelly says, “Companies need to think very carefully about managing reduced departments, both in terms of reduced budgets or smaller teams. With the majority (79%) of Irish workers feeling that their department’s team and/or budget has been reduced, optimisations need to be made or new technology must be invested in. Companies need to ensure that their teams have the correct support in place, are listening closely to their teams needs, and acting upon feedback from employees.”
One of the key elements businesses must weigh up when looking to cut costs is the true cost of retaining experienced key talent in the business versus the investment needed to train up more junior staff to fill their place. For businesses looking to keep their experienced older staff a few years longer, there are some things they can do. When asked which benefits would entice those coming up to retirement to postpone their retirement and stay in their job for longer, being offered an increased salary (45%) and a four-day work week (43%) came out on top. When looking at the top five, it becomes evident that employees are looking for that perfect balance of flexibility and monetary reward: 1) Increased salary (45%), 2) Four-day work week (43%), 3) Flexible working hours (42%), 4) Health Insurance (38%), 5) Flexible working location (24%).
AI seen as the future, but fears remain over its impact on human jobs
Just at the point when economic uncertainty is causing businesses to tighten their belts, generative AI, such as ChatGPT, is allowing for optimisations to be made and business costs reduced. Whilst this is good news for businesses, it is making employees across Ireland anxious.
One in five (19%) believe that AI poses a direct threat to their job and could make their role redundant, whilst 44% believe that AI could take over part of their current day-to-day activities. When looking to the future, some Irish workers (14%) believe AI will replace all human roles in the future. However, 36% are more optimistic believing that while some roles will be replaced, AI will also create new roles within the company that don’t yet exist.
Kelly says, “With over a third (35%) of Irish employees believing that investing in AI is essential to improve the long-term survival of their business, it’s no wonder some are feeling anxious about their future roles. At SurveyMonkey, we believe that the melding of technology and humanity is the key to long-term business success. Human input is a critical part of the feedback loop that drives business forward, and that’s something tech just can’t replace. However, AI can (and already does) enhance the work we do and free up time for more impactful work.”
This SurveyMonkey study was conducted between March 30 - April 7 among a national sample of 841 adults in the UK, 736 in the Netherlands and 743 in Ireland. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on our platform each day. The modelled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 3.0 percentage points for the UK, and plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the Netherlands and Ireland. Sampling was balanced for age, sex, and geography using demographic data from the United Nations to reflect demographic composition of each country.
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