According to the latest survey by Willis Towers Watson, employers in Ireland are bracing themselves for a challenging end to 2020.
33% of employers surveyed are actively planning to either reduce their workforce or undertake wide restructuring in response to COVID-19. The remaining 67% of those surveyed are considering freezing or reducing hiring across their organisations. Of those employers who stated that they would review workforce numbers, 13% had already reduced numbers and 50% were giving consideration to reducing their headcount.
Regarding staff associated costs and future planning, 50% of respondents are delaying, or are considering and planning for a delay of bonus payments. Furthermore, of the employers surveyed who stated that they are looking at reducing employee pay as a cost saving measure, 17% had already done so and 50% were considering or planning for pay reductions across their entire workforce.
Overall, changes caused by COVID-19 to employers and employees will be unavoidable, impacting more than remuneration and pay with 12% of employers actively changing or planning to change employee work hours.
Although many businesses have availed of furlough schemes in recent months, 45% of those surveyed have no plans to place employees on involuntary unpaid leave of absences. However, organisations are also engaging with their workforce to find solutions to the issues raised by COVID-19, with 66% having taken or are considering taking action to offer voluntary unpaid leave or furloughs to interested employees.
Commenting on the findings, Country Lead for Talent & Rewards at Willis Towers Watson, Sarah McDonough said: “ Measures such as hire freezes, restructuring and addressing costs make a difference in the short term but it is important that changes are strategically guided and do not hamper a business’s ability to meet its client’s needs and overall growth."
Ms McDonough concluded: Although this research is stark, it is an opportunity for organisations to reimagine how and where they work, how they reward for that work and how they prepare for the future by building agility and resilience into their business models, whilst also developing their employees to be able to deal with accelerated change.”