How to Predict if a Layoff is Coming

In this whirlwind economic market, one day you could be in, the next day you could be out. Being prepared for a possible layoff is no longer a defeatist way of thinking; it has become part of everyday life for millions of workers worldwide. In order to put yourself in the best position, it’s important to pay close attention to possible layoff warning signs. Here are some tips for predicting whether a layoff may be looming in your future...

Company Financial Reports Show Consistent Losses

Company financial reports can paint the most accurate picture of company health. If quarterly reports show consistent losses, there is only a matter of time before higher-ups will try and find ways to cut the fat in order to keep their business afloat. 

Publically traded companies must publish reports annually and in some cases, quarterly. These reports can be found at your local library or by running reports directly from the London Stock Exchange.

Experts are Predicting Changes to Your Specific Market

Paying attention to business and financial news can help you gain some insight into your specific market. For example, when the markets crashed in 2008, the real estate market was the first to show signs of market collapse. If experts in news media are predicting trouble ahead for your business type or specifically for your firm, you may want to heed their waning and get your resume in order.

Company Acquisition

During acquisition, company heads, department managers, and their subordinate staff all have to worry about a possible layoff. Whose head will end up on the chopping block is not always clear at first. Company acquisitions can get nasty, but in some cases the acquiring company has no interest in laying off the acquired company’s employees and instead will lay off their own. During an acquisition, determining whether you stay or go could be as simple as a roll of the dice - both for the acquired and the acquiring company’s employees.

Stocks Have Dropped

If your firm is a publically traded company, falling stock prices could spell disaster. However, this does not always spell trouble for current employees. In today’s market, stocks can rise and fall dramatically from day to day; a warning sign that a layoff may be looming depends on the consistency of stock price drop. If stocks are steadily falling for months, it may be within your best interest to begin looking for work elsewhere.

An Increase in Office Drama

Gossip isn’t always inaccurate. If colleagues, managers, and even subordinates are creating a layoff buzz this could mean cuts are on the way. Be careful to sort out the truth from the gossip by assessing the facts. If office gossip of possible layoffs is coupled with one or more other possible layoff warning signs, the office drama queens may be on to something. 

Structural Changes to Business Infrastructure

If key employees, managers, or other high-ups seem to be flying the coop, this may be a sure sign that layoffs are about to begin. Large firms often relieve managers and key players of their duties before they shut a department down. If management meetings are taking place more often or if "restructuring" has become an office buzzword, head the warning; a mass layoff may be in the near future.

Depending on the type of business you are in, a company can falter for some time before actual layoffs begin. However, in certain cases such as a hostile acquisition or a PR catastrophe, layoffs can begin almost immediately. By keeping an eye on the warning signs and monitoring your company’s financial health, you should be able to predict when a layoff is imminent.


Image via CareerMiner