SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug 25, 2020 — A new survey released today by Randstad RiseSmart, the leading global outplacement and talent mobility provider, found that nearly half (47 percent) of US employers who have opted to furlough or layoff staff as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are considering making additional workforce reductions in the next 12 months.

The survey was conducted online by a third-party survey provider and respondents included more than 250 human resources professionals at companies of all sizes across more than 20 industries.

According to the survey, prior to the pandemic, 86 percent of employers were not planning to conduct separations, but the devasting effects of the crisis on the US economy forced drastic, widespread changes in talent strategies. During the peak of the pandemic in April, the unemployment rate rose from a low of 3.5 percent in February to a record high of 14.7 percent. In fact, in recent months, unemployment rose much higher than it did in the two years of the Great Recession.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unforeseen economic burdens on organizations across various industries, leading many employers to make the tough decision to lay off and furlough talent as a result,” said Dan Davenport, president and general manager of Randstad RiseSmart. “While it is a positive sign that the unemployment rate is starting to decrease, we are still in the midst of this pandemic, and based on our survey results, more coronavirus-related layoffs could be on the horizon.”

Overall, one in five employers surveyed have either laid off (9.3 percent) or furloughed (11.3 percent) workers due to the impact of the pandemic, and nearly half (47.2 percent) have not made any new hires since COVID-19 was declared a national emergency.

The survey also revealed that organizations have room for improvement when it comes to how they treat separated employees during times of crisis. More than half (54 percent) of the employers surveyed did not take any actions to avoid conducting layoffs or furloughs, such as internal redeployment.

“While the financial downturn caused by this pandemic has made workforce shifts unavoidable for many businesses, when employers do right by their current and departing employees, it is beneficial for the organization’s reputation and the broader economy. During these uncertain times, workers need assistance and support more than ever,” said Davenport. “It’s important for companies that are planning to conduct further workforce restructuring to consider options such as internal redeployment and outplacement services. Not only will doing so help employees grow in their careers, but it will have a positive, long-lasting impact on an organization’s brand and bottom line.”

Coronavirus Employer Survey: Key Findings

Hiring Has Stalled: Nearly half of US employers (47.2 percent) have not made any new hires since COVID-19 was declared a national emergency on March 13. In response to the novel coronavirus, 16.4 percent of employers noted that they implemented hiring freezes.

Lack of Virtual Layoffs: Of the survey respondents who have laid off or furloughed employees, the top three ways these changes have been communicated include: in-person or on-site notifications (27.9 percent), individual phone calls (24.8 percent), and email (22.4 percent). Despite the rise in popularity of video conferencing more broadly, less than eight percent (7.5 percent) of respondents utilized a one-on-one video call to conduct separations.

Redeployment Remains Low: Fewer than four percent of employers (3.7 percent) have redeployed or reassigned employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while more than half (54 percent) took no action to avoid layoffs or furloughs.

Use of Cost Saving Measures: Approximately30 percent of US employers surveyed deployed cost savings measures such as freezing salaries, cancelling bonuses, or reducing executive pay in response to the pandemic.



About Randstad RiseSmart

Randstad RiseSmart is the fastest-growing career transition and talent mobility provider, and operating company of Randstad N.V., a €23.8 billion global provider of flexible work and human resources services, that helps more than two million candidates find meaningful work every year. Our outplacement, career development, redeployment and contemporary tech & touch solutions strengthen employer brands, improve retention and re-engage talent. Employers hire us because we deliver superior outcomes through expert coaching, professional branding, contemporary resources and on-demand analytics. Today, we are a trusted human partner of successful companies in more than 40 industries. Our passion and dedication to innovation, responsiveness and results have earned us extensive recognition and awards from organizations such as Bersin by Deloitte, Gartner Inc., the Brandon Hall Group and Fortune magazine. For more information, visit

Media contact:

Nick Palladino
(212) 390-0520

25 August 2020

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