The recession over the last 4-5 years has led companies to economize resources. Companies used the recession as an excuse to down-size and to generally squeeze better profits out of the business. In many cases it was necessary to down-size to ensure the health of companies and to be competitive within their industries.
A few years later, many of these companies are healthy, profitable and growing. So at what point will these companies re-hire these lost workers?
The answer is “maybe never”.
The reason is simple, if a company is getting by just fine with a smaller work-force then why should they voluntarily hire people?
Unfortunately the recession has allowed companies to squeeze more out their workers and to also take a hard look at their employment numbers. Many of those people who were sitting around all day doing god-knows-what have been identified and let go. I mean people not at 90% or more productivity.
Delivering at 125% or more of the productivity levels of the pre-recession days is the new norm. Companies are happy to provide new productivity tools and technology to enable people to perform considerably better and more efficiently.
The process of “down-sizing” is actually a serious business where a consulting company specializing in business efficiencies comes in, studies processes for a while, and then makes recommendations on who to let go and how to realign business processes to make do with a smaller headcount while keeping profitability higher than ever before.
Unfortunately, this “Recession State of Mind” where companies are happy to keep people working at 125% and making do with a smaller headcount, is not likely to go away soon.
I’ve seen this happening first-hand at several companies. And I recommend that if you are confident of your skills, become a consultant. A consultant is not part of any head-count and cannot be let go. If you are really good, you can be billing 16 or more hours in an 8 hour workday. Or start a side-business while you are employed, that you can grow into a larger business if you have to.
Its important for everyone to have a backup employment plan during and after the recession.