Will Layoffs Help Fill the Talent Gap?  Back to the Office or Else!  January Labor and Economic Snapshot

The “Great Reshuffle” Continues

Reality checks are never pleasant, but thousands of tech workers, some enviably the recipients of sky-high salaries, free lattes, and even massages, are among the nearly 100,000 caught up in mass layoffs so far in 2023.  And it is not just the tech sector in downsizing mode.  Intelligenz reports that as of February 21, over 451 companies have announced layoffs, in addition to the 3,150 companies that scaled back last year.  But could there be a bright side to this trend for recruitment?

With low unemployment and depressed labor force participation rates of 3.4% and 62.4%, hiring managers struggle to match talent to open positions.  And there is serious competition out there.  That is why Partnership Employment’s experts are your best option to connect to newly adrift workers quickly and efficiently.  They keep close tabs on industry layoffs and relocations across the country and are your best resource to fill positions with exceptional talent in a variety of roles.  Hiring is still robust, especially within the professional, scientific, and technical services (up 41,000 in January).  Now is the time to snap up displaced talent before hiring wanes in summer.

“An office is a place where dreams come true” – Michael Scott from The Office

Meanwhile, Amazon is joining a host of other major corporations asking employees to return to a more office-centric environment.  In a letter to workers, CEO Andy Jassy wants people in the office “at least three days a week” by May 1.  His reasons echo the beliefs of many employers about remote work.  He wrote:

“It’s easier to learn, model, practice, and strengthen our culture when we’re in the office together most of the time and surrounded by our colleagues.”

“Collaborating and inventing is easier and more effective when we’re in person.”

“Learning from one another is easier in-person.”

These reasons and concerns about productivity drive the return-to-office (RTO) movement, but many staffers are unhappy about returning to the status quo.  After pay and opportunity, flexibility is often the defining factor for job acceptance.  After Jassy’s decision, fourteen thousand Amazon workers reportedly signed a petition demanding the CEO cancel his request. 

It’s fair to ask, will RTO mandates fail under pressure from employees, many of whom relocated or took on caregiver responsibilities?   Will staffers revolt, using tactics like ‘quiet quitting’ as a protest?  It’s too soon to tell if we’re heading into Part Two of The Great Reshuffle if remote workers quit and employers only rehire with the proviso that most work occurs in the office.

Partnership Employment has written extensively about remote work issues in past blogs (explore below).  As we know, telecommuting expanded during the pandemic as many workers relocated out of cities.  Insufficient daycare, caregiver responsibilities, and health risks made it even harder for some to return.  As time passed, people appreciated better work-life balance, less time on the road, and the ability to work from anywhere.  Wrapping their heads around returning to a more office-centric workstyle is challenging for many people, so employers must carefully balance individual situations with productivity, teaming, and culture goals.  Let us work with you to reframe the options and terms of employment and get your people re-engaged in a way that benefits everyone.