A new Temple University study has found that 45% of layoff victims would return to work for their previous employer - despite anger over being terminated..
"How employers treat employees through layoffs is always important and will become even more so when the economy fully rebounds and it's an employees' market again," said human resource management Professor Gary J. Blau, the study's lead author.
Layoff victims' communication of mistreatment can impact layoff survivors, who may anticipate the same or even worse treatment. Remaining employees with "lower trust, motivation and commitment would be more likely to give a negative or discouraging employer endorsement/referral to prospective applicants," the authors wrote.
The researchers examined unemployment effects on an understudied population: salaried professionals, middle managers and executives. Of the 382 respondents surveyed online, 64 percent earned more than $75,000 a year, 79 percent had at least a college degree, 79 percent were the primary source of household income when laid off and 83 percent were salaried professionals or in higher positions.
The sample also included a wide range of unemployment lengths, with 65 percent out of work for at least 27 weeks, the U.S. Department of Labor's definition for long-term unemployment. Another 23 percent of respondents were unemployed for more than two years - and suffered the most in a number of areas, including lower life satisfaction, lower re-employment confidence and higher unemployment stigma and depression.
"People are at a point where they're losing their houses, their wives or husbands are leaving them. They're in a severe hardship," said Tony Petrucci, an assistant professor and managing partner at Gravitas LLC, an executive and board search firm.
"People are saying, 'I may not like this employer because of how they handled my layoff. I'm angry, but I would consider going back to work with them.' It's a state of desperation," he added.
The study has been published in the journal Career Development International.