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Have staff cuts gone too far?

Microscope contributor


There are growing concerns from IT recruiters that cutbacks have gone too deep.

In the last six months thousands of people have lost their jobs and the channel and general IT sector has not been immune from those redundancies. But questions are now being asked about companies’ ability to recover quickly if skilled workers are sitting at home twiddling their thumbs.

Some opinions have been expressed that the cuts have gone deeper than needed and some of the former staff should now be rehired. Getting carried away with the opportunity to get rid of dead wood has been too much of a temptation for some employers.

The haste to cut headcount to reduce costs has seen 60% of UK companies cutting staff and 65,000 going in the IT sector. This leaves firms having to rebuild their workforces.

“They should treat this as an opportunity to re-build their old workforce rather than replace numbers like for like,” said Sid Barnes, a director of IT recruitment specialist Computer People.

The second warning comes from Ratio Search & Selection which points out that the current trend in leaning on temporary staff rather than full-time is also not necessarily a healthy one.

Over the past 18 months there has been a 45% drop in the number of permanent vacancies but the recruitment agency said temporary positions had held up and now full-time positions were coming back.

“We have never seen such high demand for temporary staff, said Steven Byrne, Ratio Search & Selection’s recruitment director.

As confidence returns, which it will do as the recovery kicks in towards the end of the year, the question of recruitment and the attitude firms take towards it will become more important.

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