Layoffs in response to the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus are either expected or have begun happening at 44% of companies, according to a survey conducted by Verdict.

The survey, which ran from 25 March to 15 April on our website, found that 24% of respondents expected their company to conduct layoffs as a result of the coronavirus, while 20% said this had already begun to happen.

35% also reported that recruitment was on hold, meaning 79% of companies have seen staffing disruption of some form or another as a result of the pandemic.

Just 8% said their company had stepped up hiring as a result of the pandemic, while 13% reported no impact on recruitment.

The survey was answered by 1,136 of Verdict readers, who primarily are from the US, the UK, India and Canada, and who primarily work in technology, finance and related industries.

coronavirus layoffsLayoffs, hiring freezes a sign of pervasive uncertainty amid the coronavirus

The results of the survey, in particular the levels of expected layoffs and hiring freezes, have not been met with surprise by the recruitment industry, which has seen the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic translate into extreme caution surrounding recruitment.

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“With the level of uncertainty right now during the Covid-19 crisis it is to no surprise that 79% of businesses are being cautious when it comes to staffing and recruitment,” said Brad Coombes, co-founder of Collabz, an in-house talent company.

“Where we are yet to receive a clear indication on a likely exit date the majority of projects are being shelved, which lowers the need for staff.”

However, Coombes did highlight that not all industries are seeing layoffs or a recruitment downturn as a result of the coronavirus.

“There are some industries that have seen no interruption and in some cases an upturn. This is mainly within the tech industry, which was already set up for remote working,” he said, adding that companies offering products that supported remote working, such as video interviewing and remote meeting providers, were also likely to see an uptick.

“Other sectors that sit within the public sector supply chain are also seeing minimal impact to their businesses as you would expect.”

He also argued that while permanent positions were being hit, there was likely to be a strong shift to temporary roles.

“I expect that due to the uncertainty, coupled with the delay of IR35, we will see a significant rise in the use of temporary labour and interim positions for the next 12 months.”

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