Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CFOs Try to Avoid Layoffs

To avoid layoffs, nearly half (47 percent) of chief financial officers are trying other options ranging from salary freezes to shortened work weeks, according to the most recent quarterly survey conducted by Financial Executives International (FEI) and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business.

About a fifth (21 percent) of the 334 CFOs surveyed said they expanded early pensions and other retirement incentives, while 17 percent implemented furloughs.

Forty-seven percent of respondents were trying other tactics, including salary reductions, unpaid vacations, pay raise stalls and preferences to hold onto experienced personnel:

• Salary freeze – 51 percent
• Redistribution of responsibilities – 29 percent
• Elimination of bonuses – 29 percent
• Restructuring – 29 percent
• Salary decreases – 20 percent
• Shortened work week – 16 percent
• Mandatory unpaid time off – 11 percent
• Option to telecommute – 3 percent

On a more optimistic note, over a quarter (28 percent) of CFOs are witnessing signs of stabilization at companies where layoffs did not occur this quarter (30 percent).

The job outlook for recent graduates and interns was still challenging when the survey was conducted at the end of March. Nearly all (95 percent) of the CFOs whose companies traditionally hire students had either hired fewer, or the same amount as the previous year. A scant 5 percent of the CFOs had increased graduate hiring.

Among companies that have historically hired paid summer interns, 61 percent planned to hire fewer interns, and only 8 percent said they would hire more interns this summer.

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