Layoffs: 10 signs they may be coming

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Every day, there is another company announcing a layoff. 2022 has been an unexpectedly lousy year for layoffs. Why? Business growth is slowing and labor costs are rising.


According to an August PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey of 722 corporate executives, 51% have made or plan to make job cuts in 2022, while 52% have also implemented or plan to implement hiring freezes. 

So, what are some ways to tell if your company could be planning layoffs in 2022?

Signs Your Company Might Be Planning a Layoff

Financial Difficulties

Poor earnings. Missed profitability forecasts. If your company’s financial losses just keep coming, this should serve as a warning that something is amiss. When your company fails to hit its revenue targets several quarters in a row or is experiencing a chronic downturn in sales, layoffs could be coming.

Hiring Freeze

Layoffs are often a strategy of last resort, and companies usually stop hiring new employees before they start dismissing old ones. Businesses need workers to further growth, so when a company stops hiring, it means growth is slowing. And when growth is slowing, layoffs typically aren’t far behind.  

Budget Cuts

Are expenditures that previously went unquestioned suddenly being scrutinized? Are vendors not getting paid? Has your budget been slashed or are your expenses taking longer to be reimbursed? Have perks disappeared? Has the office Christmas party been canceled? It’s a red flag that more drastic cost-cutting measures may be coming when a company starts putting previously routine financial exchanges under the knife.

Executives are leaving

Those in the know are the first to go. When a company starts to find itself in trouble, top executives start resigning – in droves. If a significant number of top management starts leaving, company-wide layoffs may be on the way.

The company is bringing in consultants

When a company brings in external consultants, it’s usually for one reason – to see how many people can be laid off without damaging the company. Consultants are often the first sign that a company is undergoing restructuring. And restructuring almost always means layoffs.

Merger or acquisition

Positions become redundant when companies merge. Two companies need two presidents – a single company only needs one. As executives focus on combining, it often leads to extraneous employees – and layoffs.

The company already had one round of layoffs

Layoffs often beget layoffs, and one round of cuts suggests there may be more. If you survived the first round of layoffs, you’re safe – for now. But once a company has begun laying some people off, there’s always a chance it could lay off more.

Signs You May be in Trouble When Layoffs are Looming

You’ve had a bad review

One bad review isn’t cause for alarm. But one bad review combined with other indicators – terse or inconsistent communication with managers, an easing of your workload – might be an attempt to build a case for your termination.

You’re being kept out of the loop

If management suddenly isn’t including you in meetings, this could be a significant red flag. When you’re no longer being assigned new projects or your work is being siphoned to other people, it might be a sign you’re slated for a layoff

You’ve been asked to define your role

When you’re asked to fill out a survey defining your role at the company or describing what you do every day, executives are often trying to predict what challenges might arise if your position was eliminated. If you’re asked whom you report to and what your role is in the company, it could be because management is trying to figure out what things might look like if you weren’t there.


Your company can’t run without people. And, while many businesses are currently implementing layoffs, economists say this trend will not necessarily continue.

And, even if it does, there are things you can do to prepare. We’ll tell you just what those things are in our upcoming articles (Parts II and III) in the next couple of weeks.

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more helpful tips on interviewing, layoff strategies, our job openings, and positive energy posts.

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