Compensation & Benefits: Employment trends survey reveals extent of workplace belt tightening

Posted on 9th January, 2009

Estimated reading time 2 minutes

The Confederation of British Industry and recruitment consultancy Harvey Nash have published a survey revealing the extent of organisational changes employers have made or are considering making to weather the downturn.

Key findings

The survey attracted responses from 704 organisations, together employing nearly three million people.  Findings included:

  • 55% of employers planned a pay freeze in their next pay review whereas 39% planned to award a modest pay increase.
  • 61% of employers planned a pay freeze either across the whole or parts of their organisation.
  • 62% of employers have maintained bonus structures while a quarter of employers have restructured bonus schemes to reduce their value.
  • average redundancy pay was £12,000 per employee (compared to maximum statutory redundancy pay of £10,500).
  • many employers had increased flexible working (45%), reduced paid overtime (43%) or had reduced the use of agency workers (33%).
  • 26% of employers had moved or were considering moving jobs or operations overseas due to the financial crisis.


Although the flexibility of the UK labour market has allowed many employers successfully to adapt to the downturn, changes to contractual entitlements require careful planning and employee consultation to avoid exposure to claims for unfair dismissal and unfair discrimination.


Employment trends 2009: Work patterns in the recession


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