A “significant majority” of CHROs (81%) said they will use at least one tactic to greatly reduce their workforce in light of a looming recession, according to PwC pulse survey results released Nov. 2.
These tactics include layoffs, voluntary retirement, performance-based personnel cuts, not replacing people who leave and hiring freezes, the survey said.
However, CEOs — who are markedly more certain a recession is coming in the next six months compared to when they were asked in August, according to the survey — are also making investments in the future, PwC said; 44% said they are hiring in specific areas to drive growth.
“CHROs have been handed a complex challenge — manage costs and navigate the challenges of hybrid work, while also continuing to bring in very specialized skills, particularly in technology, to drive their growth agendas,” Julia Lamm, Global Workforce Strategy Leader, PwC, said in a statement. “In the meantime, employee expectations have shifted and they are demanding more flexibility, better culture and different ways of working.”
The results noted that employee expectations may differ from those of leadership. Nearly two-thirds of leaders told PwC that their company needs “as many people back on-site as possible and 67% said they were concerned that the move to on-site operations is happening “more slowly than expected.”
HR leaders may face a number of barriers to meeting CEO expectations. The Great Resignation may have left remaining workers feeling overworked and overwhelmed, Society for Human Resource Management survey results from October 2021 said. And in a Monster survey from September, two-thirds of workers said they would quit if they were forced to return to the office five days a week.
Despite these many challenges, business leaders remain confident about the future, PwC said; 82% of those surveyed said they feel confident about their ability to execute on transformation initiatives.