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January 05, 2022

Laid-off workers find their pay slashed, no matter where they land: study

If you were laid-off over these past two, three years, chances are your union or government labour rep offered a harrowing suggestion: consider switching fields.

It was a proposition even more daunting than it sounds; stop what you know, retrain yourself and launch a new, totally unknown career.

Maybe the optimists out there could find a silver lining in their reassignment, but there’s little pleasure to take from this latest employment data. 

According to figures collected by the Heldrich Center on Workforce Development, a whopping 69 per cent of those workers that switched fields during the recession were forced to take a cut in pay.

Of those workers, a further 11 per cent had to move cities or towns to find work and 46 per cent took a reduction in employee benefits.

Sound rough? It is, yet those laid-off workers among us that found new work inside our existing fields didn’t fare a whole lot better.

By the Heldrich Center’s findings, workers that maintained their careers but with different employers took pay cuts in 45 per cent of cases, having to move cities or towns seven per cent of the time. Here, in these instances, 29 per cent of laid-off workers had their employee benefits slashed, to boot.

Surprisingly, however, the Heldrich study uncovered one peculiar conclusion. More than half of respondents in each scenario (56 per cent of workers in new fields and 53 per cent of workers that found jobs in the same field) said their new jobs were something they saw a long-term future in.

So, despite having to find a workplace change out of “desperation,” as the New York Times notes, maybe there’s some lasting hope – if not bank account relief – for the laid-off, after all.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...