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Amid mass layoffs, former top Microsoft HR executive explains who are at ‘most risk’

Amid mass layoffs, former top Microsoft HR executive explains who are at ‘most risk’

Amid mass layoffs, former top Microsoft HR executive explains who are at ‘most risk’
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By CNBCTV18.com Jan 23, 2023 6:31:45 PM IST (Updated)

Chris Williams, former vice president of human resources at Microsoft, has shared the types of employees who are at the most risk of being fired amid mass layoffs. Chris also described the two categories where the employees could be the safest from layoffs.

Massive layoffs across several industries in recent months have sent shock waves to employees. Top tech companies like Twitter, Meta, Salesforce, Google, and Amazon, have laid off thousands of employees to counter the effects of the economic slowdown. Amid this, a former vice-president of human resources at Microsoft has listed out three categories of employees who are at the most risk of being sacked.

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Last week, Microsoft announced that it would lay off 10,000 employees, which accounts for almost 5 percent of its global workforce. Following the announcement, Chris Williams, a former vice president of human resources at Microsoft, shared the types of employees who are at the most risk of being terminated. Williams also pointed out the employees, who are relatively in a safer position when it comes to job cuts.
Chris currently works as a podcaster, consultant, and TikTok creator. In an interview with Business Insider, Chris said, “Every industry, company, even department has a different risk, but some areas are more vulnerable than others.”
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Here are the categories which are at the most risk of being sacked amid mass layoffs as per Chris Williams.
Third most at-risk category: Event planning or benefits employees
According to Chris, the activities which are considered luxuries, like generous benefits and employee perks, and so on are at the most risk of being axed. Thus, people who are part of providing such services, for example, people involved in planning events, are at high risk of being laid off.
The second most at-risk category is new initiative employees
Another area which is at high risk is new initiatives floated by the companies. Chris told Business Insider that during favourable times, the companies may have decided to explore new lines of business or expand into new territories.
However, when times get tight, these kinds of new initiatives are often the first ones to be abolished unless the company is making a concerted effort to pivot entirely to these new areas.
Most at-risk category: Contract workers
At the extreme end of the risk spectrum are contract employees according to Chris. He says the main reason for companies using temporary or contract workers is for this very contingency as they want to remain flexible in case of a downturn.
Therefore, contract employees are usually the first ones to be laid off when things get leaner.
Here are the safest job categories
Chris also described the two categories where the employees could be the safest from layoffs.
Profit-making employees
Employees whose jobs are closely related to activities that are earning a lot of profits for the company tend to be at lesser risk during layoffs, according to Chris.
Chris says, when retreating to the core business, companies usually turn to their quality products that make money, and the essential employees for those products are usually the safest from layoffs.
HR or finance employees
The other category of employees, who are safe during layoffs, is staff services like finance, facilities, or human resources. However, Chris mentions that those areas run quite lean in most companies, even when times are flush.
Thus, there is usually little excess to cut, and HR is essential in the layoff process, and finance is often relied on as the financial status gets more scrutiny, says Chris.
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