According to the latest research, two in five businesses expect to make redundancies this year.
More than 800 senior finance executives at UK firms were surveyed, with one-third stating that they have already made redundancies, and more than half saying that they have placed staff on furlough leave through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
Of those that have already made redundancies, two-thirds stated that it was due to a reduction in demand because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while 59 per cent said it was to increase productivity through a reduction in costs.
Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that around 730,000 have lost their job since the lockdown measures were introduced in March, while unemployment figures have increased by 114,000 since June.
Iain Wright, Director for Business and Industrial Strategy at ICAEW, said: “Our members give the Government credit for preserving jobs so far, but they believe that a hard landing for the economy is only months away, and that employment will be badly hit. Some of this will be because market demand is weaker, but the crisis is also driving companies to become more efficient. This may improve productivity, but it will cost jobs.
“What we need to see in the chancellor’s autumn budget is a social, education and industrial strategy which combines protection and re-training for displaced workers over the short and medium term, with intervention and investment to create jobs with a future – especially in the green and scientific sectors.”
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