Regretful managers shy away from redundancies

A survey suggests bosses are keen to save money by boosting productivity, rather than slashing jobs.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The notion of ‘creating efficiencies’ tends to fill most workers with horror – normally it’s a management euphemism for ‘painful and unpleasant job cuts’. But according to a new survey by Canon, that’s not true of the current batch of senior managers: nearly 60% plan to find efficiencies through greater productivity and better use of technology, while 30% plan to do it via redundancies. So you might be forced to work harder for your keep (or make more use of Canon kit, if the survey’s sponsor has anything to do with it), but at least you’ll have a job. On the other hand, another survey that landed in our inbox this week suggested that 90% of businesses regret the way they’ve handled the credit crunch – so there’s always a chance that 60% will change their tune further down the line...

Unfortunately, even if Canon’s study did suggest managers are keen on finding cost savings, they don’t actually appear to be very good at it. Almost two-thirds said they’ve been unable to cut their costs by as much as 5% in the last 12 months, while one in five reckon they’ve failed to save a single penny. So it remains to be seen whether they’ll actually be able to save enough cash this way. Although this does presumably help to explain why a third of those surveyed (an alarmingly high proportion, it seems to us) claim to be totally unprepared for the next 12 months.

Either way, we suspect many will have cause to regret their choice of approach, with the benefit of hindsight. A study out this week from consultancy Lane4 found that almost 90% of the CEOs, directors and partners questioned would manage the challenges of the last year or so very differently if they had their time again. Many seem to think they just weren’t fast or aggressive enough: 36% said they’d be in a stronger position now if they’d reduced costs, restructured and increased marketing spend more quickly. Then again, if more than 14% of them had spent the last year improving productivity and efficiency, as per the Canon survey, maybe they’d have fewer regrets...

In today's bulletin:

Darling renews attack on City - as banker slams his own
Orange flexes its muscles with juicy iPhone coup
Not a single UK businesswomen in FT's Global Top 20
Regretful managers shy away from redundancies
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