Employees can’t help but wonder if recession anxiety is leading to layoffs. This is a significant concern since a trade war is waging between the world’s biggest economies.

Nearly half of working adults (48%) in the US are concerned over the future of their employment, according to a CareerArc study. Layoff anxiety, a byproduct of recession anxiety, however appears to be pervasive among workers. There may be three factors fuelling this feeling:

  • Fear of recession (34%)
  • Office rumours (32%)
  • Recent layoffs (30%)

The CareerArc study says the impact of the Great Recession (2008) is still evident on workers. And it is mostly manifested in layoff anxiety. This is because 74% of those laid off during 2008 are once bitten twice shy.

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Remember, that layoffs can happen even if the economic climate seems to be flourishing.

Renters, those who earn less than US $50,000 per year, workers without a college degree, women, and workers with minors in their household seem to be among the the most ill-prepared to deal with a layoff.

So what should employees and employers do if recession anxiety is leading to layoffs?

Employees are resilient. They can adapt using a number of tactics to soften the blow. Here are some ways of dealing with a recession-related layoff.

Back to School

There is a significant correlation between job layoffs and full-time enrolment in post-secondary studies, according to a new study released by Statistics Canada. Laid-off employees are more likely to attend school in the year after being laid off.

Men, who lost their jobs in 2008, were five times more likely to register for post-secondary. Similarly, 3.1% of women laid off in 2008 enrolled in full-time post-secondary education program.

Training for Another Role

Sometimes employees can find another role in the company. This means they will have to retrain for another job. That shouldn’t take too long, especially if there is ongoing training. Companies should also consider retraining the same employees, as it can help save money and help retain jobs.

Soft Skills

Help allay fears by using employee soft skills to give them a task elsewhere in the industry. A softer blow at the time of layoff is important to help employees feel valued.

Get a Side Gig

This isn’t abandoning ship before you’re pushed off it. This is preparing for bad times by flexing your skill muscles. Look around you to see if you can pick up some extra shifts in another field and can use that money to save up for hard times.