Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who gets laid off first?

The last post ("Who gets hired first?") has attracted a great number of comments, many of which I intend to address in the coming days. Thanks to all for the great commentary. But the corollary question hasn't been asked here; that is, when it comes time to lay people off, who gets the ax first?

Layoffs are particularly painful for a company. In my short industrial experience, I saw 2 of them and there was a third within a year. The following chart represents what I've seen in layoffs:

While layoffs often appear random to the bench-level chemist, it does seem that they affect the more experienced a lot more than the less experienced. In addition, middle management appear to be affected more than most (thus the "1st" tag on moderately experienced PhDs.) Ugh. This stuff needs to be analyzed, but is so unpleasant.

I'd love to get an insider's perspective on this. Also, I don't think the above chart is entirely correct. Maybe I need a poll. Readers, is the chart accurate? What are your thoughts as to how this happens?

1 comment:

  1. I only worked biotech/pharma for a few years, but in my time I was laid off once, and I survived a round (maybe two, but I dodged the 2nd altogether by going to grad school). If I'm not mistaken, the Ph.Ds with 10+ yrs exp are director types and I've NEVER seen any of them get axed, even when the rest of the department is getting whittled down to nothing. My last company shaved the lab associates (you know, the ones doing the actual grunt work and generating data, not just going to meetings or looking at spreadsheets about the data) down to just 1 and kept 4-5 directors/VPs around.