After several years of employers desperately looking for enough workers to fill their job openings, layoffs appear to be on the rise. A survey by résumé service ResumeBuilder.com found that 61 percent of business leaders expect their companies to have layoffs this year, and one in three companies anticipate laying off 30 percent or more of their workforce.
Those statistics can be particularly alarming for employees 50 and older who often face ageism when looking for a new job. If you’re worried about the possibility of losing your job, there are some things you can do to prepare.
1. Start with a reality check
First of all, don’t panic, says licensed social worker and performance coach Brie Scolaro, director of Aspire Psychotherapy. Take a moment and analyze the situation objectively. “What makes you think you will be laid off, and is there a basis for this? Is your company in an industry that is particularly affected, such as tech in 2022, and has your company announced or already begun layoffs? Identify if there is a real reason for this fear or if it comes from your own anxiety and insecurity,” Scolaro says. Even when companies do plan layoffs, most will keep the majority of their employees.
2. Examine your finances
The next step is to evaluate the state of your finances. “Most people are on autopilot with their money. As long as they’re not going in the hole every month, they’re usually not paying close attention to their spending,” says financial coach Christine Luken, host of the Money is Emotional podcast. She recommends reviewing income and spending patterns — using a free app such as Mint or Fudget may help — as well as your savings, to get a clear financial picture.
While you’re at it, you can make a list of ways to cut expenses, such as canceling subscriptions and eating out less. This process may help you feel more in control, as you’ll have actions you can take if the layoff does happen. “It gets those worries out of your head and onto paper,” Luken says.
3. Fill your emergency fund
Padding your emergency fund can give you greater peace of mind if you’re worried about being unemployed. “Most people wouldn’t have $1,000 available if they had an emergency,” says financial coach Joan Mistrough, founder of Money Proud Financial Coaching. She advises saving as much as you can to help cover expenses if you are laid off. If you’re having trouble finding extra cash to save, consider implementing some of your planned spending cuts or paying the minimum amounts on your debts to build a bigger cash cushion.