A staggering number of people are now afraid of losing their jobs

Accelerating layoffs and fears of an upcoming recession are causing employee anxiety about job security, new data finds. According to Lemon.io, a marketplace of vetted software developers, searches for “Will I lose my job in a recession?” are up a staggering 9,900% in the past 12 months. For the data, Lemon.io analyzed Google search trends to see how people were coping.

What it means to HR leaders

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It’s undoubtedly been an employee-driven market in recent months, with scores of workers leaving their jobs in a phenomenon dubbed the Great Resignation. But as the economic climate shifts—inflation has been at a 40-year high, for instance—employee confidence is starting to shift too. A staggering number of employees are afraid of losing their jobs if a recession occurs, new data finds.

That’s causing increased amounts of employee anxiety, says Aleksandr Volodarsky, CEO at Lemon.io, as well as causing some to go above and beyond in their duties, which only may result in burnout and dissatisfaction. It also may lead to diminished productivity and disengaged workers.

HR leaders have an essential role to play right now as a result, Volodarsky says, arguing that communication and transparency are keys regarding the economy and the potential for layoffs.

“Communicating effectively with employees is always important, regardless of circumstances, but especially so amid uncertainty over the future,” he says. “Being transparent about the challenges the company is facing and how it intends to overcome them will reduce fears of redundancy and ensure workers are in the right headspace to weather the storm.”

Volodarsky says that when Russia invaded Ukraine, job security concerns added to the mountain of fears the company’s Ukrainian team faced. As a result, Lemon.io called a company-wide meeting and “spoke honestly about the situation to ensure they were appropriately informed on the current, expected and worst-case scenarios,” he says.

“While such conversations are never easy, offering transparency lets employees know where they stand and what they need to do to maintain their roles,” he says. “These are challenging times for employers and employees alike, and I cannot stress enough how important a positive mindset and open communication is to workplace performance and, subsequently, a business’s chances of survival.”

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.