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July 16, 2001
IT Workers Not Finding New Jobs
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es of woe from the dot-com world have become commonplace, but the survey results scheduled for release today by may contain the gloomiest news yet.

Cynthia Morgan, executive producer and vice president for content at, told CNN Friday that 76 percent of participating IT workers who've been laid off in the last six months remain unemployed.

"And 65 percent of those laid off six months to a year ago are still looking for work," she added. plans a two-part survey. The second part, being conducted now, focuses on relocation issues.

The part being released today concentrated corporate procedure. How were targeted workers informed that they'd be laid off? Who broke the news? How long had laid-off workers been employed? What kind of severance pay was offered?

"What we got back," Morgan said, "was a pretty clear message: Forget the counseling sessions and tell the truth.

"These people are often more upset about the deception and lack of respect" they say they feel they suffered at their employers' hands "than they are about losing the job itself," she said.

"Our respondents certainly told us that losing your job can be a real tragedy, and of course the most compassionate layoffs can still leave some anger behind. But the furiously long comments about someone's last layoff were always about 'lies,' not about 'I lost my job.'"

"Most people," Morgan said of the survey respondents, "saw company layoffs coming. Only a third said it was a complete surprise and about a quarter said they'd been waiting for the axe to fall on their jobs."

Less experienced employees questioned in the survey were far less likely to say that they'd work for their ex-employer again. But overall, 70 percent of those surveyed said they'd be willing to work for the same company again.

"The most highly-paid tech workers," Morgan told CNN, "also told us they'd be far less willing to work for ex-employers than those making less money."

Surveyed employees making less than $50,000 per year were less likely to receive severance than more highly paid employees. In this study's data, workers in the New England states got the best severance deals of any region, while those in the South generally received the worst. Mountain state workers also fared fairly well as far as severance went.

Laid off by e-mail

Morgan also relayed some personal stories from the survey participants.

One, a tech sales worker in the West, said, "I was informed by pink e-mail, believe it or not. When I asked the regional manager if this was a joke, I saw her shaking and nervous. She had to start the conversation with, 'You know, this is the hardest part about being a manager.' Geez, Louise, at least come up with an original line for cryin' out loud."

Morgan said heard "about people being called into the HR department to fix a computer. And when they got there they instead found a pink slip and someone back at their desk, boxing up their stuff. Or the CEO held a company-wide meeting to announce there would be no layoffs - and the employee went back to his office to find he'd been locked out.

"About half of those surveyed," she added, "said they weren't offered counseling, legal advice or job placement or interview services. But according to the other half, they didn't miss much. Few rated any of these services better than 'not helpful at all.'"

To view the CNN story, click here.
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