Nearly half of terminated employees would return to employer

Despite their anger over being terminated, 45% of college educated professionals who were laid off would return to work for their former employer, emphasizing the importance of fair and transparent layoff decisions, according to a recent study published in Career Development International.

Researchers surveyed 382 unemployed salaried professionals, middle managers and executives to investigate the impact of personal background variables, organizational background variables and layoff treatment variables on their willingness to endorse their previous employer.

Of those surveyed, 65% were out of work for at least 27 weeks, whereas another 23% were unemployed for more than 2 years.

Researchers found that unemployed individuals who believed they were treated fairly were more likely to endorse a former employer. Employees who perceived they were mistreated affected layoff survivors, resulting in “lower trust, motivation and commitment” in those employees, who would be “more likely to give a negative or discouraging employer endorsement/referral to prospective applicants,” the researchers wrote.

Most of the endorsement variance was collectively explained by layoff treatment variables. Individuals who were angrier about being unemployed were less likely to endorse their previous employer, whereas those who were more depressed about being unemployed were willing to potentially reapply to their former employer.

“How employers treat employees through layoffs is always important and will become even more so when the economy fully rebounds and it’s an employees’ market again,” Gary J. Blau, PhD, human resource management professor at Fox School of Business at Temple University, stated in a press release.


Blau G, Petrucci T, McClendon J, et al. Effects of layoff victims’ justice reactions and emotional responses on attitudes toward their previous employer. Career Development International. 2012;17(6). Accessed Sept. 21, 2012.

Disclosure: The researchers had no relevant financial disclosures.

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