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Employers Plan to Bring Back Middle Management Positions

employers welcome back middle managersFirst it was Arrested Development. Then it was Beavis and Butthead, followed by layaway and (presumably) pantyhose. Now, the latest comeback story of the season involves middle management.

Middle management positions were a significant casualty of recession-era layoffs, but new research from CareerBuilder’s various industry sites indicate that many employers saw counterproductive consequences and are now rehiring for those positions.

Employers surveyed in the retail, IT and healthcare industries indicated plans to bring back previously eliminated middle management jobs for the purpose of bringing structural gaps and addressing market demands. When assessing the impact of downsizing middle management, employers who made cuts in these industries cited both positive effects (cost-savings and more efficient operations) as well as negative ones (structural and emotional drawbacks).

Don’t know what you got till it’s gone?
According to industry experts, part of the reason for the resurgence in middle management jobs is that employers are now realizing just how essential middle management is to the organization.

“Middle management often gets a bad rap for adding bureaucratic layers to an organization, but these roles can be essential in maintaining team cohesion, retaining core talent and providing direction to workers,” says Bill Meidell, product director of WorkInRetail.com

Jamie Carney, product director of Sologig.com, agrees. “When a department lacks leadership or direction, it is easier to see the value of middle management,” Carney says. “The data suggests that middle management plays an important role in making an employee’s work experience meaningful and productive.”

“Middle management is essential to providing balance and direction within complex organizations,” adds Rob Morris, product director of MiracleWorkers.com. “They play important roles from onboarding new employees and tracking progress to building positive morale and maintaining chains of communication – all things that are difficult to do without.”

Check out details for each industry survey below…

Retail
According to a WorkinRetail.com survey of 240 retail employers, of the 30 percent of retail employers who’ve eliminated middle management positions since the beginning of the recession, 32 percent plan to bring back these jobs.

While 73 percent of retail employers reported that cuts netted beneficial results, 77 percent indicated the following drawbacks:

  • Lower morale (39 percent)
  • Lower productivity (32 percent)
  • Workers less motivated (30 percent
  • Less communication given regarding company news (27 percent)
  • Training is less effective (25 percent)
  • Workers are less organized (24 percent)

Information Technology
A Sologig.com survey of 195 IT employers found that nearly half (45 percent) of the 27 percent of IT employers who’ve eliminated middle management positions since the beginning of the recession plan to bring back those jobs back.

While 73 percent reported that cuts netted beneficial results such as cost-savings and more efficient operations, 76 percent listed the following negative results:

  • Lower morale (39 percent)
  • Less succession planning (28 percent)
  • Higher turnover (26 percent)
  • Workers are less organized (24 percent)
  • Less communication given regarding company news (24 percent)
  • Less recognition for workers (23 percent)

Healthcare
Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of healthcare employers has eliminated middle management positions since the beginning of the recession, according to a MiracleWorkers.com survey of 282 healthcare employers. Of these employers, 44 percent plan to bring those jobs back.

While 81 percent reported that cuts netted beneficial results such as cost-savings and more efficient operations, 74 percent stated there were several structural and emotional drawbacks:

  • Lower morale (47 percent)
  • Workers less motivated (27 percent)
  • Training is less effective (26 percent)
  • Less communication given regarding company news (25 percent)
  • Less succession planning (23 percent)
  • Less recognition for workers (22 percent)

Is your organization bringing back previously-eliminated positions?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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