Better to jump than to be pushed


Workers who choose to take voluntary redundancy from their jobs are less depressed and are more motivated to find new work compared to those who loose their job involuntarily.

Research by Dr Lea Waters from the University of Melbourne questioned 216 job seekers, 102 who had voluntarily taken redundancy and 114 who were made involuntarily redundant, exploring their job searches during unemployment as well as depression, perceived job insecurity, organisational commitment and perceived quality of re-employment once a new job was obtained.

The results, published in last month's Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, reveal that once unemployed, workers who volunteered for redundancy experienced lower levels of depression and were more proactive in looking for another job than those who lost their job involuntarily.

Crucially, workers who were made involuntarily redundant felt powerless and therefore much less motivated to find new work. As one of those questioned put it:

"I didn't want to leave my last job, it was my boss who made the decision. Now it seems that recruiters and prospective employers make the decisions about my next job and my life'

Another observed: "My outplacement advisor keeps showing me ways to improve my resume. What is the point? I'll probably get the boot from the next job anyway'.

Dr Waters also discovered that those who were involuntarily made redundant and then re-employed, felt more insecure at work, were less committed to their organisation and felt the quality of their new work-life was worse than before.

"Importantly, this study indicates that depression and the motivation to look for a new job are influenced not only by the individual but also by the way in which the organisation handles the job exit process," she said.

"In particular, the results suggest that organisations may help to minimize depression of their redundant employees by offering voluntary redundancy options."

"These results are also important for managers who need to consider the way in which a person exited their previous job in order to understand his/her full reaction upon re-employment."