Study: Being Laid-Off Results in a Decade of Distrust

People who lose their jobs are less willing to trust each other and that feeling carriers over into their next job, according to a study out of the University of Manchester.

People who lose their jobs are less willing to trust each other, according to a study conducted at the University of Manchester, UK. The scarring is so severe that even after individuals find other employment, that feeling of mistrust persists into their new working environment.


In a study of nearly 7,000 males, researchers were surprised to learn that the negative emotions that result from being laid-off or made redundant last for nine years after the initial loss. That cynicism is bad for individual employees, and their faith in company values; it also damages a workplace environment that depends on transparency to accomplish common goals. 

Published in the journal Social Science Research, the results of the study are especially relevant given that the world continues to experience the fallout of the Great Recession, signaling effects that go beyond a loss of economic growth and intrude into the personal spheres of life. Dr. James Laurence, a research fellow at the University of Manchester, summarized the results saying:

"People’s willingness to trust others tends to remain largely stable over their lifetime. However, this work shows that trauma like redundancy can shift people’s outlook of the world and this change persists long after the experience occurred. Society is still recovering from one of the longest recessions this century and much has been discussed in counting the economic costs of that. This study looks at the social costs of recession."

The United States faces a particular challenge when it comes to rebuilding our post-recession economy. Instead of outsourcing innovation overseas, we need to create a talent funnel here, explains technology consultant Michael Kirven. If we don't act, "we’re gonna be faced with significant challenges as a country within the technology innovation landscape if we don’t address these challenges today."

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