With a slow economic recovery well underway, there is a new employment story to be told—those who remain at organizations that have recently been downsized. Elizabeth W. Cotter at Virginia Commonwealth University and Nadya A. Fouad at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee explore what happens to layoff survivors in the article “Examining Burnout and Engagement in Layoff Survivors: The Role of Personal Strengths” from Journal of Career Development.
This study investigates burnout and work engagement in layoff survivors. Layoff survivors are defined as individuals who remain working at organizations that have recently had layoffs. Job demands (job insecurity and work overload) and job and personal resources (social support, optimism, career adaptability, and career management self-efficacy) are examined as predictors of burnout and engagement. The sample consists of 203 adults currently working at organizations that downsized within the past year. As hypothesized, job demands had positive relationships with burnout, while social support, optimism, and career management self-efficacy had positive relationships with engagement. Contrary to hypotheses, career adaptability was not positively related to engagement. Engagement also mediated the relationships between several resources and burnout. This study makes a unique contribution to the literature, as little research has examined personal strengths of layoff survivors, in addition to job characteristics.