Skip to main content

Just Over 25% of CFOs Anticipate Layoffs Because of Pandemic

Analysis  |  By Jack O'Brien  
   April 13, 2020

Three-quarters of CFOs now view the COVID-19 outbreak's impact on operations and liquidity as the top concern for 2020.

Over 25% of CFOs anticipate layoffs as a result of the economic downturn spurred by the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey released Monday afternoon. 

Forty-one percent of CFOs stated that they expect furloughs and 46% anticipate a productivity loss related to a lack of remote work capabilities.

More than 80% of surveyed CFOs expect company revenues and profits to decline this year as a result of the outbreak. Additionally, 75% of CFOs now view the COVID-19 outbreak's impact on operations and liquidity as the top concern for 2020.

Tim Ryan, U.S. Chair at PwC, said in a statement that workforce discussions are "shifting" for CFOs as the pandemic continues to drag on.

"Many of the business leaders I am speaking to want to do everything they can to protect their workers' jobs," Ryan said. "However, we are seeing that without normal revenue flows, many leaders are being forced to make tough decisions around staffing and costs. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult for some to avoid reducing headcount given the continued uncertainty around how long the pandemic will last."

Related: Despite Federal COVID-19 Stimulus, Many Hospitals Could Face Layoffs Within Two Month

More than 80% of surveyed CFOs said they are focused on reigning in costs, while two-thirds of executives stated that they are "considering deferring or canceling" planned investments.

The primary areas for cutting costs, according to the survey, are halting investments in facilities, capital expenditures, information technology, and workforce.

Only 61% of CFOs anticipate that their companies could return to "business as usual" by the summer if the coronavirus was contained now, which PwC noted was a "considerable drop" compared to the most recent executive survey.

Related: Ratings Agencies Change Healthcare Outlook to Negative Due to Coronavirus

Despite the concerns about the impact of COVID-19, CFOs remain split about whether to consider changes to their organization's supply chain, with 39% in favor compared to 43% in opposition.

Additionally, about half of CFOs are considering government relief programs as options, including the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Related: Cookeville, Tennessee Hospital Confirms Approximately 400 Layoffs Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.