Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount

Experts say the economy is beginning to rebound. But optical networking companies large and small continue to lay off workers, and the latest results from our Web poll don't show much improvement in the spirits of optical workers.

It's clear why people are nervous. Just yesterday Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) announced it was cutting 22 percent of its workforce. Last week startup Ellacoya Networks Inc. announced it was laying off another 30 percent (see Ciena Slashes Some More and Ellacoya Cuts Staff -- Again). It’s no wonder that people in the industry are frustrated about their opportunities.

Light Reading’s March Work Poll asked respondents about what they would do in the case of being laid off. Most of the responses indicate a growing uneasiness with the work environment. For example, most of the the 476 respondents said they would consider a major move or a pay cut in order to find a job if they were laid off.

Here are some other preliminary results from the respondents, when asked what they would do in the case of losing their job:

  • An overwhelming majority (84%) would leave the telecom industry altogether if a better job came up.
  • Slightly fewer than half (44%) of those polled say they have enough savings to cover their monthly bills for up to six months. And 28% say they have enough to last them for a whole year.
  • Thirty-three percent say they would take up to a 10% cut in pay; 36% say they would take a cut that was between 11% and 25%. Only a handful (16%) say they wouldn’t take a pay cut at all.
  • On moving out of the country or to another state for a new job, folks were split. 57% would move for a new job, while 43% say they wouldn’t.
  • The majority (64%) would classify losing their job right now as serious or very serious.
  • Half of those responding (51%) would blame their company’s management (or mismanagement) for the loss of their job. Take the poll yourself by clicking here. Once you’ve completed it, you can see the latest results.

    — Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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    ExZaffirer 12/4/2012 | 10:43:17 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount Just earlier this week former Zaffire, adquired by CenterPoint Technologies had a 60% staff reduction, apperently money is runing out, so is the customer base.
    They only had one customer, Flag Tlecom...
    Did I mention they closed their Wireless division where it supose to be a revenue generating part of the company. Also canned the DWDM box. Rev 1.4 will be the last software ever released huh.. I wonder if the Customer is awared of it.
    What's NEXT?
    backnaction 12/4/2012 | 10:43:16 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount

    "Half of those responding (51%) would blame their companyGÇÖs management (or mismanagement) for the loss of their job. "

    I am surprised that this 51% figure is not MUCH higher.....

    sg38 12/4/2012 | 10:43:16 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount Being laid off more than six months ago,
    A friend of mine is still strugling to find
    a job in the telecom industry. I agree with
    the poll that I/he would get out of this industry
    once for all, if there is a suitable job outside
    telecom to use his skillset.

    fiber_diet 12/4/2012 | 10:43:15 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount Why would so many people want out of the industry? Is it because of future prospects, job dissatisfaction, pay, ...etc? This is serious if that number is really that high. Or is that many are feeling burnt out with the long hours and the potential for reward further out. I would encourage more people participate in the survey. I have a feeling many employees are frustrated about the telecom downturn and the magnitude of the downturn. Unfortunately, despite isolated projections about the landscape looking better, I have yet to see or hear customers indicate things will get better. The customer base is also becoming limited, thus many startups once dependent on 'new carriers' will find it difficult to gain traction in the RBOCs. Considering that there were more companies at OFC this year than last would indicate there is more pain to absorb. There are many companies already engaging in what are known as 'stealth' layoffs that never get press coverage.

    Best of luck to all!
    sg38 12/4/2012 | 10:43:15 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount BlueWater66:

    It is encouraging while reading your post. But I am still concerned aobut overall market condition. The gold rush is over, for sure. Now, the "hardlanding" of this "vehicle" hits very hard, and you see the "debris" all over the place !

    The professionals in the telecom industry will evetually find jobs within the next 6-12 months, hopefully.

    LED 12/4/2012 | 10:43:15 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount
    Given the excesses that exist in this
    field, the remaining 49% could very well be
    the management...
    BlueWater66 12/4/2012 | 10:43:15 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount I wonder about market position. I certainly feel like we are at the bottom, and at the moment more people are out of work than ever. But- the number of headhunter calls are starting to rise (at least on my voicemail) and the general industry feels like it is expecting growth by 4Q'02 and in 2003. It may not be a boom, but I think the worst is behind us.... (I hope!)

    Regarding the comment about "leaving the telecom industry". It seems like a huge number of people bounced into this industry in '98-'00, as if it were a gold rush. Most of the "fair weather" newcomers are bouncing out again. But- the experienced professionals are (mostly) keeping their jobs and seeing more opportunities. At least those are my thoughts. Hopefully they offer a little glimmer of hope.
    horse of a different color 12/4/2012 | 10:43:14 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount You said: "...But- the experienced professionals are (mostly) keeping their jobs and seeing more opportunities..."

    I have been in high-tech for 30 years, and have never seen it this bad. I am now on the street again, and I'm not the only one. I know quite a few qualified people that have been out of work for more than 6 months, with no real hope in sight. Many are, as indicated by the poll results, making moves to other industries, ones that DON'T take advantage of their high-tech skillsets or knowledge-base.

    I for one have had it. I'm tired of seeing people get treated badly by companaies during the interview process, and seeing what those fortunate ones (?) that are still gainfully employed are left with after the lay-offs (2-3 times more work, sometimes for less $$).

    Stick a fork in me...I'm done! Or, as a friend more aptly said: "The thrill is gone". I'm starting my own business doing something that has nothing to do with any particular industry's success (or failure), and that has nothing to do with high-tech. Oh, I still have a prurient interest in the industry - but I'll be happy sitting on the sidelines watching the goings-on, glad that I am just an observer, rather than a participant.

    To all of you displaced workers out there looking...good luck. You're going to need it. The job market is going to take at least 3-6 months to just get healthy again...and that's an optimistic prognostication. Unless you happen to be a qualified EE with an MBA and you just happen to know all the decision makers in every service provider out there, you're in for a loooong wait.
    backnaction 12/4/2012 | 10:43:14 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount Well...

    Anybody care to give their guesses/comments on which telecom equipment sectors will be the first or last to rebound?
    lrdr 12/4/2012 | 10:43:14 PM
    re: Work Poll: Job Loss Fears Mount I too had a big upswing in calls from headhunters several weeks ago. For a long time, I was steadily receiving two or three a week, then all of a sudden I started getting 1-2 a day. But strangely, most of the jobs aren't telecom, but embedded systems, Storage Area Networks jobs.. Similar skill sets for lots of telco engineers. I've hooked up friends who have been laid off with some of them, and there do seem to be real jobs. Lots of contract houses as usual. It's leveled off some this week.
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