Human Capital & Careers

Ford, Pfizer Cuts: Start of Something?

One consultant thinks the spate of recent layoffs could be the start of cuts in pharma, health-care industries.
Stephen TaubNovember 29, 2006

‘Tis the season for massive layoffs — at least for some companies. Ford Motor announced that so far this year about 38,000 of its union-represented hourly workers have accepted voluntary buyout offers. This includes about 30,000 individuals who agreed to this arrangement under the company’s recent system-wide open enrollment period that concluded this week. Another 8,000 Ford employees accepted buyouts earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Pfizer said it will cut 2,200 jobs, or 20 percent of its U.S. sales force. Analysts told the Associated Press that the announcement may encourage other drug makers to cut their sales representatives as well. Analysts estimate that Pfizer could save between $400 million and $500 million annually from the job reductions.

In addition, since Thanksgiving 7,000 job cuts were announced related to the planned closure of 20 hospitals in New York, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement consultancy that tracks job-cut announcements. “Some might think that jobs are more secure this time of year, assuming that employers with the holiday spirit will postpone job cuts,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of the consultancy, in a press release. “Unfortunately, these numbers indicate that job security is by no means assured this year.”

He also expressed concern that recent cuts, which had been concentrated in automotive and housing-related industries, are expanding to other areas of the economy, including health care and pharmaceutical companies.