High tech set for hard winter

Layoffs and reduced perks are the order of the day as high tech companies streamline.

ECI Telecom Ltd., Freescale Semiconductor Israel Ltd., and Texas Instruments Israel Ltd. are among the companies that have recently announced layoffs, and they are not alone. 2012 is shaping up to be a very difficult year for high tech, with hundreds of employees fired and many more worried out their careers.

What happens to the employees who escape the axe and keep their jobs? According to a survey for "Globes" by Oketz Systems Ltd., these employees are facing worse job conditions. Employees working in small high-tech companies are having the worst of it. An important benefit - employer participation in employee meals - has been reduced from 47.3% in 2011 to 39.6% in 2012.

Weak business results are also forcing companies to reduce bonuses for employees who meet their targets. The survey found that 47.1% of companies are paying bonuses, 18.2% fewer than in 2011.

The survey covered 300 companies with 14,358 employees altogether.

"There is no doubt that benefits for high-tech employees are an integral part of their basic job terms," says Oketz Systems co-CEO Ami Bergman. "Despite the understanding shown by some employees, this is reducing their motivation and affecting their productivity."

Bergman advises high-tech companies to work closely with their employees in setting streamlining measures and increasing employees' involvement in management processes. "Instead of taking unilateral decisions, establishing joint employer-employee streamlining committees creates a greater commitment by both management and employees to the plan, maximizing the savings achieved while greatly reducing dissatisfaction," he says.

Oketz also found that small businesses are struggling to finance events and parties for employees. Only 16.4% of companies continue to celebrate in 2012, down from 49.5% in 2011. Employer participation in the financing of summer camps and after-school activities of employees' children has also been slashed: only 8.3% of small businesses budget these activities, down from 41.4% in 2011.

The deterioration in employee conditions also affects mid-sized businesses. The proportion of mid-sized business that partly cover employees' meals fell from 73.1% in 2011 to 63.8% in 2012, and 30% mid-sized business no longer pay bonuses to employees who meet their targets.

At big companies, 88.2% of companies partly cover employees' meals, down from 95.9% in 2011, and more than a quarter of companies do not pay bonuses to employees who meet their targets. Over 15% of companies have reduced financing for events for employee events.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 25, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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