Next on the economic hit list: Public and non-profit sectors

The Great Recession is starting to cycle full throttle through the public and non-profit sectors.  Why?

In the public sector, budgets are taking a big hit as the meltdown that began in earnest last fall translates into falling tax revenues.  If you’re following the deliberations of state legislatures this year (and California in particular), you know what I mean.

In the non-profit sector, tax-deductible contributions are falling and foundations have less money to give out.  Wealthier non-profits such as prestigious universities are seeing their endowments shrinking and rainy day funds drying up.

What does this mean for the world of work and jobs in these sectors?  It’s not a pretty picture:

  • Layoffs and hiring freezes
  • Salary and benefit cuts and freezes
  • Pressures to do more with less
  • More employment-related lawsuits
  • More bullying, incivility, and stress at work

And it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

At this point, we can only hope that public and non-profit employers will heed Margaret Wheatley’s advice to engage workers rather than clamp down on them.  The coming years probably will be rough ones, and organizations that respond to this challenge in healthy ways will be the ones that contribute to, and benefit from, a recovery and turnaround.

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