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CFOs See Staff Shortages, Productivity Drops as Virus Rages On

March 30, 2020, 9:15 PM

CFOs expect more workforce changes over the next month as temporary business closures and work-from-home restrictions continue amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly half of the 55 chief financial officers surveyed by PwC LLP last week said they expect their company to furlough workers because of ultra-low customer demand.

  • A quarter of the respondents said they wouldn’t have enough staff to accomplish critical work; 60% said productivity would drop because of remote working, and just 16% said they expected to lay off workers, according to the snapshot of sentiment taken March 23-25.
  • Many of the CFOs said layoffs would be a last resort, but those commitments may be harder to keep if shutdowns and economic disruptions extend beyond three or four months, PwC Chairman Tim Ryan said on a media call Monday.
  • A majority said they expect revenue declines for 2020 and almost all said they had taken steps to mitigate the financial impacts including cost containment and rethinking investments.
  • Some companies have shifted staff from retail locations to support digital customers instead, said Bhushan Sethi, PwC global people & organization co-leader. “Some of the larger organizations that are in a privileged position are looking at creative alternatives to layoffs, whether they be sabbaticals, compressed schedules, or furloughs, other levers they can pull around the workforce,” Sethi said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Iacone in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at; Vandana Mathur at