scorecardMiddle managers are feeling the squeeze and losing confidence in their employers amid layoffs, cost-cutting, and RTO mandates, Glassdoor finds
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Middle managers are feeling the squeeze and losing confidence in their employers amid layoffs, cost-cutting, and RTO mandates, Glassdoor finds

Sawdah Bhaimiya   

Middle managers are feeling the squeeze and losing confidence in their employers amid layoffs, cost-cutting, and RTO mandates, Glassdoor finds
Careers2 min read
  • Middle managers are less confident about their companies' business outlook than other employees.
  • They're under pressure to execute layoffs, RTO mandates, and stringent performance reviews.

Middle managers are getting the short end of the stick as they face increased pressure from companies carrying out layoffs and return-to-office mandates, and their confidence levels have hit new lows as a result, Glassdoor's Employee Confidence Index published on Monday shows.

The index, which is put together using tens of thousands of US employee ratings of their employers' six-month business outlook, found that overall confidence levels have dropped to 45.1% in February from 45.7% in January — hitting the lowest level Glassdoor started collating such data in 2016.

Midlevel employees, like middle managers, have seen their confidence levels drop most severely in the past year, falling from 54.6% in February 2023 to 48.3% in February 2024 — a 6.3% decrease.

"As the 'year of efficiency' mandates extends into 2024, middle managers are under more pressure to do more with less, managing demands from leaders while placating anxious employees," Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor's lead economist, said in the report.

Middle managers have become increasingly burned out in the past year as they face pressure to execute company decisions such as layoffs, RTO mandates, and more stringent performance reviews.

A Gallup survey of Fortune 500 chief HR officers in 2023 found that 55% of managers are actively seeking out new roles compared to 49% of individual contributors.

This is partially because middle managers are also at high risk of being laid off themselves, experts told Bloomberg.

Zhao previously told Bloomberg: "They're often cut, but they're also often responsible for implementing these measures to get more efficient."

Some major tech firms are looking to flatten their structure by removing unnecessary layers of management.

Meta asked some managers and directors to transition into individual contributor roles — which don't involve managing anyone — or quit the company, in early 2023.

Meanwhile, Salesforce aimed to flatten its structure by eliminating layers of management in a bid to become more efficient. Some managers were asked to become individual contributors or were given a certain number of direct reports.




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