What is Hiring Freeze

Hiring freeze


A hiring freeze occurs when businesses stop filling vacant positions at their company. They may suspend hiring temporarily or forever. During a break, the employer will stop generating new roles.


  • Hiring slowdowns occur during unfavourable economic conditions, such as a recession or company downturn.
  • Hiring freeze have an impact when firms stop creating new opportunities or filling open positions.
  • Hiring freeze affects job seekers and employees in different ways, such as fewer possibilities, retracted job offers, and slower career progression.

How do hiring freezes work?

We can easily understand the meaning from its name, however, the practical realities might vary greatly depending on the company’s strategy.

The freeze might replace layoffs and furloughs, or it could be used in conjunction with staff cutbacks. The corporation may also take other cost-cutting measures, such as limiting raises, cancelling bonuses, or decreasing benefits and perks.

In simpler words, a freeze may indicate that current employees are unable to advance in position within the organisation.

You will occasionally see companies utilize “soft” freezes in which hiring is paused for only non-critical roles.

Examples of Hiring Freeze

Hiring Freeze at Twitter:

In 2020 Twitter announced the departure of two top officials in a major shakeup after which entrepreneur Elon Musk closed a great deal in acquiring the company. 

According to chief executive Parag Agrawal, Twitter was unable to meet user growth and revenue milestones necessary to sustain trust in its ability to meet aggressive growth ambitions established for 2020.

“We need to continue to be intentional about our teams, hiring and costs,” Agrawal said in a statement.

“We are pulling back on non-labor costs to ensure we are being responsible and efficient,” she said. “Effective this week, we are pausing most hiring and backfills, except for business critical roles.”

Hiring Freeze at Facebook

In response to a drop in quarterly sales and profitability, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, implemented a hiring freeze across most units in 2022.

 According to the New York Times, the employment freeze would include engineers and data scientists. In addition, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg proposed budget cuts and staff reductions.

The Covid-19 pandemic:

When the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, it sparked a global wave of employment freezes as businesses battled to deal with the extraordinary economic position it produced. During the epidemic, a total of 59% of CEOs instituted hiring freezes.

The length of time these hiring freezes could last was uncertain, which distinguished them from conventional occurrences. The globe has encountered many difficult economic times throughout history, and it is feasible to estimate when an economic depression will end. However, the Covid-19 epidemic was a real unknown, especially in its early stages.

The 2008 financial crisis:

When a housing bubble burst in the United States in 2008, the ripple effects extended around the world, resulting in a worldwide economic slump. A subsequent poll revealed that 48% of organisations implemented employment freezes in the aftermath of the crisis. Freezes implemented during this time often lasted only 4-6 months as businesses waited for the worst of the economic effects from the crisis to pass.

How long do hiring freezes typically last?

A typical hiring freeze lasts 3-6 months, but it might be as brief as a few weeks or even years. Because they are generally caused by severe economic conditions, their duration will usually correspond to the number of times those difficulties endure.

Hiring freezes are frequently associated with recessions, which last approximately ten months.


Is a hiring freeze a bad sign?

Well the answer is Yes and No as companies implement hiring freezes in regards to what’s happening in the organisation.

A hiring freeze clearly shows that a company is going through a difficult period. However, it also demonstrates that leadership is proactive in seeking solutions to weather the storm. 

A hiring freeze may be preferable to layoffs in some situations. So, while a hiring freeze is preferable to a company failing outright, it does not bode well for the near future.


Why Companies Implement Hiring Freezes

Every business operates in order to ensure long-term financial success. When a company faces substantial cash flow issues as a result of unfavourable market conditions or a significant decrease in sales, the primary goal is to preserve funds in order to keep operations running. 

Under these conditions, a company’s management is likely to impose a hiring freeze. The following are some common situations where a corporation may contemplate a hiring freeze:

1. Global crisis: As evidenced by the COVID-19 epidemic, these crises have had a negative influence on businesses around the world. During such periods, businesses may postpone hiring new personnel while continuing to monitor global markets and trends.

 During this moment, firms become more conservative and prudent in order to retain their current staff.

  1. Changes in market conditions: The shifts in market conditions can have a notable impact on revenue generation and overall profitability.

 An example of this can be a downturn in the ceiling board industry. All firms directly involved in the manufacturing, distribution, or value-added services in the ceiling board industry, may implement hiring freezes in aims to counter the impacts of the changing market conditions.

  1. Budget deficit/Cost Control: If an organisation perceives that hiring new employees would result in a budget deficit for a specific financial period (short or long term), it will postpone hiring new employees until the company’s financial position improves. 

This delayed recruitment represents a hiring freeze.

One of the main reasons for a hiring freeze is to cut costs. If a company is experiencing financial difficulties or is working with a limited budget, a hiring freeze might help to minimise labour expenses and enhance profitability.

  1. Emerging liquidity concerns: When a company’s management notices a drop in liquid assets, they may postpone recruitment activities.

 Liquidity ratios allow employers to rapidly spot liquidity concerns. Ideally, there should always be enough current assets to cover short-term liabilities. 

To boost liquidity, an employer may decide to use funds from the salary budget to finance current assets. This is typically conducted as a last resort.

Hiring freezes enable businesses to reduce or avoid developing or filling non-essential positions. Hiring freezes allow employers to reorganise work teams and integrate employees, resulting in increased productivity in delivering the necessary products and services to customers. Even after establishing a hiring freeze, a company’s goal remains to increase profits.

  1. Restructuring and reorganization: Companies undertaking or in need of considerable restructuring or reorganisation may impose a hiring freeze to first assess their current staff, roles, and responsibilities. This freeze allows the organisation to clearly visualise its current internal operations, allowing it to better plan and implement changes before hiring new personnel.

How Do Hiring Freezes Affect Workers?

Hiring restrictions have far-reaching consequences for employees beyond the apparent issues of fewer job postings and smaller teams to meet company goals.


Impacts on Job Seekers

  • Fewer opportunities: Multiple hiring freezes across organisations may result in fewer work options if you’re looking for a new position.
  • Job offers rescinded: During a hiring freeze, firms may revoke job offers that they would normally honour. This is generally lawful. In most circumstances, an employer may withdraw a job offer for any reason—or no reason at all.
  • Reduced negotiation strength: If many companies in your field implement hiring freezes, you may find yourself with less bargaining leverage. Over time, this might result in lower salaries and slower professional progression.

Impacts on Employees 

  • Stagnant career growth: A lack of mobility within organisations means less opportunities to advance your career internally. You may also have less opportunity to develop new skills or collaborate with other teams, which could negatively impact your career path. 
  • Stagnated promotions: While not every hiring freeze is absolute, many firms may pause promotions, transfers, and new recruits. 
  • Higher job stress: When organisations stop filling available positions, existing employees generally face greater workloads. This might make it more difficult to meet your team’s objectives and make work more tough and less gratifying for everyone.

How To Prepare for a Hiring Freeze

Although hiring freezes are not always predictable, there are a few things you can do to prepare for them.

Look for the Signs

During economic downturns, employers are more prone to implement hiring freezes and other cost-cutting measures. So, if you know your company is experiencing liquidity issues or is being restructured, you might expect a hiring freeze. The same applies to economic crises such as recessions. The basic conclusion is that when business slows, so does recruiting.

Keep Your Resume Ready

Regardless of the economic climate, it is always advisable to maintain your resume current and your professional network robust. Take a few minutes to update your skills, delete outdated positions, and improve the layout.

Don’t Panic

Job searching can be difficult regardless of your situation. However, if you’re seeking a job due to a potential recruiting slowdown at your current workplace, you’re ahead of the competition. By leaving your alternatives open, you ensure that you will make better decisions. That is the most effective strategy to maintain a successful career.


If you had to look for work tomorrow, would your skill set be ready? Examine job postings in your field and take note of the necessary and desired abilities. Upskilling fills gaps by adding new capabilities to a current skill base.

 Employers can upskill employees through corporate training programmes to create a more proficient workforce. Workers can advance their skills through continuing education, certification, and private training.Learn more about online programmes, certificates, and self-study.

Advantages of a hiring freeze

Cost savings

One of the key advantages of a hiring freeze is an immediate reduction in labour costs. By not employing new personnel, the organisation saves money on pay, benefits, and other costs involved with onboarding new employees.

Organizational restructuring

A hiring freeze allows management to analyse and restructure the company’s structure, positions, and responsibilities. Once the freeze is lifted, this can serve to make the organisation more streamlined and efficient.

Disadvantages of a hiring freeze

Talent shortage

Skill gaps that have arisen as a result of a prolonged hiring freeze may make it difficult for the organisation to accomplish its long-term objectives if market conditions improve.

Decline in innovation

A lack of fresh perspectives and expertise from new hires can negatively impact the levels of innovation and creativity within the organization.

Increased workload

During a hiring freeze, existing employees may be asked to take on additional duties to compensate for skills shortages caused by a lack of new recruitment. This can result in fatigue, decreased job satisfaction, and lower overall employee morale.