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In the wake of the pandemic my company lost a lot of its business and clients, and revenue is down by over 60%. People were furloughed (and some in the overseas office were fired), and mandatory 15% pay cuts were put in place.

These developments freaked me out and I have been applying to new positions for the past 3 weeks (I'm a Data Scientist). I received an offer today from a fairly well-known (in the field) company. I applied to this company because they were (and even as of yesterday) still advertising new positions, at a time when most companies were freezing hires or laying off people. The company appears to be doing well, and the recruiter assured me that while they have slowed down hiring to just the most essential roles, they are still in relatively good shape and a retraction of the offer (if i chose to accept it) would be unlikely. The salary is better than what I am earning at my present company (even without the recent 15% pay cut).

I'm now left with a difficult decision.

Do I start a new position at a time when there's a looming depression, in a company that is still doing fairly okay, but isn't completely unscathed by the current pandemic? The uncertainty and lack of security is what is worrying me. What if things get worse for the company in the next few weeks/months? The saying "last one in, first one out" comes to mind.

On the other hand, in my current company my position is fairly secure, but the recent bout of furloughs/layoffs/pay cuts has freaked me out and I feel things could potentially get worse. Management flat-out mentioned that the company has a substantial excess of employees based on the current low demand due to loss of clients. That is a terrifying thing to hear! However, I've read that most companies in the current situation usually follow the "cut early, cut once, cut deep" practice, meaning they try to avoid multiple cuts (and rather just make a big one early) and consequently as an employee, if you avoid that first cut, you're probably safe (for a while). My company has been extremely (and actually unusually) upfront with us, showing financial projections (into early 2021) with and without the furloughs/layoffs/pay cuts. It's clear this was something they had to do to save the business. And while they were careful not to promise there wouldn't be more cuts/layoffs, it seems the measures they've taken so far might suffice to keep the company afloat for the short-to-medium term, while the economy recovers (insofar as it can), but this is really all just speculation on my part.

So what to do? Any advice from anyone going through a similar situation?

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    Your question doesn’t indicate if this new position would be considered essential – Donald Apr 17 at 3:26
  • Thanks for the response! The recruiter told me at the new company, hiring as slowed down, and has been reduced to only essential roles. Thus I assume mine is – SethCamd Apr 20 at 14:46
  • You should not make an assumption. You should reach out and request clarification. You need all the facts, and you cannot make an educated decision, without knowing for certain if your new position will be considered essential. Otherwise, you are just going to trade one furlough job for another. – Donald Apr 20 at 14:50
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It's sounds like it's more likely you lose your current job than the new one.

I'm working in a team that's on the other side of the table. While there is a hiring freeze in most departments, we still have open positions for experts that we gonna need to ensure future success.

Most countries are in the third month of the pandemic, therefore I assume most companies have either defined a plan on how to survive or even improve after this, or they switched to panic mode and don't answer any calls anymore. Your recruiter seems to be well prepared and seems to belong to the first group.

There is still a risk if the situation becomes much worse. I think it's less likely, because everybody is preparing for the worst. If the company has good finances and doesn't work in an industry that's affected directly by COVID-19, I would go for it, especially as a Data Scientist who can work remotely.

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    It's worth noting that if the situation will become worse for the New Company the Old one will feel it even stronger as, probable, their plans didn't include additionals blows. – SZCZERZO KŁY Apr 17 at 8:01
  • Thanks for the responses! – SethCamd Apr 20 at 14:47

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