Why Are Companies Cutting Middle Management?

By: Anneken Tappe · May 29, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

American companies are rethinking their structures, and the middle manager may go as a result.

Historically, these workers have been a mainstay of corporations, bridging the gap between rank-and-file employees and higher-level executives. But as companies look to cut costs and streamline operations, they increasingly see middle management as an unnecessary cog in the machine.

Cutting Out the Middle

In 2023, middle management roles accounted for nearly a third (31.5%) of total layoffs, according to Live Data Technologies , compared to an average of just 22% in previous years.

This trend has an outsized impact on millennial workers, who fit the bill of being too experienced for entry level roles but not necessarily experienced enough for executive positions.

It’s not surprising then that in the widespread layoffs of 2022, the overwhelming majority (94%) of cut roles were held by millennials, according to workforce intelligence firm Revelio Labs .

Adapting to the New Normal

The fate of middle management affects more than just those laid-off workers. While some companies pride themselves on flat corporate structures, less direct management could change how young employees find their footing in the workplace.

A good manager provides guidance, mentorship, and coaching to younger employees. Removing them from the equation could make it harder for young employees to adjust to new roles, especially in hybrid or remote work arrangements.

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