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Emory University will have hiring freeze until 2021 due to impact of COVID-19

Business COVID-19 Metro ATL

Emory University will have hiring freeze until 2021 due to impact of COVID-19

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Main Quad on Emory University's primary Druid Hills Campus. Photo obtained via Wikimedia Commons


Atlanta, GA – An email to Emory University managers and department chairs says that due to the financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a hiring freeze until 2021.

“Exceptions will be granted for critical open positions, which are subject to a formal review process implemented by Human Resources,” the email from Emory University said.

Emory isn’t immune to the financial hardships caused by the pandemic. The University closed its campus and switched to remote learning for the rest of the year. There hasn’t been any announcement about whether classes will resume in the fall.

“Emory has lost revenue related to the suspension of mission-related activities and incurred costs related to supporting students’ financial needs and faculty and staff salary continuation,” the email says. “The economic recession resulting from the pandemic will be felt for many months and will require significant adjustments for all of us.”

Emory hasn’t had any layoffs but didn’t rule out layoffs going forward.

“We are fortunate to have avoided job loss and reduction of income for our employees thus far,” the email says. “Depending on the duration of the COVID-19 disruption and the depth of the economic recession, we must acknowledge that Emory may not be exempt from very difficult choices. Financial decisions that impact current staff and faculty are not made lightly but will be made only as necessary to sustain our academic community, deliver the highest quality student experience, and support our global research missions, all while prioritizing our people.”

In addition to the hiring freezes, Emory has cut costs by restricting travel, eliminating merit increases for the next year, delaying capital projects and renovations, and reducing discretionary spending. Emory will be operating on a zero-based budget for the next two years.

According to Investopedia, “Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is a method of budgeting in which all expenses must be justified for each new period. The process of zero-based budgeting starts from a ‘zero base,’ and every function within an organization is analyzed for its needs and costs. Budgets are then built around what is needed for the upcoming period, regardless of whether each budget is higher or lower than the previous one.”

Emory will also pursue federal funding and grants to supplement its income.

The university’s endowment is not going to be able to shore up its budget, the email says.

“Emory’s endowment is intended to provide sustainable financial support and support for specific initiatives, as specified by donors,” the email says. “It does not serve as a reserve fund and cannot be used to replace lost revenue. Further, we expect the economic recession triggered by COVID- 19, which has negatively impacted global financial markets, will cause the endowment’s overall market value to decline. This impact will reduce the annual payout that supports Emory operations.”

But the cost-cutting initiatives will allow Emory to continue to provide scholarships, professorships and other activities that the endowment supports.

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