Employers considering redundancies as a solution to the economic downturn should look at ways to boost staff productivity instead, it has been suggested.

According to Rob Coates, managing director of human resources consultancy Willerby Hill, making staff redundant will only act as a quick fix answer to financial difficulties.

He claims laying off employees will result in reduced efficiency and mean businesses will be less able to cope with economic problems.

"Apart from depriving yourself of prized assets that may be vital to weather hard times, you could be delivering competitive advantage to business rivals by letting go high calibre players whose training and development you financed," he explained.

In today’s "predatory" employment market, positioning themselves as top employers in their particular sector or geographical area will help businesses to attract and retain the best talent, he added.

The latest quarterly national business confidence survey from KMPG shows that 53 per cent of private and public sector employers are planning to make staff redundancies, up from 29 per cent in March.