Bumping is a practice used by many companies to reserve talent pool during downsizing, wherein, a senior level employee, whose position has been selected for elimination, is offered the option of accepting an alternative position of lesser seniority within the organisation.
Hence, bumping can be a useful tool for employers who wish to retain the skills and experience of an employee who would otherwise be downsized. A lot of employers, though, are reluctant to consider bumping because of its obvious injustice to the employee who is bumped.
Bumping maybe considered appropriate when an employer intends to make a senior role redundant but retain a more junior role, and especially if the senior level employee has more experience of service and better qualifications. In such instances, it is obviously prudent to ask the senior employee if he would consider working in a junior position at a reduced salary. In most cases, the employee would refuse to accept such a position. But the employee maybe inclined to accept the position in certain circumstances, when losing a job would affect him more adversely than accepting a relatively junior position. The bumped off junior employee may also opt for the same option, thus creating a cascade of uncertainty in the business as each displaced employee looks to bump out his subordinate in turn. This scenario generally does not arise because the chain breaks at a very early stage with laid off employees refusing to accept junior positions.