The purpose of this study was to obtain empirical data about the effect of workforce reduction on "survivors" in the public (n=158) and private (n=71) sectors in South Africa. Analysis of the effects of workforce reduction indicated that downsizing affected the survivors negatively. Employee morale, staff commitment and motivation plummeted, while job dissatisfaction and concern about job security increased conspicuously. It was found that the negative effects were more prevalent in the public than the private sector. Depth and frequency of downsizing seem not to intensify the survivor syndrome.