Years ago at one of the big EHR companies, we had to do a layoff. The managers were given a dollar target of payroll to cut, rather than a number of people, and then allowed to figure out the best approach for their team. Typically, the older / longer-term employees had (sometimes much) higher salaries, so, it seemed pretty common that the decision came down to "cut one person with a high salary or two people with lower salaries." This has always been in the back of my mind whenever I get a raise; will I be worth that much to my manager if he or she has to find that much to cut out of the budget?
I've witnessed first-hand older, MORE EXPENSIVE, employees getting disproportionately displaced in a layoff.
I work for a vendor who has never officially had any layoffs. Great! However, we sometimes go through extended periods of not hiring, and we let natural attrition and increased workload reduce our headcount, which feels just the same as a layoff, except usually it's the more talented, younger, and/or healthier folks who leave by choice instead of the less talented, older, and/or sicker folks who would otherwise leave by decree if we had official layoffs. Judge for yourself which scenario is better.