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Workers Reduce Spending Due to Layoff Concerns

Zety, a career service dedicated to helping people improve their resumes and cover letters, surveyed 1,000 U.S.-based workers in mid-February 2024 to develop a better understanding of the relationship between people’s career, their financial decisions, and their spending habits.  

According to Zety’s Financial Habits and Health Survey, concerns about layoffs, perceptions of a cooling job market, and overall inflation have caused most workers to reduce their spending. Roughly two-thirds (60%) report that they are trying to spend less because they’re worried about layoffs. Half (53%) are reducing their spending due to concerns about the job market, while 85% say inflation has impacted their spending habits.  

Additional findings from the survey are below.  

  • More than four in 10 (42%) say their financial situation is less stable today compared to last year (with 23% describing themselves as much less stable than last year).  
  • Still, 36% say their financial situation is about the same, while 22% say they are more financially stable.  
  • The top financial challenges employees face in 2024 include contributing to a savings account (20%), meeting the same standard of living as in 2023 (17%), paying the bills on time (16%), and paying off credit card debt (15%).  
  • About one in 10 (12%) employees claim they do not have any financial challenges.  
  • Almost half (45%) of workers feel that they are underpaid, with 26% saying they are very underpaid and 19% saying they are slightly underpaid. One in 10 say they are overpaid, and 45% believe they are paid fairly.  
  • For half (51%) of those surveyed, their bonuses were non-existent or lower than expected in 2023. Nearly one in five did not get a bonus even though they were expecting one. For 18%, their bonus was a little lower than expected, and a lot lower for 15% of employees.  

“Robert Kiyosaki once said that money is not the most important thing in life, but it does affect everything that is important,” says Dominika Kowalska, CPRW and career expert at Zety. “Looking at the study findings, it’s not hard to agree with these words. Lack of financial stability and income-related fears negatively influence our overall well-being. It’s clear the overall economy and cooling labor market have caused many to become less confident about their employment and financial situations.”  

Nearly three-quarters (69%) would prioritize work-life balance over a higher salary. Respondents report they would not accept a different job for 30% of higher salary if they knew they would have horrible work-life balance. Similarly, 57% would not accept an offer it meant having a toxic boss.  

Salary range (26%), health benefits (17%), flexible schedules (13%), and details about job duties (13%) are the most important information in a job posting. Further, 66% wish companies would post salary ranges for all their employees.  

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