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Job Security: How Uneasy Are Workers?

Top 5 Findings from Yoh’s Third Quarter Employee Well-Being Study

By Christa Elliott

HRO Today magazine has partnered with Yoh Recruitment Process Outsourcing to produce the Employee Well Being Study, which provides an index to measure employment security in the United States. Perceptions of job security are particularly interesting to government entities because of the impact that they have on American spending habits and, by extension, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

This index provides insight into macro-metrics previously untapped by existing indices such as the Consumer Confidence Index, Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) or United States Consumer Sentiment. Although those indices are useful in gauging the attitudes of employees towards their jobs, they do not measure perceptions of job security with the same precision.

Each month, HRO Today magazine employs ORC International’s CARAVAN® Omnibus Surveys to conduct approximately 333 interviews online. Respondents, who are 18 years and older and work full-time in the U.S., answer a series of four questions. Each question asks respondents to rate each question on a 1-5 scale, with one being “very poor” and  five being “very favorable.” The four questions are about the possibility of involuntary job loss, the likelihood of promotion, anticipation of a raise of at least 3 percent, and trust in company leadership.

The third quarter survey indicated the following trends:

Frustration and Wavering Faith

The Employee Well Being Index decreased from 102.3 in the second quarter to 97.8 in the third—the lowest level since the study’s inception. Despite a recent drop in the unemployment rate to 5.1 percent, a downward trend in the index suggests that employees are frustrated and losing faith in the potential and protability of their jobs. There was less optimism in three of four areas examined: job promotion potential, raise potential, and trust; job security was the only metric to increase between the second and third quarters.

Women in particular feel condent about job security while minorities, and the young trail in perceptions of employment well-being. Further, workers age 55 or older, felt less secure about their jobs this quarter.

Female and Minority Job Growth on the Rise

A reversal of prior trends, men outgained women in job growth percentage in the third quarter (1.12 percent compared to 0.36 percent, respectively.) Likewise, minorities experienced more job growth than whites: Both African Americans and Hispanics had 2 percent job growth compared with .05 percent for whites.

Advancement Doubts

The survey showed declines in job promotion. That is to say that employees are less likely to expect a promotion from their employer in the next year—a decrease to 18.3 percent from 20.3 percent in the second quarter.

Males continue to be more optimistic than females, and minorities were more optimistic than whites about getting a promotion, by a ratio of more than 2:1. Black optimism, however, fell 6 percent in the third quarter.

Hope for a Raise Declines

Just over one-quarter (25.7 percent) of respondents feel they’ll get a raise of at least 3 percent after their next review. This is a 2-percent decrease from the second quarter and the lowest level in all ve quarters examined.

Likewise, the gap between rich and poor continues to expand, and as income increases, so does the belief in the likelihood of a raise. We also see from the age of 25 on, the belief there will be a raise after the next review declines.

Trust Remains Elusive

Overall, less than one-half (42 percent) trusted company leadership to make sound decisions in Q3 2015, a slight decline from the previous quarter. Study trends show that that trust in company leadership erodes with age. The least trustful groups are females, older employees, the uneducated, low-income employees and whites.

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