Engaged WorkforceUncategorized

Worker Confidence: All-time High

Workers are feeling good about jobs, but does that translate to economic growth?

The Editors

Worker confidence continued its upward trend in the fourth quarter of 2016. The Worker Confidence Index (WCI) from HRO Today and Yoh Recruitment Process Outsourcing reports an increase to its highest level since study inception, up 4.6 points to 104.5 in the fourth quarter and up 10.3 points for the year. All components of the WCI were up in 2016—with job confidence, likelihood of a raise, and trust in leadership all up more than 10 points

The consistent increase in the WCI throughout the year suggests optimism about employee’s faith in their employment situation, and job security confidence throughout the year corresponds with the U.S. unemployment rate drop to 4.7 percent. Job security has remained relatively consistent over the past year. Women continue to report higher levels of confidence in their job security than men, as only 7. 4 percent versus 12.7 percent men thought a job loss was likely. In general, minorities tend to anticipate job loss more than whites. The youngest and the poorest respondents reported the highest concern about job security. However, the most educated respondents felt less secure about their job stability in the fourth quarter of 2016

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) remains largely consistent with job security study findings. By the end of 2016, there were 1.3 percent more workers than at the end of 2015, bringing the total to 111.4 million. The number of male workers increased 1.6 percent in 2016, more than the 1 percent increase in the number of female workers. So while proportionately more males than females were concerned about job loss, more males were hired in 2016.

In the fourth quarter, the likelihood of a promotion index climbed 10.2 points, to 103.8 from 93.6 in the the fourth quarter of 2015, which reversed declines during much of the year. Study results show that men are consistently more optimistic about receiving promotions than women. There remains a strong negative correlation between age and promotion, whereas the older one gets, the less optimistic they are about the likelihood of promotion. Those with the lowest income, as well as respondents in $50,000 to $100,000 range, were the most optimistic about their chance of a promotion. In addition, whites were less likely than both minority groups to anticipate a promotion, and those with a college degree had highest levels of optimism about receiving a promotion.

The likelihood of a raise increased in the fourth quarter of 2016. Males were more likely than females to anticipate getting a raise—34.2 percent to 22.8 percent, respectively—the gap is now almost twice the size of the findings from the last quarter of 2015 (11.4 percent versus 6. 6 percent). As income increases, so does the belief in the likelihood of a raise. Those with at least $75,000 annual household income are the most inclined to think they’ll get a raise, while those making under $50,000 are the least optimistic.

Millennials are most inclined to believe that they will receive a raise after their next review, while older generations are less optimistic. In addition, minorities were more likely than whites and workers with at least some college education more likely than those with less education to report positive expectations of a raise.

Trust in company leadership is at its highest since the inception of the study, with 45.6 percent indicating they trust their company’s leadership. Overall, men are more likely than women to trust company leadership. Each age segment expressed more confidence in the company leadership in the fourth quarter of 2016 than in the fourth quarter of 2015, though the largest increase was among the youngest group, ages 18 to 25. There is a direct relationship between trust and income; as income increases, so does trust. Company leaders are normally the most highly compensated employees in an organization, so in effect, respondents in the higher income segment are more likely than those in other income segments to be rating themselves. It also follows that people with a college education are also more likely to trust their leadership. Interestingly, minority respondents were more likely to trust leadership than white respondents.

In many ways, 2016 was tumultuous. The Dow closed out its best year since 2013, up 13.4 percent for the year to end at 19,762.60. But the result of the presidential election was both surprising and polarizing, and traditionally the market doesn’t like surprises. How the election results will impact 2017 remains uncertain, though as of mid-February, The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up over 20,400.

Despite low unemployment, high job security, and good corporate earnings reports, the economy remains sluggish, with consumers and businesses hesitant to spend. Consumer spending is up 3.8 percent over the last year, but that’s partially offset by capital spending declines and tight inventories by businesses.

For more information from this quarters’ WCI, visit www.hrotoday.com.

Tags: Engaged Workforce, Uncategorized

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