Employee Confidence Soars As Workers Gain Leverage

April 6, 2016 – Employee confidence in the first quarter is up across the board — the job market, job security, pay raises and future business outlook all remains strong, according to Glassdoor’s first quarter ‘Employment Confidence Survey,’ conducted online by Harris Poll. The Glassdoor survey monitors four key indicators of employee confidence: job market optimism / re-hire probability, pay raise expectations, job security and business outlook.

Here’s a closer look at the latest findings:

Job Market Confidence Near Peak Level

More than half (53 percent) of American employees (including those self-employed) believe if they lost their job they would be able to find a new job matched to their experience and current compensation levels in the next six months. This reveals the second-highest confidence in the U.S. job market since Glassdoor began its survey in 2009. It’s up 14 percentage points from the first quarter of 2009.

Americans Remain Confident in Pay Raises

Nearly half (46 percent) of U.S. employees expect a pay raise or cost-of-living increase in the next 12 months, which is up 10 percentage points from the first quarter of 2009. Pay raise confidence is down just four percentage points from the third quarter of 2015 when it stood at 50 percent.

Job Security Confidence Soars

U.S. employees’ concerns about being laid off have reached a new low since the fourth quarter 2014 (13 percent). Today, 14 percent of employees report they are concerned they could be laid off in the next six months compared to its peak, 26 percent, in the first quarter of 2009. Job security confidence is down just one percentage point from the third quarter of 2015.

Business Outlook Optimism Dropping

Nearly half (42 percent) of employees believe their company’s future business outlook will improve in the next six months. When asked if they expected their companies’ outlooks to get better, worse or stay the same in the next six months, employees reported a record high confidence of 51 percent that their business outlook will improve. Fifty percent believe their company’s business outlook will stay the same, up four percentage points from 46 percent in the third quarter 2015, while only seven percent believe it will get worse, up one percentage point from the third quarter of 2015.

“In 2009 our country faced its worst recession in years, and uncertainty made employment confidence weak,” said Rusty Rueff, a Glassdoor career and workplace expert. “Today, employee confidence about the job market, job security and the likelihood of a pay raise is among the highest it’s been in the past seven years. But we’ll keep an eye on employee confidence around employers’ future business outlook as recent market uncertainty could be impacting employee optimism related to company performance.”

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This report follows a mostly upbeat employment report just released by the Department of Labor. Employers added 215,000 jobs in March as the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly to five percent. Job growth occurred in retail trade, construction and healthcare while job losses occurred in manufacturing and mining.

Employers also remain confident in their hiring plans, with 36 percent of employers planning to add full-time, permanent employees in 2016, according to CareerBuilder‘s annual job forecast. Nearly half of employers (47 percent) plan to hire temporary or contract workers.

“On average, the U.S. has added 200,000 jobs each month over the last two years, and we expect 2016 to produce similar results, if not better,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “The market is also showing signs of broader wage pressure. While employers have been more willing to pay a premium for high-skill labor, they now have to pay more competitive wages for entry-level positions. Workers are gaining leverage.”

Manpower’s ‘Employment Outlook Survey’ also found continued optimism among U.S. employers, recording its most positive numbers since 2007. Employers expressed a positive outlook in all 13 industry sectors included in the survey, with leisure & hospitality (+30 percent), transportation & utilities (+23 percent) wholesale & retail trade (+22 percent) and professional & business services (+18 percent) employers reporting the strongest hiring intentions.

Glassdoor’s study asked participants to identify what they think are the “most important employment issues in the 2016 presidential election.” Among Americans who are employed or unemployed but looking for a job, the most notable disparities between Republicans and Democrats in the 2016 presidential election were among the following four key employment-related topics:

  • The health of the economy: 75 percent of Republicans compared to 52 percent of Democrats — a 23 point swing, feel it is one of the most important employment issues;
  • Income and wealth distribution: (e.g., CEO-to-worker pay ratio): 57 percent of Democrats report this as one of the most important employment issues, compared to 34 percent of Republicans, another 23 percentage point difference;
  • Immigration: (i.e., allowing more VISAs to enable foreign workers to fill hard-to-fill jobs): This was the second most important topic for Republicans: 36 percent compared to 23 percent for Democrats;
  • Gender equality at work: (e.g., unfair pay, underrepresentation of women in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — jobs): one-third (33 percent) of Democrats believe gender equality at work is one of the most important 2016 presidential election issues, compared to 13 percent of Republicans, a 20 percentage point difference.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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