Philadelphia, Pa. -- Americans are slowly feeling more confident about the job market, with more than three-quarters predicting little likelihood of losing their job in the coming year, according to a survey of more than 1,000 fulltime workers by Right Management Consultants. The findings lifted the Right Career Confidence Index(TM) in the United States to 48.3, up from 44.3 six months ago.
Despite their relative security about their own jobs, Americans still believe the overall job market remains tight: Nearly 80 percent said it would be somewhat or very difficult for an out-of-work employee to find a comparably paying job. Forty percent of all respondents said it would be very difficult to land a new job at similar pay. Those figures were slightly more positive than they were in October, when Right conducted its last survey on worker confidence.
"Employees are feeling more confident than they did six months ago about the job market," says Richard Pinola, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Right. "But there is recognition that jobs are still neither plentiful, nor are they easy to land. Until the job market completely recovers, we are unlikely to see major shifts in worker confidence levels."
When asked how likely it was that they would advance at their current company, workers were almost evenly split. Fifty percent said it was very or somewhat possible, while 48.9 percent said it was not very possible or not possible at all. Among that latter group, 29 percent said there was no possibility of advancement. Those responses were almost identical to those of six months ago.
Younger workers and black workers were more likely to report feeling optimistic about moving up at their present company. Sixty-five percent of 18- 34 year olds said job advancement was possible, significantly more than did workers aged 35 and older. Sixty-one percent of blacks surveyed said moving up in their job was a possibility.
"Nearly one out of three American workers sees no possibility of career expansion in their current workplace," says Pinola. "That serves as a strong reminder to employers that they need to identify and develop the talent they want in place for the future. As the economy improves, more workers will begin looking to job-hop. Those who feel most disenfranchised will be the most likely to leave."
Worker concern also was evident in attitudes toward the unemployment rate. About 70 percent of Americans expect the unemployment rate to rise further in the next 12 months. Women were significantly more likely than men to predict such a hike (78.8 percent vs. 63.1 percent), and blacks were considerably more likely to say they expected unemployment to rise than were whites (85.7 percent vs. 65.7 percent).
In addition to the U.S., Right also surveyed an additional 8,227 workers in 17 other countries, where the Career Confidence Index(TM) was measured from a low of 42 in Hong Kong and Germany to a high of 60.2 in Norway. Nine countries, including the U.S., reported an increase in worker confidence, while nine registered a drop.
"Overall, worker confidence levels seem to be very slowly rising in many countries," says Pinola. "But we are still far from seeing a completely healthy and robust job market. That will take some time, and most workers seem to know that."