UK workers worried as jobs' market stutters


British workers are some of the most pessimistic in the world about the future of their jobs, at the same time as employers are reporting a recruitment slowdown, according to latest research.

The career confidence study by HR consultancy RightCoutts found, while there was rising optimism within the rest of the global workforce, almost a quarter of UK employees – the highest percentage around the world – believed there was a chance they would be made redundant in the coming year.

Its finding comes as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, in its latest quarterly survey, has warned that UK employers have become much more pessimistic about recruitment prospects.

The CIPD reported that prospects for the next three months have fallen to their lowest level since its survey began two years ago, with just a third of employers expecting staff numbers to increase in the next three months.

The RightCoutts research also found that more than two-thirds of British employees believed, if they were made redundant, they would find it difficult to find alternative employment of a similar grade.

Out of a perfect confidence score of 100, the UK's overall career confidence index was just 50.3 points compared with 54.6 for workers worldwide. UK workers had reported a 2.4 point fall in confidence since May, the sharpest drop in the world alongside the US, which experienced a similarly steep fall from its three-year high in the last survey.

Jo Bond, managing director of RightCoutts, said: "The recent economic downturn in the UK, coupled with increased employment and operational costs, means that a decrease in UK career confidence is not a surprise. "While the situation might look gloomy at first glance, UK workers need to remember that our economy is actually in a much stronger position than many of our global peers," she added.

Bond concluded: "UK organisations need to maintain the morale of employees and ensure that this economic slump doesn't lead to reduced retention and productivity in the workplace."