Worker confidence levels creeping upwards

2004

Workers across the world are marginally more optimistic about their job prospects than they were six months ago, according to a worldwide survey of nearly 10,000 workers in 18 countries conducted by Right Management Consultants.

Workers in Hong Kong and Switzerland were the most concerned about losing their jobs, while workers in Norway and Sweden were the most confident about keeping them.

Norway is home to the world's most confident workers, seeing an impressive jump in an already high Career Confidence Index. Ninety-three percent of Norwegians said there was little or no chance they would lose their jobs in the coming year. Eighty-eight percent of Swedes said the same.

Gloomiest are workers in Hong Kong, where one in three are worried about their positions, and Switzerland, where a quarter worry they could face redundancy.

In Norway, 93 percent of workers said there was little or no chance they would lose their job

The findings lifted the overall global Career Confidence Index to 50.0, up from 48.7 six months ago.

The UK saw an eight per cent drop in people feeling insecure about their position over the past six months to 21 per cent.

The global average for the perceived likelihood of losing a job was 17.1 per cent. The average percentage of workers worldwide who said their job was not at risk was 78.6 per cent.

When asked how easy or difficult it would be for the average laid-off worker to find comparable work at the same pay, 75 per cent or more of workers in 15 of the 18 countries surveyed said it would be somewhat or very difficult.

German (93.3 per cent) and Swiss (88 per cent) workers were the most pessimistic on this question. Koreans were the most confident about finding a new job: 29 per cent said it would be somewhat or very easy for a laid-off worker to find a similar-paying job.

The UK remains ahead of other many other countries in Europe in terms of an increase in job confidence. Ireland, Norway, France and Italy have all seen levels of employee confidence increase, whereas confidence has fallen in Germany and Switzerland:

Countries that registered the most dramatic increases in worker confidence levels were: Ireland (from 44.9 to 49.9), Canada (47.6 to 52.2), the U.K. (45.7 to 50.2), Norway (56.2 to 60.2) and the United States (44.3 to 48.3).

"Workers in the UK are regaining confidence in the future of their own careers and the turn around in confidence that has been seen in the last six months is impressive," said Jo Bond, deputy managing director of RightCoutts in the UK.

Indeed the levels of insecurity felt by workers in the UK could be unwarranted. Last week, the latest Cranfield School of Management's / Daily Telegraph Recruitment Confidence Index suggested that more than half of UK organisations are looking to expand their workforce over the coming months and a quarter believe that skills shortages will leave vacancies unfilled..

Looking at the global picture, Richard Pinola, CEO of Right, pointed out that individual countries move through different economic cycles at different times. "Europe is a case in point: It is home to the world's most confident workers - the Norwegians - while two other European countries, Germany and Switzerland, have some of the world's most concerned workers.

"Norwegians are the beneficiaries of a very wealthy, gas-rich economy, low unemployment and generous programs for laid-off workers," said Pinola. "That clearly shows up in their responses."