Rosy outlook for U.S managers

2007

Low levels of unemployment and steadily rising wages have left American workers, and particularly middle and senior managers, increasingly optimistic about their career prospects for this year.

Nine out of 10 managers, business owners or workers in professional positions felt their careers options this year were "promising", and more than two thirds expected to reach their personal and financial goals as a result, the survey by recruitment firm Adecco has found.

Overall, more than eight out 10 U.S workers felt their career prospects are promising at the moment, against just 12 per cent who called them "bleak".

Intriguingly, men, at 88 per cent, were slightly more optimistic about their careers than women (81 per cent).

"American workers have a right to be optimistic," said Bernadette Kenny, senior vice-president of HR for Adecco North America.

"This exuberance felt by the American workforce today is entirely rational. It's a job seekers' market. The unemployment number has held steady at a low 4.5 per cent, 1.8 million additional jobs were created in 2006 and average weekly earnings rose 4.5 per cent, compared to 3.2 per cent in 2005," she added.

The downside of this was that employers would have to be working much harder as a result to retain talented individuals, if they did not want to see them walk off into the sunset to a better proposition, she argued.

The study also looked at attitudes towards retirement and found just a quarter of the workers polled felt they would have a "traditional" retirement where they put their feet up for good at 65.

More than four out of 10 expected to continue working but cut back on their hours, and nearly a fifth predicted they would retire from their current profession to try a new career.

And just 12 per cent predicted they would retire early, perhaps evidence of a growing recognition of the difficulty many workers have in saving for retirement.

"Just as the world of work has changed, so has the concept of retirement," said Kenny.

"A majority of people no longer plan to end their careers between the ages of 55 and 65 anymore.

"American workers want to contribute well into their older years, which not only enables them to continue earning a salary, but also helps companies maintain a high level of seasoned talent and institutional knowledge.

"Companies who tap the older workforce will have a competitive advantage as the talent war continues to unfold," she added.

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