UK and USA top world league of job insecurity

Apr 02 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The UK’s working population feels more insecure about their jobs than staff in any other developed economy. Nearly a third of the UK’s working population believe they could lose their job in the next 12 months, compared to only four per cent in Italy and six per cent in Belgium and Norway

A survey of over 9,300 workers in 17 countries carried out in March 2003 by career transition specialists Right Management Consultants polled full-time workers in 12 European countries, as well as in the USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan to create the first Right Global Career Confidence Index.

The closest country to the UK in the survey was the USA, where 27 per cent of workers feel their job may be at risk. In Japan, 20.5 per cent of staff have job security concerns, in Germany the figure is 14.9 per cent and in France 13.7 per cent. But the Index also discovered that UK workers are relatively optimistic about their chances of obtaining similarly paid jobs if made redundant. 21 per cent thought this would be easy, significantly more than Germany (4 per cent), Italy (8 per cent) and Switzerland (9 per cent), and only slightly behind the Netherlands, the most optimistic country (29 per cent).

Jo Bond, Deputy Managing Director of RightCoutts, said that employment law in the UK and USA was partly responsible for the statistics. “This survey shows that job insecurity is being felt most by workers in the UK, despite the recent fall in unemployment seen in UK Government figures. Across Europe workers in some countries, notably Belgium and Italy, are less worried about redundancy, perhaps due to the existence of stronger laws protecting employees’ rights in those countries. By contrast, the US and UK job markets are more flexible, and employers have more power to ‘hire and fire’.

“In every country surveyed, workers are pessimistic about the prospects for workers made redundant,” she added. “Even in Japan, 60 per cent felt it would be difficult for them to find work of equal pay, rising to 95 per cent in Germany. This may reflect problems with the global economy causing tight job markets across the world.

“These findings show the challenges facing employers, and employees alike. Employers need to communicate honestly the current position and future prospects for their organisation, and make sure to support both people who are made redundant and those who are left behind. Employees should be proactive, keeping their skills up to date, networking inside and outside of their organisation, and looking for ways to demonstrate their value to their employers.”