Both job seekers and job holders seem more optimistic about their prospects for work, according to a new study from the folks at company review site Glassdoor.
Conducted on behalf of Harris Interactive, the fourth-quarter 2011 survey of more than 2,500 adults in the U.S. uncovered more confidence in the job market, the outlook for businesses, and the potential for pay raises. Glassdoor’s Employment Confidence Survey found unemployed workers more optimistic about finding a job. Only 21 percent of those polled think it unlikely they’ll find a job in the next six months, down 11 percentage points from the third-quarter survey and the lowest level since 2008.
And among workers currently employed (including those self-employed), 41 percent think it likely they’d find work matched to their experience and expected compensation over the next six months if they did lose their job. That figured proved three points higher than the 38 percent found in the third-quarter survey.
Employees see a rosier future for their employers as well. A hefty 40 percent of those working full-time, part-time, or self-employed expect the outlook for their business to improve over the next six months. Only 10 percent expect things to get worse, while 50 percent expect the outlook to stay the same.
Concerns about being laid off have remained about the same, with 17 percent of those polled worried about the possibility of being let go. But ironically, concerns about co-workers being laid off dropped to 28 percent, the lowest level since 2008.
Finally, optimism about pay rises inched up in the fourth quarter. A full 38 percent of workers surveyed expect a raise in the next 12 months, two points higher than in the third quarter. That still left 41 percent who don’t expect a raise.
Despite a dip in the unemployment rate for November, the economy and job market remain in flux. And though the fourth-quarter optimism expressed by those polled seems promising, Glassdoor needs to see a more consistent level of confidence moving forward.
“The uptick in overall employee optimism is no surprise as employees are seeing fewer cutbacks at work and the unemployment rate recently declined to its lowest level in two and a half years,” said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor career and workplace expert. “Employee confidence is an important leading indicator to consumer confidence as how an employee feels about their job security, pay and the job market directly impacts their spending propensity...Until we see several steady quarters of employee optimism, it’s a toss-up as to whether we’re out of the woods just yet.”
What does this mean for IT professionals? IT has generally been a fairly resilient sector of the job market, typically seeing a slightly lower unemployment rate than the overall average. So if market does finally see a sustained turnaround this year, it should bode well for IT pros, both those currently employed and those searching for work. For now, though, it’s a good sign that people are more optimistic as we start a new year. We’ll just have to see if that spirit of optimism has some legs to it.
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