Workers' Worries about Job Security Increase

The deepening recession is stirring widespread anxiety among U.S. employees about their job security and financial future as companies reduce or freeze head count and take other measures to manage costs. According to global professional services firm Towers Perrin, more than half of employees participating in a recent survey conducted to determine how companies are dealing with the impact of the continued downturn said their companies simply are no longer hiring.

While 54 percent of employees said their companies were not hiring, 45 percent reported that their organizations had either resorted to or planned to enforce workforce reductions. Reducing or eliminating holiday party and travel budgets (39 percent and 38 percent, respectively) were also listed as significant ways companies are responding. A third of employees (33 percent) said they expected to pay a greater share of the cost for employee benefit programs. Reducing work hours with a corresponding reduction in pay for certain groups of employees is how 19 percent of companies are dealing with the downturn. Other measures include reducing or eliminating workplace benefits (9 percent), reducing or suspending the company match to 401k plans (7 percent), and freezing employee pensions at their present levels (4 percent), according to the survey, which targeted roughly 450 U.S.-based employees of midsize and large companies and updated findings from a similar survey conducted in August 2008.

”[W]hat’s interesting about the latest findings is employees’ recognition that stability depends on the success of their employer and that they have a role in driving that success,” Towers Perrin analysts observed. “Based on the response patterns, employees seem to be embracing something of a ‘give now to get later’ sense of shared destiny—accepting cutbacks in hours, pay or other areas in order to give their employers breathing room to regroup in the tough economy.”

Nevertheless, the survey also revealed that 45 percent of employees believe they face greater risk that their job will change or be eliminated, and more than half (55 percent) believe the risk that their future earnings will plateau or decline has increased. For more information, visit www.towersperrin.com.

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