Employee confidence rose in the third quarter, but along with it rose employee expectations of a significant rise in costly rehiring and benefits when the recession abates, an important survey shows.
The Q3 Glassdoor.com® Employment Confidence Survey of 1,195 employees was conducted by Harris Interactive®1.
The survery indicates a significant number of employees2 believe the worst of the economic crisis is over, as several important measures of employee confidence appear to be rising.
In the third quarter, employees reported fewer layoffs and actions that reduced employee compensation at their companies than in the prior two quarters, and employees indicated high rates of confidence and optimism related to future layoffs, pay and bonuses, company outlook and their ability to get hired or rehired. Should the economy and unemployment rates return to prerecession levels, employees indicate their expectations represent far more than the status quo, which could have significant implications for company bottom lines, employee morale and turnover.
Specifically, of the employees surveyed:
* 57% expect a raise, bonus and/or promotion
* 35% expect hiring freeze to be lifted and/or more employees to be hired in their department
* 24% expect health benefits and perks that were previously reduced to be restored
* 19% expect to look for a new job
The quarterly survey measures four key indicators of employee confidence in the areas of job security, salary expectations, rehire probability and company outlook. In addition, the survey tracks recent employer actions, as well as the concessions employees are willing to take to keep their jobs. A detailed summary with tables can be found at Glassdoor Press Center (http://www.glassdoor.com/about/pressCenter.htm).
Here are highlights for the third-quarter survey:
Employer Actions: Reports of layoffs and pay reductions subside amid more forced leave and cuts in perks.
Slightly more than half (51%) of employees report their company made changes to the number of staff, organizational structure, compensation and benefits, or other perks over the past six months, which was down three points from Q2. Of those reporting these changes, 54% said their company laid off or communicated plans to lay off employees, down from 58% in Q2, while 55% said their company changed or reduced compensation, down from 60% in Q2. Nearly one in three (30%) said their individual pay and/or bonus was reduced or eliminated in the past six months, down slightly from 31% in Q2. More employees in Q3 said their companies initiated furloughs, unpaid leave or mandatory vacations (23%) up from 18% in Q2; and, 22% reported a reduction in perks, such as commuter subsidy, up from 16% in Q2.
Job Security: Layoff concerns edge down overall but highest among men, especially baby boomers.
Fewer employees report concerns they could be laid off in the next six months (22%) than seen in Q2 (24%) and Q1 (26%). Layoff concern among men is considerably higher (26%) than women (17%), especially among male baby boomers, 45-54, (30%), whereas younger females, 18-34, have the lowest concerns (10%). The gender divide carries through to concerns about co-workers as well: while 38% of employees report concerns that employees other than themselves could be laid off in the next six months, among men this is 42%, compared with 34% for women.
Salary and Bonus Expectation: One in three expect a pay raise; more than half of those eligible expect a bonus.
One in three (33%) employees said they expect a pay raise or cost-of-living increase in the next 12 months, up slightly from Q2 (32%), while 49% don't. Those in the Northeast continue to exhibit the greatest optimism here where 40% of employees say they expect a pay increase as compared to the West (29%), Midwest (34%) and South (31%). More-mature workers (55-plus) have the lowest expectations for pay raises, as only 25% expect an increase, compared with 38% of those 35-44. In terms of bonus, nearly seven in 10 (66%) employees report they are bonus-eligible and, of these, more than three in five (62%) expect a bonus while 34% don't. Of those who are bonus-eligible, 11% expect to get more than their last bonus, 28% expect to receive the same, and 14% expect less. Bonus expectations have edged up since Q4 2008, when 57% of those eligible said they expected a bonus and 40% didn't.
Company Outlook: Nine in 10 believe their company's outlook will stay the same or get better in next six months.
Employees' outlook for their company has improved considerably over the past two quarters. Only one in 10 expect their company's outlook to get worse in the next six months, while 44% expect it to get better, and 47% expect it will remain stable. By comparison, 35% expected their company performance to get better in Q1, which edged up to 39% in Q2. Optimism is highest among younger workers ages 18-34, with 50% expecting their company's performance to get better compared to 34% of those 55-plus.
Re-Hire Probability: Employees and jobseekers more confident in ability to get new job.
If they were to lose their job, 44% of employees (including those self-employed) believe they could find one matched to their experience and compensation level in the next six months, up from 39% in the prior two quarters. However, 27% think it's unlikely and 29% are uncertain. For those who are not employed but currently looking for work, optimism is lower but up from last quarter. Of these jobseekers, nearly one-third (32%) think it is likely they will be employed in six months in a job matched to their experience and compensation level, and 27% think it is unlikely. By comparison, in the previous quarter more job-seekers thought that getting hired within six months was unlikely (37%) than likely (25%). However, older employees, 55-plus, including those self-employed, think it is unlikely (41%) versus likely (31%), while the inverse is true for younger employees (including self-employed), 18-34. More than half (51%) of the younger group think it is likely they would find a job, while just 20% say it is unlikely.
"Employees reported fewer layoffs at their employers in recent months which is likely contributing to declining concerns about future layoffs and rising confidence and optimism around expected pay raises, bonus, company outlook and ability to get hired in this market," said Robert Hohman, co-founder and CEO of Glassdoor Inc. "This shifting sentiment is consistent with what we're seeing on Glassdoor.com, where average company satisfaction ratings that have been trending down over the past few months appear to be stabilizing as demand for salary data and job-interview reviews have increased."
"While the survey shows most employees are still willing to make concessions to help their employers during tough times, employees now reveal they're expecting payback in the form of raises, bonuses, promotions and perks once the economy recovers," said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor.com career and workplace expert, who has run global HR departments at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo before co-authoring Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business. "Combine these high expectations with the one in five employees who expects to change jobs when the music really starts on the economy, and employers will have new challenges. Companies should prepare now and rethink how they communicate and how to reset new baselines to bridge the gap between employee expectations and the postrecession realities."
For more details and methodology of the survey, visit the Glassdoor Press Center, visit http://www.glassdoor.com/about/pressCenter.htm.
1Harris Interactive® fielded the Q3 Employment Confidence study on behalf of Glassdoor.com Sept. 17-21 via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,257 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older, of whom 1,195 were employed full time or part time and 166 are self-employed. Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
2For the purposes of this study, "employees" were defined as U.S. adults 18-plus employed full time or part time unless otherwise indicated.