January 14, 2010 08:00 ET

Q4 Employment Confidence Survey Reveals Employees Less Confident in Job Market, Company Outlook yet More Optimistic in Their Ability to Survive Layoffs and Land a Pay Increase, Bonus in Months Ahead

More Employees Say Finding a Job in This Market Is Unlikely Than Likely as Layoff Concerns for Coworkers Remain Stable, yet 80% Report No Concerns They Will Be Laid Off in Next Six Months; 1 in 3 Expect a Pay Increase; Optimism Lowest Among Baby-Boomers

SAUSALITO, CA--(Marketwire - January 14, 2010) - As the rate of job losses have slowed against stagnant unemployment, those who have jobs reveal rising levels of confidence in their expectations to withstand company layoffs and snag a pay increase in the months ahead. According to the Q4® Employment Confidence Survey of 1,237 employed U.S. adults conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive®(1), more than one-third of employees(2) (36%) say they expect a pay raise in the next 12 months and two in three (65%) expect to be paid all or a portion of the bonus for which they are eligible. What's more, 80 percent of employees report they have no concerns about being laid off in the next six months, up six percentage points from the first quarter of 2009.

However, employees reported far less confidence in their ability to be rehired within six months should they get laid off than in prior quarters. In fact, for the first time in three quarters, more employees (including those who are self employed) (38%) think it is "unlikely" they would be rehired within six months than "likely" (33%). The future appears less bright for working baby boomers, who reveal greater concerns about layoffs and less optimism about pay raises and the likelihood they could get a comparable position should they lose their current jobs.

The quarterly survey measures four key indicators of employee confidence in the areas of job security, salary expectations, re-hire probability and company outlook. The survey also tracks reported employer actions during the past six months. A more detailed summary with tables can be found at Highlights for the fourth quarter survey are below:

Job Security: Layoff concerns fall yet concerns for coworkers remain high; Older workers have more concerns

One in five (20%) employees are concerned they could be laid off in the next six months, a rate that has fallen for the fourth consecutive quarter, down from 26% in Q1 2009. Layoff concerns are twice as high among male baby boomers ages 45 to 54 (30%) than among younger males 18 to 34 (15%). When it comes to the coworker layoffs, however, employees do not have the same level of increasing optimism: nearly 40 percent of employees are concerned coworkers could be laid off in next six months, up slightly from the third quarter. Layoff concerns remain highest among baby boomers 45 to 54 (49%).

Salary & Bonus: 1 in 4 expect pay raise; Two in three eligible, expect bonus; Optimism lowest among those 55+

More than one-third (36%) of employees said they expect a pay raise or cost of living increase in the next 12 months, up slightly from Q2 (32%), while 40% do not. More men (41%) than women (30%) expect pay raises. Older workers (55+) have the lowest expectations for pay raises, as only 28% expect an increase compared to 41% of those ages 18 to 34. As for the annual bonus, more than seven in 10 (73%) employees report they are bonus eligible and, of these, two in three (65%) expect a bonus, while one-third (35%) do not. Bonus expectations have edged up since Q4 of 2008 when 57% of those eligible said they expected a bonus and 40 percent did not. Of those who are bonus eligible, 11% expect to get more than their last bonus, 24% expect to receive the same, and 13% expect less.

Re-Hire Probability: Employee confidence in ability to land new job loses ground; Half of those 55+ say unlikely

If they were to lose their job, one in three (33%) employees (including those self-employed) believe they could find another that matched their experience and compensation level in the next six months, down 11 points from Q3 (44%). For the first time in three quarters, more employees (38%) think landing a new job is unlikely than likely (33%) and 28% are uncertain. This is also the first time employees shared the same level of optimism as those currently unemployed but looking for work. Of jobseekers currently unemployed but looking, one-third (33%) think it is likely they will be employed in six months in a job matched to their experience and compensation level, and 28% think it is unlikely, which is nearly flat from last quarter. The outlook is far from bright for those employees 55 and older, including those self-employed, as more than half (51%) believe it is unlikely they would find a job versus likely (30%) should they lost their current job.

Company Outlook: 9 in 10 believe their company's outlook will stay the same or get better in next six months

How do employees think their company will fare in the months ahead? Only one in 10 (including those who are self employed) expect their company's outlook to get worse in the next six months, while 42% expect it to get better and 48% expect it will remain stable. This remains largely unchanged since last quarter, but better than in the first quarter 2009 when 35% expected their company performance to get better. Optimism for company outlook to get better is highest in the West (47%), lowest in the South (34%) and 44% in both the Northeast and MidWest regions.

Employer Actions: 1 in 4 say employer cut pay; Half report layoffs, cuts in benefits and perks in past six months

More than half (55%) 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, up four percentage points from Q3. Of those reporting changes, 57% said their company laid off or communicated plans to lay off employees, up from 54% in Q3, while 50% said their company changed or reduced the compensation structure, down from 55% in Q3. Twenty-eight percent said their individual pay and/or bonus was reduced or eliminated in the past six months, down slightly from 30% in Q3.


"As the rate of job losses slows nationwide, it's not surprising that employees exhibit more confidence in their future job security and financial outlook, but the challenge will be reconciling employees' rising expectations of returning to their previous pay level or ability to change jobs with the realities most companies are facing to get back on solid ground," said Rusty Rueff, 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." "While layoffs may not reach levels we saw last year, companies are still cutting back in other areas like pay, perks and even health care benefits, which indicates we still have a long road before we'll see pre-recession compensation levels and employment confidence."

For more details and methodology of the survey, see the Confidence Survey Summary and Methodology,

(1) Harris Interactive® fielded the Q4 Employment Confidence study on behalf of from December 15-17, 2009 via the QuickQuery(SM) online omnibus service among 2,257 adults ages 18 and older of whom 1,237 were employed full time/part-time. 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. A full methodology and complete survey results are available.

(2) For the purposes of this study "employees" were defined as U.S., adults 18+ employed full time and/or part time unless otherwise indicated.

About is a career and workplace community where anyone can find and anonymously share real-time reviews, ratings and salary details about specific jobs or interviews for specific employers -- for free. Glassdoor enables employees, job seekers, employers and recruiters to simultaneously see -- for the first time -- unedited employee and job candidate opinions about a company's work environment along with details of pay, benefits, CEO approval ratings and job interview reviews. Glassdoor was founded in 2007 and launched its public beta in June 2008. Headquartered in Sausalito, Calif., Glassdoor was founded by Richard Barton, Robert Hohman and Tim Besse and has raised $9.5 million from its founders, Benchmark Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us -- and our clients -- stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit