Americans Reveal Key Employment Issues for Presidential Election

MILL VALLEY, CALIF. (March 31, 2016) – As America prepares for the 2016 Presidential election amid recent market turmoil, Glassdoor’s Q1 16 Employment Confidence Survey1, conducted online by Harris Poll among 2,015 American adults ages 18+, reveals that employee confidence in the first quarter around the job market, job security, pay raises and future business outlook is strong, and significantly above employee sentiment in early 2009 during the Great Recession. The Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey monitors four key indicators of employee confidence: job market optimism/re-hire probability, pay raise expectations, job security and business outlook.

Job Market Confidence Near Peak Level: More than half (53 percent) of American employees (including those self-employed) believe if they lost their job they would be able to find a new job matched to their experience and current compensation levels in the next six months. This reveals the second-highest confidence in the U.S. job market since Glassdoor began its survey in 2009, up 14 percentage points from 39 percent in the first quarter 2009. Job market confidence is down one percentage point from the third quarter 2015 (54 percent).

Americans Remain Confident in Pay Raises: Nearly half (46 percent) of U.S. employees expect a pay raise or cost-of-living increase in the next 12 months, which is up 10 percentage points from 36 percent in the first quarter 2009.  Pay raise confidence is down four percentage points from the third quarter 2015 (50 percent).

Job Security Confidence Soars: U.S. employees’ concerns about being laid off have reached a new low since the fourth quarter 2014 (13 percent). Today, 14 percent of employees report they are concerned they could be laid off in the next six months compared to its peak, 26 percent in the first quarter 2009. Job security confidence is down one percentage point from the third quarter 2015 (15 percent).

Business Outlook Optimism Dropping: Nearly half (42 percent) of employees believe their company’s future business outlook will improve in the next six months. When asked if they expected their companies’ outlooks to get better, worse or stay the same in the next six months, employees reported a record high confidence of 51 percent in Q2 2015 that their business outlook will improve. We saw this optimism decline in Q3 2015 to 48 percent, and decline even more during Q1 16 (42 percent), the start of an election year. Fifty percent believe their company’s business outlook will stay the same, up four percentage points from 46 percent in the third quarter 2015, while seven percent believe it will get worse, up one percentage point from the third quarter 2015 (six percent).

ECS Q1 2016 Image 1

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“In 2009 our country faced its worst recession in years and uncertainty made employment confidence weak,” said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor career and workplace expert. “Today, employee confidence around the job market, job security and likelihood of a pay raise is among the highest it’s been in the past seven years. We’ll keep an eye on employee confidence around employers’ future business outlook as recent market uncertainty could be impacting employee optimism related to company performance.”

The study also asked participants to identify what they think are the “most important employment issues in the 2016 presidential election.” Among Americans who are employed or unemployed but looking for a job, the most notable disparities between Republicans and Democrats in the 2016 presidential election, were among the following four key employment-related topics:

  • The health of the economy: 75 percent of Republicans compared to 52 percent of Democrats, a 23 percentage point difference, feel it is one of the most important employment issues.
  • Income and wealth distribution (e.g., CEO to worker pay ratio): 57 percent of Democrats report this as one of the most important employment issues compared to 34 percent of Republicans, another 23 percentage point difference.
  • Immigration (i.e. allowing more VISAs to enable foreign workers to fill hard-to-fill jobs): This was the second most important topic for Republicans: 36 percent compared to 23 percent of Democrats.
  • Gender equality at work (e.g., unfair pay, underrepresentation of women in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — jobs): one-third (33 percent) of Democrats believe gender equality at work is one of the most important 2016 presidential election issues compared to 13 percent of Republicans, a 20 percentage point difference.

SURVEY SUPPLEMENT & GRAPHICS AVAILABLE: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­For more details, please see the full Q1 2016 Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey Supplement. See more on the differences between parties on key employment-related issues in the 2016 presidential election. To request the survey supplement, graphics, breakdowns of survey results by age, gender and location and/or complete survey methodology, please contact pr [at] Glassdoor [dot] com.

About Glassdoor

Glassdoor is the most transparent jobs and recruiting marketplace that is changing how people search for jobs and how companies recruit top talent. Glassdoor combines free and anonymous reviews, ratings and salary content with job listings to help job seekers find the best jobs and address critical questions that come up during the job search, application, interview and negotiation phases of employment. For employers, Glassdoor offers recruiting and employer branding solutions to help attract high-quality candidates at a fraction of the cost of other channels. In addition, Glassdoor operates one of the most popular job apps on iOS and Android platforms. The company launched in 2008 and has raised approximately $160 million from Google Capital, Tiger Global, Benchmark, Battery Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, DAG Ventures, Dragoneer Investment Group, and others.

(c) 2016 Glassdoor, Inc. Glassdoor is a registered trademark of Glassdoor, Inc.

1 Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from March 8-10, 2016 among 2,015 adults ages 18 and older, among which 1,050 are employed FT/PT or self-employed, 950 are employed FT/PT, 1,157 are employed or unemployed and looking for a job, 353 are self-identified Republicans (employed/unemployed but looking), 381 are self-identified Democrats (employed/unemployed but looking), and 323 are self-identified Independents (employed/unemployed but looking). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. This survey is conducted semi-annually as of Q1 2016. Data is available quarterly prior to Q3 2015. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact