Glassdoor Updates

U.S. Employees Surprisingly Optimistic Despite State of Economy & Layoffs Yet Those in West Tend to Be a Little More Pessimistic

On Tuesday, the Conference Board released the monthly Consumer Confidence Index for March, showing a slight gain in confidence from February but still hovering around record lows at 26.0.  Today, we released results of a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on our behalf for a handful of confidence indicators.  What we found was  a surprising level of employee optimism relating to their ability to sidestep layoffs, the future outlook of their employer, and expectations for pay increases even though confidence in the areas of job security and pay raises fell since December.

You can read details in our media advisory and supplement, but we highlighted a few key findings below.   We believe employee confidence, like consumer confidence, tends to lag behind market movements but over time can be an important leading indicator for consumer sentiment and – ultimately — economic recovery.  After all, the more confident employees are in their jobs and careers, the more confident they are as consumers and likely to spur demand and spending.  We plan to track this quarterly and report these and potentially other measures over time.

Summary of Q1 Employee Confidence Survey

Job Security:

  • 1 in 4 employees (26%) say they are concerned they may lose their job in within 6 months although concerns are higher for co-workers — Nearly twice as many (44% ).  These concerns have edged up since December when the concerns were 21% and 40% respectively.
  • Employees who have been through layoffs already are significantly more likely to have  layoff concerns for themselves or their co-workers than those who haven’t been through layoffs.
Glassdoor Report: Job Security
Concerned of self being laid off in next 6 months?(Employed full/part-time)
Results by % Q109 Q408 Company has
laid off/announced plans
Company has not
laid off/announced plans
Yes 26 21 46 17
No 74 79 54 83
Concerned about coworkers being laid off in next 6 months? (Employed full/part-time)
Yes 44 42 84 27
No 56 58 16 73

Salary Expectations:

  • One in 3 employees expect a pay raise in the next 12 months.  Interestingly, the highest confidence in expected pay raises is seen in those with the highest household income, above $75,000 per year, (44%) and those who live in the Northeast.
  • Men also tend to be more bullish on raises as 39% of men expect a raise in the next year, compared to 32% of women.
Glassdoor Report: Salary Expectation
Expect pay or cost of living increase in next 12 months? (Employed full/part-time)
Results by % Q109
Q408 Male Female < than $35K $35-$49.9K $35-$49.9K $50K-$74.9K >$75K
Yes 36 40 39 32 27 34 34 34 44
No 43 40 42 45 49 44 44 48 39
Don’t know 21 20 19 23 24 22 22 18 18

Re-hire Probability:

  • Should employees lose their job, 39% think they will have a new job within 6 months.
  • Younger workers (18-34) are far more confident than those  55 and over as rehire expectations is 44% and 25% for each respective age group.  In fact, of those over 55, nearly half (47%) think it is unlikely they would find a job and 1 in 4 (28%) say it’s VERY UNLIKELY.
Glassdoor Report: Re-Hire Probability
Ability to find job matched to experience and compensation level in next 6 months?
(Employed full/part-time; self employed)
Results by % Q109
Likely (very/somewhat) 39 n/a 43 42 36 30
Unlikely (very/somewhat) 31 n/a 20 29 35 46
Uncertain (very/somewhat) 30 n/a 36 27 29 23

Company Outlook:

Is the worse over?  The majority of employees seem to think so as more than half (51%) think their company’s business outlook will stay the same and more than one-third (35%) think it will get better in the next six months compared to just 14% who think it will their company’s outlook will get worse.

Concession Indicators:

What would you be willing to give up in order to keep your job if you found out it was in jeopardy?

  • The majority are willing to do their part and take on more projects and responsibility (70%) and/or work more hours (62%) but nearly half (48%) say they will not take a pay cut to keep their job and 38% will not take a furlough or other unpaid leave.
  • However, salary cuts and lost vacation time are more palatable than they were at the end of December.  Forty percent are willing to take salary cuts compared to 30% in December and 30% are willing to forfeit vacation, compared to 24% in December.
Glassdoor Report: Concession Indicators
If found job was in jeopardy, what would you give up to keep your job?
Results by % Q109 Q408 18-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Take on more projects or responsibility 70 74 71 70 74 63
Increase amount of hours worked 62 60 65 65 63 51
Give up perks like commuter subsidies, on-site cafeteria, child care, dry cleaner, gym access 43 46 44 50 48 29
Accept a cut in salary or wages 40 30 40 39 42 40
Accept reduction in health and dental benefits coverage 35 32 34 39 37 31
Take furlough or an unpaid leave or sabbatical 34 n/a 34 38 36 29
Forfeit paid time off or vacation 30 24 35 30 28 24

Geographic Breakdown:

Interestingly, those in the west tend to be a little more pessimistic that those in other parts of the country. The table below breaks down some of the indicators by geography.

Glassdoor Report: Geographic Breakdown
Results by % Overall Northeast Midwest South West
Concerned self will be laid off in 6 months 26 28 21 24 31
Concerned others will be laid off in 6 months 44 47 40 40 52
Expectations pay will increase in next 12 months 36 42 33 36 32
Expect company outlook to increase in next 6 months 35 34 39 38 28
Willing to take pay cuts to keep job 40 37 38 38 49


What concessions would you make to keep your job in a down economy?  Do you think your salary will increase in the next 6 months and what your job forecast looks like?

For additional details on the employee confidence survey results, check out the complete summary here. Or for highlights from our Q42008 report check out the results here.

1) For the purposes of this study “employees” were defined as U.S, adults 18+ employed full time or part time unless otherwise indicated.

2) The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of between March 19- 23, 2009 via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,798 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older, of whom 1,576 are employed full time or part time. The Q4 survey was conducted Dec.16-18, 2008 among 2,281 U.S. adults 18+ of whom 1,331 were currently employed (full time or part-time).This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A full methodology, including weighting variables, is available.