Press Center / Press Releases / 2010-07-02


Employee Confidence Edges Up Yet Economic Effects Still Plague Workplaces and Job Market: 3 in 4 Say Their Career Has Been Impacted by Economy in Past Two Years; 70% Say Job Satisfaction is Same or Worse Than a Year Ago; 1 in 4 Want New Job Now But Can’t Find One

SAUSALITO, Calif. – (July 2, 2010)­­ While employee reports of layoffs declined in the second quarter, employees reveal companies may be cutting more than headcount to trim costs for recovery. In the second quarter, nearly half (45 percent) of employees1 reported their employers made changes to the number of staff, organizational structure, compensation and benefits or other perks in the past six months.  While these employees reported fewer instances of layoffs (47 percent) than in recent quarters, they reported higher rates of compensation cuts and changes (57 percent), including bonus reductions or eliminations (27 percent), reductions in health and/or dental benefits (22 percent) and removal of company perks (i.e., commuter subsidies, 20 percent), according to the Q2® Employment Confidence Survey of 2,418 U.S. adults conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive®2 .

This quarter’s survey revealed many employees are still recovering from the aftermath of the recent economic turmoil.  In fact, almost three in four (74 percent) employees say their career has been impacted by the economic situation in the past two years. Of these, employees reported the following:

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These effects may well be contributing to stagnant and worsening job satisfaction.  In fact, many employees reported their job satisfaction has stayed the same (42 percent) or worsened (27 percent) compared to this time last year.  Interestingly, more men (29 percent) report their job satisfaction is better than it was a year ago compared to less than a quarter (23 percent) of women.  For employers that have initiated or communicated layoffs in the past six months, employee satisfaction is more likely an issue. At these employers, staff are almost twice as likely to report their job satisfaction has worsened (42 percent) in the past year than those who work for companies that haven’t had or communicated plans to lay off employees (23 percent), broken down in the table below.

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“While we’re seeing rising employee confidence in the areas of job security, pay raises and company outlook, it’s important to keep in mind many are still recovering from the effects and turmoil felt and witnessed at companies and in the job market over the past two years,” 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. “This is a critical time for employers as employees’ expectations are rising around pay and other areas. How employers behave and communicate now will certainly influence future satisfaction and impact retention as the economy recovers.”

In addition to tracking employer actions, the quarterly Employment Confidence Survey measures four key indicators of employee confidence in the areas of job security, salary expectations, re-hire probability and company outlook. Highlights for the second quarter 2010 survey are below:

Job Security: Layoff Concerns Fall for Fifth Consecutive Quarter

Layoff concerns have fallen for the fifth consecutive quarter.  Slightly more than one in six (16 percent) employees are concerned they could be laid off in the next six months, down from 18 percent last quarter and 24 percent in the same quarter 2009. Employees are also less concerned their co-workers will lose their jobs in the next six months – less than one third (31 percent) note fears their counterparts could be laid off, down slightly from 32 percent last quarter and 44 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

Job Market: Growing Uncertainty Among Unemployed

Forty-two percent of those unemployed but looking report they are uncertain they will find a job matched to their experience and compensation level within the next six months, up from 32 percent in the first quarter, while 28 percent say it is likely.  More than half (55 percent) of those unemployed but looking have been without a job for six months or longer.  Should they lose their current job, 39 percent of employees, including those self-employed, believe they would be able to find a job that matches their experience and compensation levels in the next six months, while less than a third (31 percent) believe it is unlikely, which is relatively unchanged from last quarter.  Older adults have less confidence in their ability to get hired in this market compared to younger employees. For example, twice as many older employees ages 55+, including those self employed , think it is unlikely (44 percent) they will find comparable position and pay in the next six months than their younger counterparts 18 to 34 (22 percent).

Salary Expectations: 40% Expect Pay Increases; Baby Boomers Less Optimistic

Slightly more employees (43 percent) think they will not get a pay increase in the next 12 months than those who think they will (40 percent). Nearly one in five (17 percent) are uncertain. Those that do expect a pay raise has increased from 32 percent in the year-ago quarter.  Among employed baby boomers 55+, the majority (58 percent) do not expect a pay increase within the year while 30 percent do.  The inverse is true of younger employees 18 to 34 as more young employers expect a pay raise (45 percent) than those who do not (37 percent). Interestingly, nearly half of Midwesterners (48 percent) expect a salary increase in the next six months compared to 33 percent of those in the West.

Company Outlook: More Employees Optimistic About Future Company Outlook

Employees (including those self-employed) continue to be confident in their company’s outlook: 45 percent expect their company’s outlook to get better in the next six months, which edges up from 41 percent in the first quarter, and 45 percent expect it will remain the same.  Only one in 10 (10 percent) expect it to get worse.

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

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

2) Harris Interactive® fielded the Q2 Employment Confidence study online on behalf of Glassdoor June 18 to 22, 2010 among 2,418 adults ages 18 and older of whom 1,324 were employed full time/part-time and 203 were unemployed but looking. 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. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

About is a career and workplace community giving a free inside look at jobs and companies. Glassdoor enables employees, job seekers, employers and recruiters to simultaneously see – for the first time – unedited opinions about a company’s work environment along with details on salary, company reviews, as well as benefits and CEO approval ratings. Glassdoor, founded in 2007 with a public beta version launched in June 2008, has since offered job interview questions and reviews, office photos as well as career advice.  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

Contact: Samantha Zupan, 925-324-3954; Dawn Lyon 415-846-4706,