Confidence in US Employers Suffers Steepest Drop in Two Years

Worried owner at his small business stock photo

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Americans’ optimism regarding their employer’s business outlook in the next six months has dropped sharply, hitting its lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a new survey.

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The LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence survey showed that employer confidence now stands at just +28 on a scale of +100 indicating most optimistic and -100 indicating most pessimistic. Confidence was +34 two weeks earlier, and stood as high as +43 in the spring of 2021, the survey noted.

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“One likely explanation involves growing economic jitters — particularly concerns that wages aren’t keeping up with rising inflation. Another possible concern: a disconnect between top executives’ gung-ho agendas and workers’ much-more fatigued outlooks,” LinkedIn senior editor at large George Anders said in a post on the platform.

Americans are worried about several things, chief among them being the four-decade high inflation that’s pushing food and gas prices to the sky.

LinkedIn addws that the low optimism may also reflect personal concerns, which are reflected in greater job-hopping and a reluctance to return to the office.

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The survey also notes that during the first quarter of 2022, signs of a sharp drop in employee confidence began registering in several industries, as compared to fourth quarter 2021 levels. These include management consulting (down 15 points, to +44), transportation, trucking and railroads (also down 15 points, to +32) and retail (down 11 points, to +27), according to LinkedIn.

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Anders said that while many companies have been providing more perks, “peripheral goodies can go only so far in terms of building employees’ faith in their company’s mission.”

Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global Leader, People and Organization, PwC, and adjunct professor at NYU Stern, told GOBankingRates that “it’s clear that some workers are feeling greater levels of uncertainty and anxiety in how they work, consume and live.”

“Some of this may relate to rising costs, geopolitical tensions, concerns with safety or job security,” Sethi added.

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PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 survey, released May 24, highlighted a number of factors that are important to today’s workers that go beyond pay — including fulfilling work, being their authentic self and feeling a sense of caring from colleagues and managers, he added.

“We suggest business leaders continue to focus on what they can control to manage workforce confidence — including transparent communications, where possible seek alternatives to layoffs and continue to invest in employee wellbeing and upskilling,” he said.

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About the Author

Yael Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yael is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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